WORLD champion stand-up paddle boarder Jamie Mithcell had an encounter with whales near Cook Island on Monday.
WORLD champion stand-up paddle boarder Jamie Mithcell had an encounter with whales near Cook Island on Monday. James Perkins/ Tweed Daily News

Flipping heck as pod gives chase

WATERMAN Jamie Mitchell has rated an encounter with whales off the Tweed Coast his most special experience on the water.

The eight-time world paddle-boarding champion was filming for his television project Living In Liquid between Cook Island and Duranbah when a pod of humpbacks took interest in his paddling.

Despite taking on 60 foot waves in the past, Mitchell admitted to being scared as the huge mammals surrounded him and put on a show.

“At first it was kind of scary because they are just so big,” Mitchell said.

“But after a while, the whales were just happy to swim right up to me, I think they were checking me out, especially the one that surfaced right in front of me.

“I was very lucky, I wasn't chasing the whales, they were following me.”

The big-wave surfer, who won the 32-mile Molokai to Oahu paddle race in Hawaii last month, admitted to being a bit shocked when the pod of whales started surfacing so close to his paddleboard.

“They have amazing control in the water, so I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

“I have an even greater respect for them now, they are so cool,” he said.

The globe-trotting Gold Coaster said he was stoked to have the experience right off “home”.

While he lives up at Currumbin, Mitchell said the Tweed Coast proved a perfect training ground and he often paddled from Cabarita Beach to Currumbin.

The whale footage will prove priceless for the pilot episode of Living in Liquid, which will feature Mitchell attempting extreme marine activities.

The television show is expected to follow Mitchell as he takes on 60 foot waves off the coast of California and attempts to dive (without oxygen) to 100 foot. He will also get washed out to sea and stand-up paddle board a 50-foot wave.



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