2013-07-07 Surfer injured by tail-lobbing whale Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

A word of warning for those who attempt swimming with whales. Humpback whales will in Bermuda often tail-lob, throwing its tail and a good portion of its body out of the water. The following incident occured in Australia.


Above, a whale tail-lobs without warning, throwing its tail and body out of the water

'At least one surfer was injured when 15-metre humpback whale swam among surfboard riders and swimmers at Bondi Beach on Sunday morning and tossed them into the air with its tail.

The whale had been gambolling among a group of about 15 surfers sitting on a small break in the middle of the bay.

Hundreds of spectators had been watching the whale as it approached the surfers and appeared to start frolicking with them in shallow water just 30 metres offshore.

The animal dived beneath a group of men sitting on boards and its tail rose out of the water throwing many of the surfers into the air.

"Guys just went everywhere," said Lachlan Harris, a local businessman. "It was as big as a bus, easily 40 foot long and it just sent the surfers flying like skittles."

Surfers near the whale started sending distress signals and Bondi life guards rapidly entered the water and carried a man to the sand where they put him into a neck brace. An ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later.


A humpback can explode out of the water with no warning and in an instant

Bondi Beach was packed with strollers, joggers, skatebords, posers and cafe drinkers taking in the perfect 13 degrees clear sky Sunday morning vibe when the incident occurred about 10.30 am.

Mr Harris, a former prime ministerial staffer with Kevin Rudd during his first term, had been taking his regular Sunday walk along the cliff top from Bondi and Bronte when he noticed the whale.

"The whole beach just stopped to watch. It was unreal. It just swam among this group of 15 guys on boards and a couple of swimmers in the middle of the bay and it looked like he was playing with him. We all just stood there riveted.

"And then, whoosh, up comes the tail, and up go the guys," he said.

Mr Harris said at least 300 people at Bondi Icebergs had a ringside seat.

"Looking north along the sand, the whale was sort of behind them and they could see the whole thing. Everybody had their mobile phone cameras going off.

"It was just amazing. I mean there were people swimming laps of the beach and the whale was even inside them. It was that close to the beach." '

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