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Pro Paddleboarder Spots Whale Tail

11/13/2009 6:15 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

... and not of the exposed thong variety.

Jamie Mitchell: Click to watch
While filming a TV project in September, paddleboarding champ Jamie Mitchell got up close and very personal with a humpback whale off the coast of Australia -- and the footage is pretty incredible.

At one point, the giant mammal was literally inches from Mitchell -- who never loses his footing.

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