Surf too good not to share with Orca

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Surf too good not to share with Orca

This guy's doesn't let anything get in the way of a good surf!

Craig Hunter had paddled out past the breakers when he first spotted the giant dorsal fin.

Rather than point his board to shore and catch the first wave to land, the veteran Taranaki surfer shared his waves for 45 minutes with the big male orca and without realising it two young calves.

The orca, regular visitors to the Taranaki coast, paid little attention to the surfers at Stent Rd surf break near Cape Egmont on Saturday. The surfers watched in awe as they swam up and down the beach.

"It's pretty awesome. It's a pretty special sort of feeling," said Mr Hunter, known to his surfing friends as Billy. "I was out there on my own for quite a while and the big fella was just cruising. It was really neat.

"There was no way I was going in because the waves were too good."

Having surfed the Taranaki waves for nearly five decades, Mr Hunter owner of a surf shop has been joined by orca before. He said he gave no thought to going ashore, even when the orca came within 50 metres.

"I've been a bit spoilt with orca. I've spent quite a lot of time in the water with them.

"I'm long past the age of being freaked out by it now, mate. The first times were a bit freaky but my outlook is they are big enough and quick enough, if they thought I was a seal I'd be long gone.

"You just hope like hell he's not hungry and you're not on his food chain."

Photographer Jane Dove Juneau said the three orca seemed unconcerned with the wetsuit-wearing interlopers in their midst.

"They swam around the waves for a while and stayed quite close to the surface, almost like they were checking the surfers out," she said. "I saw one guy paddle really quickly for the shore because he freaked out a bit."

no-fear.jpg - 23.33kb
By netchicken: posted on 12-1-2009

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