If you go standup paddling in the ocean on a regular basis, chances are you have come across a fair share of marine wildlife. From pelicans gliding effortlessly above the ocean surface, to schools of bait fish giving off a brilliant shimmer beneath your feet, or a pod of dolphins frolicking in the waves, seeing wildlife up-close in their natural habitat is one of our favorite reasons to go standup paddling.

However, nothing compares to the thrill of stroking alongside earth’s biggest mammals. In this clip, paddler Rich German finds himself paddling alongside a juvenile grey whale, just off the coast of Laguna Beach, California. His excitement is palpable and it’s an experience we all hope to have one day. But for now, we can all live vicariously through his footage.


Watch: Paddlers help guide a lost whale out of Dana Point Harbor.

More SUP whale encounters.