Is This a Real Danger?

2 months 3 weeks ago #33635 by Wombat661
latimes :
"I thought about giving it a try by kayak but was warned by professionals not to risk it except in ideal conditions and with experienced guides. The currents and winds can shift abruptly, they said, and you can end up paddling for your life, getting stuck overnight or drifting halfway to Hawaii."

That was a quote in latimes about beach access. Due to land fight, to get to Gaviota coast near Santa Barbara, you have to paddle two miles. Probably not an issue on a surfski. However, it warned about drifting away into the ocean.

Is that a legitimate danger that you can be dragged out to middle of the ocean? How do you identify these no man zone? Has anyone experienced variation of these situations before?

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #33636 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Is This a Real Danger?
This area of california is subject to rapidly changing winds so if you paddled there when it was calm and the typical afternoon wind picks up, you're in trouble. Also, that area frequently has strong offshore winds, another risk to the unprepared paddler. Not so sure about the currents around that specific beach, but the whole coastline in that area often has a 1-2kt west current.

As for legitimate concerns, anytime there is a current or wind you should be aware of where it will drag you. Obviously offshore winds or currents are more dangerous, and this area does have an offshore current, and can have an onshore or offshore wind, or both in a short period of time.

 I think the LA media rightly discourages people from attempting this, but probably makes it sound more dangerous than it is if you know what you're doing. 

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #33684 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Is This a Real Danger?
No doubt the statement from the LA times is valid for a novice/beginner and foolish paddlers. Small boats and manually powered water craft frequent those waters year round to fish, dive and mostly - surf "the Ranch".  (guys like me)
And by the way, There are a lot of people , many I know, who bought 1/12 interest in large parcels of vacant land up there since the 70's to have drive in access to world class surfing that are far from elite billionaires. Very smart investments/investors though! My understanding is you must be a sole owner of an entire parcel to develop it. Tends to limit or at least slow development. There are a lot of restrictions on land use and access.
And yes, they do have security guards that will arrest you for trespassing. Go ahead, ask me how I know this.
Oh, almost forgot, this area probably has some of the best parallel coast downwind paddling in California! Problem is you have to paddle up wind first. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago #33697 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Is This a Real Danger?
Maybe the strong offshore winds that frequent this area of coastline blow Pt. Conception (also known as "Cape Horn of the Pacific") isn't your biggest concern?

www.fearbeneath.com/2010/08/gaviota-grea...ark-attacks-kayaker/

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2 months 2 weeks ago #33700 by Dicko
Replied by Dicko on topic Is This a Real Danger?
The only real danger is this site turns into a political forum. Social commentary really isn't what this site is about. Facebook is full of social justice warriors and we don't need that on this site. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago #33702 by robin.mousley

The only real danger is this site turns into a political forum. Social commentary really isn't what this site is about. Facebook is full of social justice warriors and we don't need that on this site.

100%  

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
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2 months 2 weeks ago #33714 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Is This a Real Danger?
in response to the OP's original question about experiences with currents and winds and paddling for your life, I thought that I would share some of my experiences and lessons learned.
Years back an OC 6 team was paddling off the coast out of Channel Islands Harbor. During their paddle, strong offshore Santa Ana winds developed. In their attempt to paddle back to the harbor while battling the building wind and seas, the canoe was swamped and the paddlers were treading in 55 degree F. water with no insulating garments, PFD's or communication device. Two of the very fit paddlers attempted to swim to shore, but unfortunately did not make it. The other four stayed with the canoe and were rescued. All were severely hypothermic and I believe a female paddler was hospitalized.  When I went back to work the next day, as a Harbor Patrol officer, I was involved in a search and rescue mission looking for the missing paddlers. I did not find the paddlers, but, I did find the canoe. It was about 6 miles offshore. Pretty much due west from where the canoe swamped about a 1/2 mile from the harbor entrance. The canoe drifted there overnight due to a combination of NE winds and westerly flowing currents. On another occasion, while working as a Charter boat captain, we were  summoned by a National Park Ranger to rescue two missing kayakers in a tandem kayak. The couple had planned a trip with another couple to paddle across the Santa Barbara channel to Anacapa island. There was a small craft advisory that day for strong Westerly winds and rough seas. The kayakers planned to depart Channel Islands harbor at 0500. Upon hearing the WX forecast decided to go to breakfast instead. Mind you the ocean conditions quickly deteriorate as the day continues. So, at 0800 they decided to attempt their excursion. They had planned this vacation  long in advance and traveled quite a few miles. The more experienced couple made it to the island. We subsequently found the other missing couple in a swamped kayak about two miles downwind of their destination still trying to paddle against the 6'+ seas and 20+ knot winds. They were in very bad shape, hypothermic and exhausted. We were able to rescue them, but lost their kayak and gear. We had paramedics meet us at the dock. Apparently, the woman was in hypovolemic shock and had a miscarriage.
 On another occasion, we were returning from Santa Cruz Island after spending the day celebrating my daughter's birthday with her friends.
My wife and I spotted a tendem kayak with a male and female aboard.
They were struggling to paddle upwind against 20 knot winds and 4' - 5' seas. They were about a 1/2 mile off the east end of the island and 4 miles from their place of origin and destination in an area called windy lane. As with the other couple mentioned above, they were not making any progress toward there destinations. actually losing ground. Anyway, we were able to rescue them and their rented kayak and gear. These were inexperienced tourist from Korea that were warned not to paddle downwind and outside of the protected cove. After delivering the kayakers to the beach, We were on our way home only to discover, via the VHF radio, that there were two more kayakers missing. Apparently they left the beach with the other couple. They did not fare so well. The couple was dashed against the rocks about a mile down the coast. The male survived. The female was eventually rescued by the Coast Guard and airlifted to the hospital where she died.
So, some of the lessons learned here are pretty obvious. 
Be prepared, know your capabilities. Have proper equipment (safety equipment) for your outing. Heed WX advisories and forecast, although I realize we as surfski paddlers do exactly the opposite.
But most of all, in my opinion, don't try to defy mother nature.
If she says "Hey dude I'm not going to let get to where you want to go", find a new destination and go the direction that works. It may be terribly inconvenient, but. chances of survival are greatly increased. 
For example you may be able to paddle down wind to an offshore oil platform or a distant lee shore. Possibly look for a protected cove to hold up in etc.
Anyhow, hope some find this a worthwhile read.
Captain Kirk
The following user(s) said Thank You: Steve Hansen

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