The Airhead found this in The Times News Paper The Times News Paper

Standing on his18ft-long surf board, eight-time world paddleboard champion Jamie Mitchell was being filmed for a documentary off the east coast of Australia on Monday when he had an unexpected surprise.

Paddle Board and Whales
Liam O’Brien / Jason Muir

A playful humpback whale breached (leaped clear of the surface) just a few feet in front of the 32-year-old Australian, dwarfing him on the water, but giving Mitchell — who was about 1 mile off the coast of Tweed Heads on the border of NSW and Queensland — an experience he will never forget.

“We were just out there doing our own stuff and mother nature was on our side,” Mr Mitchell told The Times.

He had been filming a pilot for his upcoming documentary Living in Liquid when a pod of about four whales — part of the yearly migration to warmer waters in northern Australia for calving — began playing around him, surfacing and spouting water no more than 30ft away.

At one point, he said, they were so close he could see the patterns in the underside of one of the whale’s tails.

“At the start I was nervous and a bit chicken because they were so big, but they could sense it and they knew what was going on and were just playing around,” Mr Mitchell said.

“I began paddling away because I thought if they breach I’m in big trouble, but they were really following me … some of them were even going underneath my board, it was absolutely incredible,” he said.

Mr Mitchell, who lives on the Gold Coast in southern Queensland, has been paddleboarding for the past five years. On Saturday he will compete in the Hennesseys International Paddleboard Race in California.

“I’ve seen pliots whales, sharks, dolphins, flying fish and all sorts of creatures,” Mr Mitchell said. “But to see these whales so close and so personal … it was a once in a lifetime thing, something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

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