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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September, 2004, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
US surfer's wave turns into whale
A surfer in the US state of California says the wave he was riding on a recent trip turned out to be a whale.

Spyros Vamvas, 60, from San Clemente, said he felt the ocean swirl - and was lifted up by the giant mammal.

"I'm looking down, and there's just swirling water and I see barnacles on the back of the whale," Mr Vamvas told the Associated Press news agency.

Witnesses said the whale put Mr Vamvas back on the water's surface, turned and headed out towards the open sea.

"We were all screaming, 'Oh my God!"' said Mona Ferner, who was playing volleyball with her sister when she saw the whale.


The sight of the whale scared a number of surfers out of the water, a beach lifeguard said.

Mr Vamvas was the only one left as the whale approached.

The therapist, who has been surfing since he was a boy, said the whale lifted him gently.

"I never changed position on my board," he was quoted as saying by AP.

Witnesses on the beach estimated that the whale was between 15ft (4.5m) and 30 ft (9.1m) long, which means the whale was probably a youngster.

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