Imagine you are paddle boarding and a killer whale pops up above the ocean surface near you. That’s what happened to a man in Coromandel, New Zealand on Monday, May 18, 2015. Luke Reilly was about 200 meters (200 yards) offshore about mid-morning on Monday when the orca surfaced, checked him out for about 5 minutes, and even nibbled his board.
Reilly, who is 27 years old, told 3News in New Zealand:
Someone said there’s some orcas down the beach so I chucked the GoPro in my pocket because I had it surfing.
I grabbed it thinking something might happen.
I didn’t think I’d get anything.
He isn’t the only paddle boarder recently to capture an orca on camera. On January 14, 2015, Rich German posted the video below at his YouTube page. He wrote:
My dream of seeing orcas (aka killer whales) recently came true. Watch as a friendly pod of five orcas interacts with me on my paddle board. This was filmed with my GoPro off the coast of Laguna Beach California last week. You’ll see the whales come directly under my board twice. This was an amazing, magical afternoon.
As Rich points out in his video, orcas aren’t known to attack humans. According to the website MarineBio.org, they were originally called whale killers by sailors who saw their attacks on larger cetaceans.
But, over time, this nickname changed to killer whales.
They are fierce creatures who do sometimes kill other whales, hunting them down in packs. For this reason, orcas are sometimes called the Wolves of the Sea.
Bottom line: Two videos of ocean-going paddle boarders who witness orcas, also known as killer whales, popping to the sea surface near them.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.