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Watch: Breathtaking drone footage of orca pod captured at Auckland's Kohimarama Beach as sun rises

A group of paddleboarders in Auckland were lucky enough to encounter a pod of curious orca whales as the sun rose this morning. 

Sam Thom saw the pod at 6.30am today while preparing to paddle out from Kohimarama Beach to Browns Island and fortunately had his drone on hand.

The paddle boarders made their way over, but that didn't frighten the pod away. 

"It was great to see the orca coming right up beside us and touching the boards," Mr Thom told ONE News Now.

"We were all both excited and nervous to be so close to them.

"Definitely a special start to spring."

Mr Thom, aged 28, estimated around seven whales circled the group, including some "big ones" and a few calves.

The self-proclaimed "adventure film maker" said one whale had a stingray in its mouth, which is why he believed the pod was so close to the shoreline.