When kiteboarder Andrei Grigoriev headed out to Crissy Field on June 18 he likely expected stiff breezes, perhaps, or thrilling waves. He probably wasn't expecting to collide with a giant humpback whale -- but then again, who is?
In a post on Facebook, Grigoriev says that he he was kiteboarding when a "whale appeared to hit me twice."
The beast "First drifted underneath, scaring the hell out of me, then made a turn and in 15 seconds came back on high speed, splashing fountains and rolling," he wrote. "These guys r playing it hard."
This isn't the first brush man has had with a humpback off our shores in recent days -- as previously reported, a boater was witnessed striking a humpback near the Golden Gate Bridge in late June. According to a spokesperson with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, boaters should make sure to give whales at leas a hundred yards of space. But it's unlikely that Grigoriev had that option, as it appears the great beast took him by surprise.
Australia's 9News reports that the collision took place on June 18, and describes Grigoriev as an "extreme sports enthusiast."
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald published yesterday, Grigoriev says that "I was going straight out from the beach when something touched my board from below. For another 15 second I had a feeling there was something around me, until the whale jumped out of the water right in front of me. The scene was completely accidental."
Grigoriev "never intended any harm to the animal; it was a complete accident," they report. Which is a good thing, as the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act list whales as protected animals. People who intentionally violate those protections could face a fine of up to $11,000, a prison sentence of up to one year, and "forfeiture of the vessel involved."
Here's the video of the scene -- my advice is to turn down your audio, as the background noise is a little tough to take.
Previously: Boater Collides With Whale, Both Still At Large