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Surfer Left Unconscious by Giant 33-Feet Whale After Getting ‘Heavily Smashed’ Under Terrifying Turn of Events in 2013

Published 03/26/2023, 2:45 PM EDT

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Smashing into reefs, shark attacks, and drowning in the deep blue depths, are only some of the perils associated with surfing. However, a peculiar accident on Bondi beach in Australia left locals shocked, after a whale smacked the daylight out of a surfer with its tail. The mishap took place around July 2013. In a publication by The Sydney Morning Herald, Sri Lankan origin, Bishan Rajapakse’s misadventure with the giant 33-feet mammal was highlighted.

Eventually, he was rescued by the bystanders and rushed on to a nearby hospital. The incident resulted from the victim’s mere ignorance of the risks.  Here’s how he and the rescuers narrated their experience. 

Surfer’s curiosity almost killed him


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As per The Sydney Morning Herald, the 38-year-old, who worked as a doctor, was surfing at the other end of the beach when the whale visited. It was unusually close to the shore. Therefore, everyone gazed at the giant animal in amazement. Rajapakse too paddled over to look. Overwhelmed with fascination, he didn’t anticipate the potential risk of its huge proportions. Thus, after he attempted to greet the whale with a, “Hey, how’s it going?” he dropped unconscious into the water. 

Apparently, a whale’s tail is the strongest muscle known to mankind. Therefore, Tony Spanos, a local surfer spoke, “Got really heavily smashed and went straight under.” Fortunately, he instantly dived, grabbed and held the victim above the water, since the latter had lost consciousness. “It’s an extreme no-no to go in the vicinity of a whale,” elucidated Anthony Carroll, a lifeguard at Bondi Rescue. 


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Furthermore, the victim, a New Zealand resident, narrated, “When I got to him I saw there was this dark, black shadow and it was just massive. The whale was moving in like slow motion. It was beautiful and it breached and we could see the barnacles and it was slowly going up and down and turning and it actually made a noise. It was amazing.” It is questionable whether his blissful insights were worth the consequence. Nevertheless, he didn’t suffer from major injuries apart from a headache. 

What other surfers witnessed during the episode


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Carroll disclosed that the surfer was in close vicinity of the whale, specifically, less than half a metre from its tail, and said, “It looked like he was thrown about three meters above the water.” Whereas, the rescuer, Spanos deduced that the whale seemed mid-age with “lots of barnacles on its back. It was about 10 meters long.” 

A notable individual, Mark Greig, son of late cricket icon, Tony Greig, happened to be in the locale. Moreover, he even warned the victim to get away from the big fish. Another surfer, Jeremy Piggin implied that it seemed as if the whale wanted to “play” with them. Although, when it got a bit fidgety, the surfers moved away except one. “He just kept staring at the whale’s head…didn’t seem to have any idea about that tail and it came out of the water and just whacked him.,” he recalled. 


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It is almost impossible to foretell such mishaps. Nonetheless, keeping away from the aquatic beasts at times when they wander off near human settlements is the least preventive measure one can take. Although the fascination of catching sight of these wonders of nature might seem tempting, it’s not worth the loss of life.



Tiyasa Biswas

558 articles

Tiyasa is a US Sports author for Essentially Sports. She charts her journey in the sporting world right from her childhood. A basketball player all through her high school and college days, Tiyasa looks up to Michael Jordan as her idol, and reveres the Mamba Mindset.

Edited By: Anupama Ghosh