The amazing scenes of a southern right whale emerging from turquoise waters were captured at Freshwater Beach off the coast of Sydney on Sunday.

But the awe-inspiring sight belies a hidden danger - last year a surfer was injured by the same species of whale at Bondi Beach.

And, aware of the risk of injury from the animal’s huge fins, the surfers in the video are seen quickly paddling away as the whale turns in the waves.

The footage was filmed from a helicopter by Australian TV channel Nine News.

The whale appeared to be in a playful mood, swishing its tail and swimming alongside the surfers - but the fun and games were restricted by national law, which dictates that swimmers should not be closer than 30 metres to a whale, while surfers and boats are required to keep 100 metres away.

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.
“I was pretty worried to see one guy out there with a kid on his board. It's a big animal, one tail flick and we could have a death on our hands,” he added.

The surfers were reportedly told to move away from the creature over the loudspeakers at Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club.
A spokesman for the NSW Marine Police told Fairfax Media that they sent out a boat to patrol the area and ensure neither the spectators nor whale were injured.