Whales, SUPs, and YouTube: How SUP videos with whales keep going viral…

Dave Anderson’s video of Adam Crawford SUPing with an 80-foot blue whale.

“It’s crazy,” says Adam Crawford of Dana Point Calif., who, 10 days ago, was flown out to New York City along with his wife to appear on the Today Show to talk about the now viral YouTube video that he, his SUP, and an 80-plus foot blue whale appear in. “They put us up in a nice hotel right in Rockefeller Center,” he says. “Right across from the studio.” His interview, along with the captain of a nearby whale-watching vessel, Dave Anderson, who filmed the event two and a half miles off of Dana Point, Calif., lasted nearly four minutes—That’s a lot of time on national television for a 49 second YouTube clip. And it’s not the first time this has happened either.

Crawford and Anderson’s Today Show interview.

Last April, ex-pro surfer and avid standup paddler Jodie Nelson appeared on both the Today Show and the Ellen Show after becoming the first woman to Standup paddle the 39.8 mile crossing from Catalina Island to Dana Point during her Paddle With A Purpose fundraiser for Breast Cancer. But that’s not why she was on TV. A 30-foot minke whale, which she affectionately nicknamed Larry, swam alongside her for about an hour and a half during her nine-hour paddle, blowing bubbles and showing her his belly. Granted, that’s pretty cool. But even more amazing: According to Nelson, after the video of her and Larry was posted, $100,000 was donated to her fundraiser within 24 hours. Invitations to the east coast to appear on national television followed soon after.

“I don’t really know why people like the whale video so much,” says Crawford of his and Anderson’s brief video that, after being picked up by Yahoo, quickly garnered over 2 million views. “It’s a unique perspective, seeing a whale from an SUP,” says Crawford. “It’s pretty awe-inspiring. Maybe it’s because people in Ohio don’t usually get to see whales like that.”

Or, maybe people just really like whales. A recent Youtube video of a beluga whale being serenaded by a mariachi band at the Connecticut Zoo—involving no SUPs whatsoever-also just received nearly 2 million views. And another, which features fin whales rolling around in circles off the side of a boat, has almost as many. But the makers of those films aren’t being invited to talk shows… Coincidence? Maybe. But it’s good exposure for standup paddling either way, so bring on the whales.

—Dave Costello

Read an SUP tale that includes whales in the Fall Issue of SUP magazine, on sale September 14, 2011.