The incredible encounter between a wing foil surfer and a humpback whale highlights the awe-inspiring power and unpredictability of nature.
In a heart-stopping moment captured on GoPro footage, wing foil surfer Jason Breen found himself at the mercy of a breaching humpback whale off the coast of Mona Vale in Australia. As Breen rode the waves, a whale calf suddenly burst through the surface of the water beside him. The massive creature rose up before falling directly on top of him, leaving Breen screaming in shock.
Remarkably, Breen emerged from the encounter unscathed. After a few seconds of turbulence, he climbed back onto his board, visibly shaken but otherwise okay. Recounting the experience, he described seeing the head and body of the whale emerge before being completely engulfed. The force of the impact dragged him underwater, but he managed to resurface and escape further harm.
Breen’s encounter serves as a reminder of the immense power and size of humpback whales. Even a calf, which can still be several tons in weight, has the potential to cause significant damage. Breen was fortunate that the whale’s body was smooth and lacked barnacles, which could have resulted in severe injuries.
Despite the terrifying incident, Breen remains undeterred and has expressed his intention to continue surfing. Wing foil surfing, a combination of surfing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing, involves riding a hydrofoil board while holding an inflatable wing. It is a thrilling water sport that allows surfers to harness the power of the wind and waves.
This incident is not the first time that humans have had close encounters with humpback whales. In 2020, two kayakers in California were nearly swallowed by a humpback whale that overturned their boat. Fortunately, they were able to escape without injury, thanks to the assistance of other whale-watchers.
As we marvel at these extraordinary encounters, it is important to remember that we are guests in the natural world. While it can be tempting to seek out close encounters with wildlife, it is crucial to respect their space and behave responsibly. These awe-inspiring creatures deserve our admiration from a safe distance, ensuring both their well-being and our own.