Jason Breen has footage of his whale encounters thanks to his GoPro camera and “a guy on a headland who just happened to be filming,” the wingfoiler said
There’s a “one in a million” chance someone will get tackled by a whale while on a surfboard — and an Australian man managed to capture the rare event on camera.
55-year-old Jason Breen had been wing foiling — similar to windsurfing — on a beach in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday with his GoPro camera and filmed his close encounter with a whale. In the video, Breen is balancing on his wing foil board in the water when suddenly, a giant whale breaches the surface and collides with Breen.
As the clip continues, Breen gives a surprised yelp as he falls underwater with the marine mammal. The next few seconds of the video show a frantic movement of the camera from underwater as Breen struggles to resurface. He eventually does and appears to get back on his board later in the video.
“I just got hit by a whale,” Breen tells the camera.
After the ordeal, Breen told local media that the whale had dragged him down by his surfboard leash attached to his leg, and he only got away once it broke, per Storyful.
“I thought I was gone, to be honest,” Breen told The Guardian. “I thought for a few seconds, ‘This is what it’s like to die.'”
“Luckily, I felt the leash break, and from there, I got released from under the whale’s body and was able to come to [the] surface,” Breen said, according to Storyful. “Thank my lucky stars that something that’s not supposed to break broke and ringed the webbing out.”
He added that he believed the whale was a young juvenile because he felt its smooth skin.
When Breen returned to shore, per The Guardian, he told his friends what had happened, saying, “They just went ‘Yeah, sure!’ They thought I was telling a made-up story; then I realized my GoPro had captured it all.”
A bystander who had also happened to be filming Breen caught the incident on camera and called for help just in case Breen didn’t resurface, per the outlet.
The wingfoiler said he escaped the incident unscathed.
“The whole thing was unusual, one in a million – 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,” Breen said.