Whale Smacks Surfer Unconscious With Tail

Unexpected guest at Bondi beach makes a splash

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2013 5:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – Well-known surfing hazards: riptides, wipeouts, rocks, and newbies. Lesser known surfing hazards: whale tails. When a 32-foot whale decided to join the hordes of other tourists at Sydney's Bondi Beach, surfer Bishan Rajapakse learned about that one the hard way. Another surfer reportedly warned Rajapakse, 38, not to get too close, but he and a handful of others couldn't help themselves and surrounded the underwater visitor. That's when the whale's tail crashed down on Rajapakse's head, throwing him from his board and knocking him out for 10 seconds, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"The girls were screaming and some of the other guys dove down and got him. His eyes were all rolled back and his arms were limp. It was obvious he was unconscious," says another surfer who helped rescue Rajapakse. "It just swam among this group of 15 guys on boards and a couple of swimmers in the middle of the bay and it looked like he was playing with him. We all just stood there riveted," says an onlooker. "And then, whoosh, up comes the tail, and up go the guys." Rajapakse was taken to hospital, but had no injuries other than a headache. The whale was escorted by a police boat and jet skis back to deeper waters.

People gather on Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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