Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Video: Paddleboarders Hang Out With Four Super Chill Gray Whales

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
Your donation today keeps LAist independent, ready to meet the needs of our city, and paywall free. Thank you for your partnership, we can't do this without you.

Everyone knows a paddleboarding excursion is incomplete without both a drone and GoPro on hand, and it's for reasons such as this.

Last week, Richard German and his buddy Ethan Taub were out paddleboarding around in the ocean off Laguna Beach when they were joined by four gray whales: two mothers, and their two babies. The drone captured the encounter from above, while German's GoPro got the closer angle.

He described the chill sesh as such on YouTube:

Support for LAist comes from
I was paddling with my friend Ethan - who had never paddled near a whale - when all the sudden these 4 gray whales (2 moms and 2 babies) approached us. Luckily Mark Girardeau was flying his drone right above us while I was filming with my GoPro. I believe this is the first ever footage of whales and paddle boarders that features both drone footage plus the paddlers point of view. At the beginning you’ll see the whales come check us out. At 1:30 one of the mom’s rolls over on her side with her tail just a few feet from my board. And at the end you’ll see all 4 whales surface. The whales were very sweet and curious. EPIC.

Epic, sure,'s still got to be kind of scary being approached by such massive (and noble!) beasts. Although, at least they weren't surrounded by TEN GREAT WHITE SHARKS like these guys, or nailed by a dolphin who couldn't help but body slam another South Bay paddleboarder.

This isn't German's first time at the whale rodeo. In January of last year, he said he was "too excited to be scared" when he found himself in the middle of a pod of orcas. But not everyone is excited about German's close encounters: in yet another video shot while paddleboarding in 2014, in which German found himself super close to a young blue whale, German was suspected of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Anyway, there's nothing illegal about German's very sick paddleboard design captured on his GoPro shot: