Saturday, March 21, 2015

fun in the Petrel but when you make a mistake you pay for it.

Kayaking in the surf is a lot of fun, it`s exciting and excilerating and gives you a great adrenaline rush. I guess it becomes addictive at some time. There is a downside though. You need to practice playing in the surf a lot, you need to feel comfortable bracing and you need a good combat roll. Its best to start off in small surf in a protected area and it helps if there is someone who can teach you and help you. Slowly you begin to get more adventurous and head out into bigger surf, and heres where the potential for trouble shows up. Not to forget that even in small surf there is a potential for danger and damage. A kayak filled with water can inflict serious damage if you are between it and the beach with even small waves, a wrongly judged movement can cause shoulder or arm injuries and even head injuries are known to happen in small surf.. There are basic rules to be taken into account, for example, always be on the sea side of a swamped kayak, keep an eye on the surf, never turn your back on the waves and watch out for fellow kayakers or surfers or swimmers.Some wear helmets all the time, others forgo them , they can and do help but not always. Above all take respoonsibility and control, Kayaking is a potentially dangerous sport and if you go out there in conditions you take the risk. Yesterday I was reminded of all the above. We went out to play in the rough water at our local beach, the surf was about 1.5 to 2M sometimes bigger. I had my helmet on as usual and my GOPRO on the front deck. One of our guys had his hatch cover implode and his kayak got swamped, I pulled up next to him and began pumping . We were in the usually safe zone, just under the rock where the surf breaks. First mistake was not watching the surf, we were facing the beach. there was another kayaker watching us and he was seaward of us. A large wave loomed looking to break on us, A warning shout alerted us to the danger just as the wave threw his kayak ont us, we managed to abandon the pump, grab our paddles and brace fotr the wave but in the porcess I got hit on the back of my neck with his kayak. here the helmet didnt help at all, I managed to roll and brace in the surging wave and then went side surfing along until the wave lost its power. Just at the end i saw a surfer who had lost his board some time ago right in my line , I shouted to warn him but by then I was on top of him grazing him with my kayak. The camera sees all and this whole episode was well recorded , look at .48 to 1.42 on the video. At the end of the session we always try to get a good wave for finishing, Here I had another lesson and a reminder that the sea is the boss. I got flipped by a large wave and the force pulled me right out of my cockpit, I managed to do a reentry roll and then had to paddle a swamped kayak back to shore. All in all it was a great day , and I cant wait to get back.
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