A Tathra stand-up paddle boarder had the ride of his life recently when a huge whale paid him a close visit.
Anthony Little is an avid SUP enthusiast, but even he was blown away by the close encounter with a southern right whale in the calm waters off Tathra Beach.
In a wonderful “fluke” he managed to film the interaction.
“It was amazing,” Mr Little said.
“Literally the wave pushed the board backwards – he was all of two inches under the board.
“He turned and went under me – after that it was pure elation!”
(There’s a mild language warning for this video, but given the circumstances, it can be forgiven!)
Mr Little said the “40 to 50-tonne” whale appeared out the water, had a good look at him and then casually circled away back towards the headland.
“It was an interaction on his terms and I was just lucky enough to be holding the camera in the right direction.”
He said he knew a whale was in the area, swimming near the Tathra Wharf, but the water was a little murky to see much. Then, after picking up his GoPro off the front of his board, he somehow fluked pointing it at the exact spot where the whale emerged.
The resulting video is an incredible record of the interaction – which has surprised Mr Little’s mates as much as it did him.
He said his work colleagues at Fat Tony’s Bar and Grill think of him as more of a Russell Coight than Steve Irwin when it comes to nature!
Mr Little said he only took up stand-up paddle boarding two years ago, but is “now completely addicted”.
On his regular jaunts he has encountered dolphins and spotted sharks, saying the SUP gives a great perspective.
And he couldn’t be more enthusiastic about his home turf of Tathra.
“There’s been good news on funds coming through for the wharf, people can watch whales from the wharf and headland and there are ideal spots to learn paddle boarding,” Mr Little said.