Friday, January 27, 2012

close call

The weather report was for stormy conditions, high seas, 4 to 5m, and strong winds. So  even there was no paddling this morning I went down to look at the surf and feel the power of the storm

Soon Hadas and Pupik came strolling up to the clubhouse, and over a cup of coffee I heard all the details of yesterdays close call
Yesterday morning the sea was beginning to turn from calm to stormy, G and R went out first on their Fenn surf skis and Shalom was on his short surf kayak out at the rock. By the time they came back the waves had gotten bigger and the sea was rougher. Just as they were turning to shore G capsized and from then on things went from bad to worse to dangerous.
Mind you this is all second hand  info, but I heard it from 3 sources so its pretty accurate.
After failing to get back on his surf ski and floundering in the now cold water G was beginning to feel pretty wiped out and worried, to say the least. R had not managed to help him and had been capsized by the attempts too. G had not worn a pfd and  by now was feeling helpless. By this time Shalom had seen what was happening and come to help, he separated G from his kayak because of the danger of getting pulled onto the reef , and towed the kayak back to the beach, in the meantime Z and I had arrived and Z gave G a pfd to put on .Z had to jump into the water and help G put on the pfd, in fact the first time he put iit on backwards and then had to jump back into hte water to correct this mistake. He got no help from G all the while. Then he towed G out of the danger zone until  shalom arrived.

 This helped him float and gave a bit of warmth.  they could not help G in the water without danger of more capsizes and so tried to give moral support and encouragement.
By this time Shalom had managed to get a dingy out and with some difficulty in the rough water pulled G into the boat and got him back to shore. G was badly shaken by  the incident , suffered from beginning hypothermia, exhaustion and panic, but after a hot shower managed to feel a bit better. He lost his paddle but his surf ski was saved.
I'm sure that there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from this incident and will leave by saying that the least you should do is wear  your pfd ALL THE TIME , especially in rough water.

The picture above shows Israel demonstrating how to hang on to your surf ski in rough water.
Good if you can do it.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

thanks for the update , I am sure there are lessons for everybody here

Unknown said...

Hi Steve

Could not comment but since i was there for a fraction of the incident, I can provide you some info to make the recap more accurate

When I arrived (arrived first, Israel followed later) saw G exhausted in great distress
Threw PFD to R 3m away to hand to G who was right next to R but in the water
G explained he could not longer move his arms to I jumped in and put the PFD on him and buckled it (my own surf and paddle drifted a bit)
Once back my surfski, realized PFD was on backwards and because of that the PFD risen too high in front of G's face and that he would not last the tow like this
Jumped back in, took PFD off him and put it on correctly
Tied my 8m rope (which was in a pocket on my PFD now on G) to my foot strap and then made a loop for Gal to Grab
Asked R to escort me behind as I started towing and make sure G does not slip under - he was in a confused , highly distressed state
Towed G from the rock area to the "entrance" going was very slow (lots of drag), even asked him to swim with his legs to help the tow (and also get him more involved so he would not slip back into his dismal self at that state)
By the time we reached "entrance" (after what seemed like a good 5 minutes if not more...) we were pushed too far north and close to the rocks, high breaking waves
Decided to correct course south for what seemed would be the safest path in
Was starting to time myself to catch a big one to push us all the way through the entrance
My thoughts were that once we were inside the lagoon, everything would become more manageable - end of incident
At that point Shalom arrived with a speed boat. He asked G to swim to it but G could not summon power to swim. Shalom pulled him in. I did not see from here on as I tried to escape the
impact zone and make it safely to shore.

My own thoughts on this:

1. Wear PFD (active sea)
2. Know your limits
3. Carry tow rope
4. If possible send a sea kayak in addition to surf ski (surf ski was good for getting there fast. in hind sight i would still do it since the PFD and moral support and tow were a turning point)
5. Believe the person in the water even if your personal assessment of the situation is less severe (Gal nearly drowned according to what he says)
6. If you put a PFD on someone, take the extra 10 seconds to do right the first time
7. Don't let go of your ski and paddle when you are trying to help someone else.



avital said...

I think you guys have enough experience to write "The serf ski 10's". Be safe!