EIGHT-TIME world paddleboarding champion Jamie Mitchell had the surprise of his life when a humpback whale surfaced centimetres away from him off the New South Wales north coast yesterday.
Mitchell told news.com.au he was out filming a pilot for his coming documentary, Living in Liquid, when a pod of up to five humpbacks surfaced, and started following him off Tweed Heads at about 7.30am (AEST).
He said the pod played around him for about 10 minutes.
“We were just out on the water paddling around and all of a sudden, boom, a whale breached about 100m away from me,” he said today.
“I thought that was pretty cool and then all of a sudden another whale came up right in front of me.
“At the start it was sort of scary, I got goosebumps and the adrenalin started flowing.
“But then I realized that they were just playing. They swam right underneath my board and I thought I’d be in strife if they came up but they had a good sense of where I was.”
The 32-year-old, who lives on the Gold Coast and spends most of his time in the water, said the migrating humpbacks drifted off after a while.
“It’s certainly the closest I’ve ever been to them,” he said.
Mitchell is soon heading to California to compete in the Hennessey’s International Paddleboard Race.Share on Facebook