Photo of whales surfing Pipeline goes viral, drone video released

Published: Apr. 12, 2014 at 4:07 AM HST
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© J.T. Gray/North Shore Surf Photos
© J.T. Gray/North Shore Surf Photos
© Joseph Libby Photography
© Joseph Libby Photography

NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An incredible photo snapped Saturday (April 5) at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.

A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in.

J.T. Gray of North Shore Surf Photos grabbed his camera and the shot of a lifetime. "I spotted the whales heading towards the lineup," said Gray. "When the set rolled, a bodyboarder (six-time world champion Guilherme Tamega) caught the first wave, and the whales caught the second."

From late December to early May, humpback whales call Hawaii home. However, it is rare that the whales come this close to shore.

"I have never seen whales surfing on the north shore and everyone I have spoke to about it says it's a first as well," said Gray.

The Daily Mail and AOL are just some of the websites that have picked up the story. So far the photo has been shared more than 3,700 times on the HawaiiNewsNow Facebook page.

"It's been pretty crazy, I knew it was a special moment as I was capturing it but didn't realize it would draw this much attention. Just blessed to have witnessed it," said Gray.

Gray estimates the whale wave at around 6 to 8 feet.

Just as Gray's photos go viral, a video of the surfing whales has surfaced.

Drone videographer Eric Sterman said on his YouTube page that he was able to catch these beautiful whales enjoying the ocean over three separate days on the North Shore. "My favorite being the pod of whales swimming through the wave lineup at Pipeline."

Sterman said, "While I filmed from land, the whales ranged anywhere from a mile out at sea to close to the shore. A truly awesome experience."

J.T. Gray wasn't the only photographer to capture the amazing moment, Joseph Libby also snapped off some shots. "So today on the north shore this group of humpbacks came in to check out Ehukai and Pipeline. It was unreal!!"  Indeed!

To view more photos on a mobile device go here -

To view Sterman's drone video on a mobile device go here -  

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