Surfers and a whale – level 3

07-07-2014 07:00

Surfers on a Sydney beach got more than they bargained for after paddling too close to a giant whale.

A helicopter circling the coast spotted the giant mammal which was soon surrounded by a group of surfers who then broke government guidelines by moving within 100 metres of the whale’s swimming area.

At first, the whale swam peacefully beside the surf boards before appearing stressed and lashing out with its tail.

The surfers were encouraged to leave the whale alone over loud speakers with officials concerned after a swimmer was hospitalised last year after an encounter with the same breed of whale.

Southern Right Whales can weigh up to 80 tonnes and measure 16 metres at full maturity, and, despite the excitement of seeing one up close, not everyone was so keen to paddle out, with most locals turning back towards the beach.

“I was paddling out there and then I saw it. It was pretty big.”

Difficult words: bargain for (to expect something), paddle (swim), circle (go in circles), spot (see), lash out (hit).


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