Whale Rider: Paddleboarder Experiences Near-Miss In Hawaii

A paddleboarder in Hawaii experienced a close encounter with a whale and her calf, and photographs of the unique interaction appear to depict the man riding atop the unsuspecting cetacean.

Mark Jackson was enjoying his time just off shore near Kailua-Kona, in Hawaii, when the massive whale appeared behind him, according to the Daily Mail. Remaining unaware of the whale’s presence for some time, Jackson continued to paddle leisurely around the bay. Moments later, the whale surfaced next to him, allowing photographer David Warren to capture images of the encounter.

Warren, who watched the whale approach the paddleboarder from his deck, 1200 feet away, was visiting Hawaii from Scotland with his wife Sue. His unique perspective allowed Warren to capture photographs that appear to show the paddleboarder atop the whale’s back, although the massive animal was simply breaching the surface next to Jackson.

“At first glance it looked as if the boarder was surfing on the whale,” Warren recalled.

The photographer noted that he had observed the whales breaching earlier in the morning.

“I then saw a whale swim past the boarder, who did not seem fazed at all, a cool dude obviously, and he then paddled back to shore.”

Astonished by the photos he was able to take, Warren sought out Jackson when he came ashore. The paddleboarder revealed that although he wasn’t aware of the whale at first, he quickly realized that the massive animal wasn’t alone in the water.

“I tracked down the paddle boarder after he arrived back on shore,” Warren observed. “He said the whale got very close but even he was amazed at the picture. He says there were two humpback whales, probably a mother and juvenile. However, only one breached near him. It was an amazing spectacle to witness.”

Jackson isn’t the first paddleboarder to have an astonishingly close run in with a group of whales. Earlier this month, a man from Laguna Beach made headlines after he filmed a pod of orcas swimming around him and underneath his board. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the paddleboarder related that he was too excited by the experience to be frightened, as one of the whales broke the surface just feet away from him.

Just days ago, another paddler experienced a close encounter with a whale and her calf in Cape Town, South Africa. The woman approached them for a closer look, according to Barcroft Media, catching the animals’ attention. After surfacing within touching distance of her, the whales followed the paddleboarder for 10 minutes before eventually turning back out to sea.

[Image: David Warren/ Caters News Agency via the Daily Mail]