SAN DIEGO (KSWB) - A group of surfers got a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a gray whale at an Orange County beach this week.
About two-dozen surfers were hanging out between sets at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point when the whale calmly made its way through the lineup. The encounter was caught on drone video.
Experts said the whale appeared to be young and healthy, adding it's not uncommon for them to stick close to shore in more shallow water while migrating.
"Gray whales are pretty docile; they're known as the friendly whale," Capt. Corey Hall, from Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, told KTLA.
Hall said it was probably only the first or second time the whale had migrated south for the winter. Gray whales stick closer to the water's edge because they do not use echolocation to navigate, using landmarks instead.
Payton Landaas, a high school senior from the area, was the lucky drone pilot who captured Monday's special moment on video. Check out more of his work here.