The waves off the coast of Hermanus in South Africa can sometimes reach 30-feet tall, making it a popular locale for surfers, particularly those practicing for the Dungens surfing competition.
The spot is also famous for whale watching as southern right whales can be viewed from the cliffs of this retirement town on the Western Cape.
On this day, photographer Dave de Beer of Cape Town camped out on the cliff hoping to capture images of surfers catching waves when suddenly a southern right whale decided to join the lineup.
“The young whale was displaying such playful body language, and eventually he gave in and went to play with the surfers in the waves, showing that he too can catch great waves, he even went up to the surfers as if to greet them,” de Beer told Caters News Agency via the Daily Mail.
Caters released photos of the close encounter Tuesday, though it was uncertain when exactly de Beer shot the images.
In the top photo, the whale and surfer very nearly collide while catching the same wave. It almost looks like a shark fin heading for the surfer, though we suspect it to be the whale’s tail.
In another image, a surfer experiences a very close encounter, coming only inches away from the surfacing whale, while another photo shows two surfers watching the whale exhale through its blowhole.
“It’s always great to get pictures of the surfers during this time, and an even better bonus to get this young whale interacting with them,” de Beer said.
“I often get whales and surfers in the same shot, but not often to get them this close and in the waves with them,” said de Beer. “They usually just swim past, but this little one was too playful to just swim past, he needed a piece of the action.”
And the surfers didn’t seem to mind.
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