This Paddleboarder Was Greeted By a Curious Orca, And He Captured Some Amazing Footage

by Ileana Llorens May 21, 2015 07:41 AM

If you think paddleboarding alongside manatees is memorable, just wait until you hear what recently greeted this New Zealand restaurant owner. 

Luke Reilly was out on the water this week when an orca came up just inches from his board

The sighting wasn’t exactly a surprise — he said he grabbed his camera after hearing whales had been spotted in the area, New Zealand’s 3 News reports — but he didn’t expect such a close encounter.  

"I was a bit nervous thinking, ‘What's this guy going to do?'" he told the station. 

Ultimately, the whale just checked him out — and he got some remarkable footage. 

A California resident actually had a similar experience earlier this year, when he paddled out to check out reports of orcas off Laguna Beach. 

“I just stood there, and they came right up to me,” he told the Orange County Register of the pod of whales.

According to Wild Orca, a nonprofit organization in Washington state, the whales can grow up to 32 feet long and weigh 9 tons. The animals are “highly social” and travel in pods ranging from two to 15 whales. 

Several reports note there has never been a documented fatal attack on a human by a whale in the wild. 

Luke Reilly was stand-up paddle boarding about 200m offshore yesterday when an orca "popped up" next to him.The killer whale checked him out for about 5 minutes and even had a nibble on his board.Watch the full clip: Posted>http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/paddle-boarders-close-encounter-with-curious-orca-2015051915?ref=fb<38>Posted by 3 News on Monday, May 18, 2015