Orcas Investigate Kayakers (Video)

Astonishing close encounter for a lucky group of paddlers

Latest Videos

For as many kayakers and whales travel the ocean, it’s incredible just how magical the moment remains for the two groups to share an interaction. Now, imagine how it would feel to have an Orca swim right up to the side of your boat.

Orcas Investigate Kayakers

When a group of kayak guides in New Zealand, who seek to show others whales and wildlife, actually came face to face with a pod of Orcas, even they had trouble finding the words to express the astonishment.

Kaikoura Kayaks operates on the northeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island, and the Kaikoura Peninsula provides the kayak company opportunities to show guests fur seals, dusky dolphins, and albatross. The peninsula is also New Zealand’s whale-watching capital, which means there is no shortage of viewing year-round resident sperm whales as well as other migrating species, including the orcas.

Depending on your perspective, having an orca alongside your kayak could be either an exhilarating or terrifying moment. We’ll lean toward the former for most paddlers willing to take a trip on the ocean. Orcas have garnered a particular reputation. In some ways, they’ve earned it, including their well-known hunting displays and recently targeting vessels off the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Yet, there are no documented incidents of an orca attacking a kayaker during an interaction. As these moments captured on video continue to find their way to our feed, they tend to bring up conversation from all corners, including conservation.

orca alongside kayak in New Zealand
Feature Image: Kaikoura Kayaks // YouTube

The Kaikoura Peninsula Has A Knack For Finding The Spotlight

In a recent story for Paddling Magazine, correspondent Jessica Wynne Lockhart raised the question of the ethics and ecological science surrounding wildlife tourism and the often understated effect paddlers have on the animal kingdom. It’s a nuanced topic, and the story leads us through some surprising turns.

During her reportage, Wynne Lockhart travels to Kaikoura Kayaks firsthand for the story. The author was drawn there partly because of a video from the outfitter showing a seal slapping a kayaker with an octopus.

As you can imagine, the clip created a sensational buzz, leading visiting tourists to the peninsula, yearning to recreate the moment for themselves. It seems the outfitter has no shortage of viral close encounters for our viewing pleasure.

Popular Videos


  1. Kaikoura is on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, north of mid way.
    They are dusky dolphins, not dusty, and found in the Southern Hemisphere.
    (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) Its specific epithet is Latin for “dark” or “dim”.”
    Seals, certainly the youngsters, can be very friendly, clambering on board your kayak in some parts of the South Island where kayakers are common.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here