Kiteboarder Captures Video Of Whale Collision Near Crissy Field

Kiteboarder Captures Video Of Whale Collision Near Crissy Field
Photo: Andrei Grigoriev/Facebook
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on July 07, 2017.

About two weeks ago, kiteboarder Andrei Grigoriev posted a video on his Facebook profile of a close encounter with a humpback whale near Crissy Field.

Grigoriev wrote:

"The whale appeared to hit me twice. 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."

Video: Andrei Grigoriev/Facebook

When we reached out to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spokesperson Jim Milbury, he confirmed that he has seen the video, but was not able to say if the agency had opened an investigation.

Based on the video, Milbury said it was hard to see if the whale was injured during the encounter.

However, Milbury advised everyone to be "whale wise," which includes staying at least 100 yards away from any marine mammal. If whales are traveling close to shore, boaters and paddlers shouldn't move between the whales and the shoreline. 

All whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Feeding, attempting to feed, or otherwise harassing marine mammals in the wild is illegal. NOAA also provides a more detailed guide.

Grigoriev told Australia's 9News that the scene was completely accidental, but did not reply to our questions.

Starting in April, humpbacks have been sighted near the Golden Gate Bridge as schools of krill and anchovies have moved into the area. Last year saw a similar pattern from late April to August as the whales expanded their foraging range into the Bay. 

"This may be a sign of a growing population's need to find more feeding opportunities," Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary spokesperson MaryJane Schramm told us back in May. Whales tend to follow the movements of their prey.

Humpback whales aren't the largest cetacean species, but compared to a kiteboarder, they're quite massive: a fully-grown adult can reach lengths of 52 feet and weigh up to 79,000 pounds.

Schramm also noted that there had been issues with windsurfers and kite boarders in the past, who have been witnessed "buzzing" whales repeatedly. She added that they were working on outreach efforts with local sporting communities on education and consequences.