VIDEO: Sydney surfers criticised for swimming too close to huge whale

The Southern Right whale swam with the surfers at Freshwater Beach off the coast of Sydney.

VIDEO: Sydney surfers criticised for swimming too close to huge whale

These surfers off Freshwater Beach near Sydney, Australia had the amazing experience of swimming with this Southern Right whale but they have been criticised for going too close to the huge mammal.

In footage filmed from a local news helicopter, the whale can be seen swimming alongside the surfers about 500 metres from the shore. The surfer are just metres away from the whale - at one point, they have to paddle swiftly away when the mammal suddenly turns.

Last year, a surfer at Bondi Beach was injured by the same type of whale.

And it's not just for their own safety - Australian law dictates that swimmers should always be more than 30 metres away from a whale - and surfers and boats 100 metres away - so as not to distress the whale.

Resident Ian Hansen, who witnessed the scenes, told Fairfax Media: “To be honest they were harassing it a bit. They were so close and it had no room to move... If I was the fish I'd be harassed too. It'd move a bit and they'd back off."

Something for Irish swimers and surfers to keep in mind now that we're having more and more encounters with whales, sharks and dolphins.

They're not pets! How cool would that be though...

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