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Australian surfers break law by swimming with whale

Australian Surfers Break Law By Swimming With Whale

A whale off the coast of Sydney, Australia, attracted a lot of attention from surfers Sunday -- and they are getting backlash for their apparently illegal activities. Some media outlets portrayed the encounter as a friendly one. ABC reports, "This 40-foot whale was sharing the water with surfers. It seemed to be in a playful mood, swishing its tail, telling the surfers, 'Dude, there's great swells 15 feet down.'"



But not everyone thought the surfers and the whale were playmates. CBS News reports, "Some are accusing the surfers of harassment. They broke the law by getting so close."

We found a similar sentiment from a Freshwater resident who spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald: "To be honest they were harassing it a bit. They were so close and it had no room to move." The resident adds, "If I was the fish I'd be harassed too."

According to local laws in New South Wales, where Sydney is located, vessels must stay as far as 100 meters away from a whale in the water, which is about 328 feet.

Vessels are defined as "watercraft that can be used as transport, including motorised or non-motorised boats, surfboards, surf skis and kayaks."

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the whale was first spotted off of Freshwater Beach just north of Sydney. Sydney's 9 News captured aerial footage of the surfers and the whale.

According to ITV, a coast guard boat appeared at the scene as the surfers were paddling away.

Several media outlets quote a government spokesman who says the whale "was probably a pregnant female looking for a safe, calm area to calve or a young male exploring."

Join the discussion

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keithj77441 July 01 2014 at 6:22 AM

The whale had plenty of room, particularly underneath

Flag Reply +19 rate up
1 reply
golfin7639 keithj77441 July 01 2014 at 9:42 AM

Exactly !!!

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olengrumpy July 01 2014 at 8:12 AM

Good lord, must people find something wrong with everything? What a negative world we now live in.... Every action and every word is constantly being attacked, usually by people who do nothing all day but look for something to cry about,...
I would not be surprised if some government agency makes the surfers pay for psychiatric visits for the whale...

Flag Reply +18 rate up
1 reply
JC olengrumpy July 01 2014 at 6:20 PM

Only very, very SMALL, insecure people with an absurdly exaggerated sense of their own self-importance would get involved in this kind of thing.

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1 reply
laclone JC July 01 2014 at 8:28 PM

How dare you bring the U.S. Congress into the discussion!

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laclone July 01 2014 at 6:16 AM

Looks more like an innocent encounter than harassment.

A group of surfers are out past the breaks, when a playful/curious whale decided to investigate this funny-looking school/pod of fishy-things.

They can't paddle away faster than it can swim, so they kept calm, try to remain a discreet distance, and let it investigate them.
They're not actively paddling closer, or trying to touch or ride on it, or do anything that might scare or panic the whale (like American surfers might try to do).

I think the media is reading more into this than what it was.
A lucky, chance encounter that they will always remember.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
2 replies
Sandy laclone July 01 2014 at 2:59 PM

"like American surfers might try to do" - What a stupid thing to say!

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1 reply
ERIC Sandy July 01 2014 at 3:25 PM

Very.

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Mike Jones laclone July 01 2014 at 7:24 PM

Sounds to me like an American surfer stole your girl and kicked sand in your face....

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1 reply
laclone Mike Jones July 01 2014 at 8:21 PM

And I'm sorry about the sand in your face part. That was unintentional, and happened as your girl and I walked way while you were crying (for the record, she did it. Not me.)

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libsfault July 01 2014 at 8:32 AM

I'm sure if the Whale felt harassed it could have chased the surfers away....These stupid tree hugger types are so ridiculous....

Flag Reply +14 rate up
2 replies
usapaydirt libsfault July 01 2014 at 9:22 AM

You got that right ! People have absolutely no obligation to move from where they are when wildlife enters the persons space. To think otherwise is absolute insanity and tree hugging gone wild.....

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2 replies
shirley usapaydirt July 01 2014 at 4:51 PM

The Ocean is for everyone..all of God's creatures

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ERIC usapaydirt July 01 2014 at 6:43 PM

Including humans, shirley.

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moose libsfault July 01 2014 at 12:54 PM

To usapaydirt- Obviously you are a dumb azz and ignorant , two dangerous combinations in a human. First let's clearify your comment. It was the surfers that entered in the Whales space. The ocean is where the whales live and exist, humans are land animals intentionally placing themselves in the ocean (where the Whales live).

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1 reply
libsfault moose July 01 2014 at 1:04 PM

If were land strictly land mammals why is it we can play and frolic in the water like the whale mammals.......DUH !!!

Flag +1 rate up
aristocat101 July 01 2014 at 7:51 AM

Stupid people why cant they leave these animals alone, I am so sick of people and what they do.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
bottomtime321 July 01 2014 at 9:36 AM

Where is the Hell is Obama on tis Matter?

Those Surfers look like Terrorist Surfers.

We need a New Whale Czar, come on Obama do your Job.

Us none surfers are pissed, time to picket surf board shops.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
innovator14 bottomtime321 July 01 2014 at 12:11 PM

stuipid comment

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jwfoust bottomtime321 July 01 2014 at 9:31 PM

Exceptionally stupid comment.

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Franco July 01 2014 at 9:59 AM

This is folishness and foolish laws, dementia is setting in down under.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
bdgrizcp July 01 2014 at 9:20 AM

Laws of good intention are beginning to wear thin. Since no one actually 'owns' the water, these regulations have no real meaning. If the whale came to the surfers, no harm no foul. If the surfers paddled to the whale (who was probably closer than 100 meters anyway) I still don't see a problem. Yeah, I do--it's the midset of bureaucrats who write these silly laws. What no one seems to get is that when in the water you probably couldn't see the whale anyway. Shred these ridiculous laws.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
jloschh July 01 2014 at 7:52 AM

tell the teacher we're surfin, surfin u s a

Flag Reply +3 rate up
gcanning775 July 01 2014 at 10:09 AM

AOL sells story by posting bs headline!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
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