Tuesday, March 4, 2008

a lesson learnt

On Monday the sea was too wild for any sane kayakers to go out. The regular paddle was cancelled but one brave/foolish soul decided that he would give it a try anyway. This is what he told me . The sea was wild, out beyond the reef there were huge waves the likes of which he had never seen before. They were breaking out at sea, not just big swells. At this stage he decided that Ehud was right and he turned to go home. This was not a friendly sea to be out in in a kayak. As he passed the reef again the wild sea capsized him and when he tried to roll his paddle broke. Not having a spare paddle he opted to bail out of his kayak. Holding on to both halves of his paddle and trying to hold onto the kayak too was just too much as the sea was throwing him and the kayak all over the place and he was afraid of getting hurt.So he abandoned the kayak in the hope that it would get washed to shore and started swimming ashore. The currents were not too friendly and it took him about 40 minutes to reach safety. In the meantime Ehud and Rami had been watching his adventures and sent a kite surfer out to help bring him in.
So what lessons are to be learnd here.
First of all dont overestimate your ability.
Second , never take the sea for granted, it will always be stronger than you.
Next , what is your bail out plan and what are your levels of defence.
According to John Lull in his book Seakayaking Safety and rescue, the four levels of defense are as follows:
Level 1 Judgment and experience
knowledge and experience
boat control
balance and edge control
Level 2. Recovery Skills
Brace strokes for capsize prevention
Eskimo roll, capsize recovery
Level 3 Rescues
Assisted rescues
Self Rescues
Level 4 Outside Assistance
Flares , radio etc
So if we analyse this incident level 1 skills were inadequate and a bad decision was made.
level 2 skills did not succeed
level 3 skills were non existent as there was no one for assisted rescue and no spare paddle for self rescue
Level 4 . there was no way to signal for help but luckily Ehud and Rami were on the lookout and sent help.
Lets hope some of these lessons are learned and taken seriously, remember seakayaking can be dangerous to your health in certain conditions.
That said today was a great day in the waves and whoever was out there had the time of their lives. Just ask Limor and Omri. And maybe we will get to see Rami`s video too.

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