Paddleboarder enjoys unexpected orca escort

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A New Zealand paddleboarder named Luke Reilly almost didn’t bring his waterproof GoPro camera along when he hit the water yesterday. Luckily Luke received a heads-up that there were some orcas nearby.

He must have been glad he made that decision, because after he paddled about 200 metres from shore, a friendly killer whale surfaced nearby, nudging the watercraft and swimming alongside. Luke keeps his cool in the video, simultaneously filming the whale while keeping balanced on his board.

Negative interactions between killer whales and humans are very rare, despite the great power of these sea mammals and their ruthlessness towards other prey. Instead of sizing up Luke for a meal, the orca seemed more interested in spending a little quality time with him.

While the video is fairly short in length, the whale apparently stuck around for approximately five minutes before wandering off.

Killer whales are notoriously curious animals, investigating human activity at sea. Whether they are imitating boat engines, or surrounding kayakers, the presence of these majestic creatures is always an occasion for celebration and awe.