An Australian surfer known to his friends as “Jaws” says he had a “one in a million” encounter while out on the water this week. Jason Breen was filming himself wing-foiling in Sydney’s Mona Vale Beach when a whale suddenly jumped out of the ocean — and slammed right into him.
“It just started to come up out of the water and I knew it was a whale,” Breen told 9News Today in Australia. Video he captured on his GoPro of the encounter shows Breen wing-foiling — a sport similar to windsurfing that involves standing on a board and holding onto a wind-powered wing — when all of a sudden, a whale jumps out of the water, right into Breen’s body.
“I’m in trouble,” Breen thought as he saw the whale coming, he told 9News.
The video shows Breen immediately getting knocked off his board and getting dragged underwater. He eventually got back on the board, and managed to film himself saying: “I just got hit by a whale.”
“When it came down on top of me it got caught in my leg rope. So as it dived down, I was getting dragged down,” the 55-year-old said, telling the news outlet that the whale took him down about 30 feet. “Luckily, I felt the leash break and from there I got released from under the whale’s body and was able to come to surface, and thank my lucky stars that something that’s not supposed to break broke and ringed the webbing out.”
He said that it’s not uncommon for whales to have barnacles on their skin — and if that had been the case in this situation, he “would have been ripped apart.” Somehow, he wasn’t seriously injured, he told 9News. he believes the whale was a juvenile and that if had been an adult, it could have been a much more dire situation.
“The whole thing was unusual, one in a million,” he said. “It’s a massive ocean and there was a guy on a headland who just happened to be filming by coincidence, and my GoPro, I wasn’t pointing or filming so to get the footage was amazing.”
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