If you’re a kiteboarder, you know you have plenty of things to look out for. Big waves. Boats. Other kiteboarders.
As kiteboarder Andrei Grigoriev has now reminded us, you better make sure humpback whales is on that list as well.
Grigoriev was kiteboarding in San Francisco Bay off Crissy Field Beach on June 18, when he surfed directly into the path of a humpback that was coming up out of the water. Somehow, he manages to maintain balance and keep going as he glides over the massive animal and keep going.
Humpback whales have been reported in the area and apparently hung out near the Golden Gate Bridge in recent weeks.
“I was going straight out from the beach when something touched my board from below,” Grigoriev told Australia 9News. “For another 15 seconds, I had a feeling there was something around me, until the whale jumped out of the water right in front of me.”
The kiteboarder noted that the entire episode was “completely accidental” and he did not purposefully try to hit or endanger the animal.
It’s not the only time in June that humans and humpbacks came into contact with another. On June 28, a boat collided with a whale in San Francisco Bay as well.
While it doesn’t appear that anyone is purposefully endangering the humpbacks, doing so would constitute a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. That could lead to a fine up to $11,000 and as much as one year in prison.