FIN-tastic! Incredible pictures of the moment a paddle boarder comes face to face with a giant humpback whale

A paddle boarder risked his life by getting close to a giant humpback whale in these incredible photos.

Photographer Jodi Frediani captured the encounter when she was whale watching in Monterey Bay, California this summer.

Walking a fin-line: The paddle boarder risks his life  by approaching the giant humpback

Walking a fin-line: The paddle boarder risks his life by approaching the giant humpback

As the man on the surfboard edges closer to the huge mammal, it appears to wave before disappearing back under the surface.

But he was risking $11,000 as well as his life because getting to close to the whales in the wild carries a massive fine.

Close encounter: The dare devil could have been hit with a fine of more than £6,500 for paddling near the whales

Close encounter: The dare devil could have been hit with a fine of more than £6,500 for paddling near the whales

Huge numbers of the whales have come close to the shore to feed on the summer anchovy crop giving whale watchers the chance to see them up close.

As the fish have been near the surface, wildlife enthusiasts have been able to watch the incredible surface lunges that allow the whales to scoop up large numbers of fish.

WHALE PADDLE BOARDER

The encounter happened close to the shore in Monterey Bay, California where the creatures feed on the summer anchovy crop

Taking the opportunity to get closer than usual, the paddle boarder waited to see where the whales – which can weigh up to 36,000kg and measure up to 16 metres – were feeding and then headed over to say hi.

WHALE PADDLE BOARDER

The paddle boarder edges closer to the whale during a feeding session

Jodi said: “This year has been an exceptionally wonderful and rare occurrence to have so many humpback whales surface lunge-feeding on anchovies so close to shore. Pure magic!

“This paddle boarder deliberately approached the whales multiple times but this can break the National Marine Fisheries Service guidelines.

“Fortunately for him, none of the whales got irritated enough to lash out with a large tail throw, something we saw them do to a sailboat which sailed right through a group of feeding whales.

WHALE PADDLE BOARDER

The large mammal breaches the surface of the water in an attempt to scoop up large numbers of fish

“He could have been knocked off his board or seriously hurt if the whales were to come up where he was standing or do a tail lob.

“They wouldn’t deliberately attempt to hurt a person but they can weigh a huge amount.

“However I’ve been out to see them several times since this incident and people have been far more respectful.

“They’ve had amazing encounters with the whales approaching them.”