Whale Swims Up to Paddleboarder and Gently Pushes Him Through the Water

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Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Updated: November 9, 2023

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Right Whale swimming in the atlantic ocean
© comolok/Shutterstock.com

When paddleboarding in the ocean, you never know what kind of animals you’ll encounter. But we’re guessing that getting a little push from a Southern right whale is likely not something you expect. This paddleboarder was treated to a boost from the gentle whale, who swam right up to their board.

Set to music, the video shows the whale as he approaches the paddleboarder. Swimming smoothly through the water, the whale goes right behind the board and pushes it forward with one of its fins. He continues to linger just underneath the board. We can only imagine how excited the paddleboarder was to see the whale up close and personal. Wisely, they stayed calm and let the encounter unfold.

The whale breaks the surface a couple of times before it is joined by another whale. The two animals stay mostly below the surface, breaking through periodically. We’re not sure how much the paddleboarder was able to see from their position but the drone captured the most amazing display from above.

Where Do Southern Right Whales Live?

Curious southern right whale calf swimming on the surface as it's mother swims in the background, Nuevo Gulf, Valdes Peninsula, Argentina.

Right whales are often spotted in the oceans around South America, Africa, and Australia.


This drone footage was captured off the coast of Argentina. Southern right whales are a type of baleen whale, which means that they use plates in their mouths to filter small organisms out of the water for food. They do not have teeth. Historically, right whales have been hunted for their blubber and meat.

They live in warmer waters during mating season and are often spotted near South America, Africa, and Australia. During other times, they stay close to the far south near Antarctica. Right whales are some of the most active when it comes to interacting with people. They also like to stay close to the surface and will breach, blow, roll, and engage in plenty of other acrobatics for various purposes.

Right whales are slow swimmers, which you can clearly see in this video footage. This isn’t the first time that a whale has interacted with paddleboarders. Whales get close to boats, boards, and kayaks a surprising amount in the wild. It’s important to keep your distance from whales and other wild animals, however. Some species can get aggressive, although right whales tend to be pretty docile and calm. Still, wild animals are best left alone. If one takes an interest in you, such as in this video, the best thing to do is try to capture the amazing encounter on video for the rest of us to enjoy.

Is This Normal Whale Behavior?

Right Whale swimming in the atlantic ocean

Right whales are a type of baleen whales that are naturally curious toward humans.


Whales are very social and naturally extremely curious animals. Although historically they may not have always had the best bond with humans, this has been changing more in modern times and they have been known to have not only an amicable relationship but are more social and inquisitive toward them and with them. This behavior doesn’t only appear with the right whales but has been witnessed with blue whales, gray whales, and killer whales as well.

There have been quite a few instances where whales will allow people to swim alongside them, whether it’s with a paddle board, in a kayak, or swimming freely in the water, and they have been known to approach divers and boats to do a bit of close-up exploring. Whales in general are not ordinarily aggressive and are not violent toward humans and while it may not be typical to see them giving you a push while you relax on your paddleboard, these interactions are also not unheard of.

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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