Paddleboarder has close encounter with blue whale off California coast

A lone paddleboarder had, in his own words, “the encounter of a lifetime” a few miles off Dana Point, Calif., on August 24, when a blue whale surfaced a few feet away from him.

Bill Clements told Storyful: “I saw what I thought was a boat wake, but there were no boats in the vicinity. As I stared at the wake, suddenly the dorsal fin pierced the surface and a blue whale, four or five times longer than my 14-foot paddleboard, came up to breathe.”

The footage, recorded by Clements, shows the whale making its way to the surface before breathing out as the man loudly cheers.

Clements uploaded the footage to his Instagram account, where he regularly posts highlights of his paddling adventures and wildlife encounters. Credit: Bill Clements @paddlegoat via Storyful

Video Transcript

- Oh, my God. Oh, my God. He's right there. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

[LAUGHS]

Oh, my God.

Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

[LAUGHS]

Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

[LAUGHS] Oh, my God. [LAUGHS]

Oh, my God. Look at the tail. Look at the tail. Oh, my God. Whoa! Oh, my God. Oh, my God. [LAUGHS] Oh, my God.

[LAUGHS]

Oh, my God. Look at the tail. Look at the tail. Oh, my God. whoa!