Near shore Rescue/Assistance

5 years 7 months ago #15458 by smilicus
Hello Guys

About two weeks back, we had a surfki paddler in a bit of a sticky situation near shore (200/300m or so) with the wind pumping. He tried out a new surfski (intermediate ski) all by himself and seem to struggle staying upright - swimming a lot.

After an 45min out in the bay we could see he could not remount, since the wind and swell had picked up and the ski being to tippy for him. We were the only paddlers out there and one went to assist the guy. I had just busted a rudder cable, so only one of us went out to help. We did get him back on dry land after a while, but it was a mission.

Problem:
1. He was to exhausted to get on his ski or actually swim
2. One can not paddle and hold on to another surfski
3. stability is hampered if someone hangs on the back of your ski.

So my question - what is needed to help a guy and his surfski get back onshore? Not that I want to start a surfski lifesaving group or anything, but is the need arises again. Bear in mind, close to shore, not off shore.

I know the fisrt thing to do is phone NSRI since they are better equip to handle this. But if they are awhile out, what can you do and how?

Would a short line work for a simple tow? Maybe anchored to the back of your PFD (paddler) and then to the footwell of the down surfski with the paddler hanging on to the ski in tow?

Any ideas?

P.S> Just asking for if the NSRI is not nearby and the need arises.

Regards

Smilicus
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Everyday's an Adventure

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5 years 7 months ago - 5 years 7 months ago #15459 by Nige
Hi Smilicus,

I've had experience with rescuing a ski which a paddler has lost, and the way to do it is to put one foot in the other ski's footwell and keep your other foot in your own ski. You can then paddle both skis side by side. Its not easy to get a decent stroke in across the other ski, but you can make reasonable progress over a shortish distance.

I've also had experience with giving another paddler a ride on the back of my ski. He basically straddled my ski with his hands holding the sides of the bucket and with his legs partially in the water to keep his balance. Again, its slow and not too easy but it is possible.

Putting the two scenarios above together, maybe its possible to have the exhausted paddler straddle both skis while you paddle them? Could be worth testing out!

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5 years 7 months ago #15462 by robin.mousley
Nasty one.

I had a situation a couple of years ago when I lost my ski in surf near Melkbos. We'd just done a Milnerton to Melkbos in about 30kt and we cut the corner and I got taken out in the kelp at Melkbos, about 300m from shore.

My ski disappeared in the direction of the Koeberg Power Station (recovered it, smashed 2 days later) and I was left with a long swim. A friend tried to give me a lift on the back of his ski, but it was totally uncontrollable, and simply weathercocked into the wind no matter what we tried. I ended up swimming - a long way in cold water.

So it depends - if the wind is either offshore on onshore, you might be able to put the guy, lying flat on the back deck. But if it's 30kt parallel to the shore, as in my case, you're not going to be much help to the swimmer. You can stay with him though and try to get as much of his body out of the water onto your ski to slow down the onset of hypothermia.

I'd try hard to get him back onto his ski first though - as Nige says, you can then raft together, giving the casualty help to stay upright and then you can paddle, one on either side... maybe.

Call for the NSRI early though - they'd prefer to have been called prematurely and then told that the situation was resolved than to be called too late.

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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5 years 7 months ago #15465 by Kocho
Here's an informal rescue practice session we did some time ago. No waves but lots of wind...



Riding on the rear of the ski did not seem to be an issue. Riding on the front is another option (the "victim") is in this case face-up under the bow rather than on top, but having the person on the back deck worked better in most cases...

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5 years 7 months ago #15518 by davewilson
Interesting video and topic what happens if its 2k off the coast and in waves, Once I towed a ski a few k back to shore we joined two leg leashes, they weren't quite long enough so as a wave came through the ski behind me would be pushed up alongside its nose at my body height it was a bit dodgy. I've got 4 metres of 2mm spectra in my kit now but most times don't stuff it in the mocke. Is a towline a reasonable item for the safety gear kit offshore?

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5 years 7 months ago #15520 by owenfromwales
Many years ago we had an incident where a paddler had gone out into the main channel with stronger wind and bigger waves. In no time she was in the same situation as the guy at the beginning of this thread. Fortunately we could see this from the surf club. We decided to take off after her on a double ski. Once we got to her my mate hopped on her ski and she sat on the back of the double and we were able to get back easily. On my own it would have been totally different and we were lucky to have the choice of craft easily at hand. If you`re already on the water, it maybe possible swap skis with the paddler who is out of his depth, in both ways, if someone has a more stable ski (and is able to paddle the tippier boat back).
The lesson here must be to take small steps when trying to up your ability and to have a back up plan if stuff hits the fan.
As a timely reminder to the importance of safety, here`s a blog account (scroll down a bit for the English) about a kayaking tragedy this week in Tokyo:
realdiscovery-geoquest.blogspot.jp/

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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5 years 7 months ago #15541 by Kocho
Most sea kayak tow lines are 50' or even longer, to allow spacing b/w boats. A tow line is pretty much a mandatory safety gear in open water (as is a PFD and other items that sea kayakers usually have but surf skiers almost never carry)... Of course, waves will make everything more difficult, but practice helps and having several options to chose from makes a difference. You would not want to tow through surf, even small one. The fragility and lack of attachment points of the surfski also make it tricky to attach the tow lines and to assist in rafting-up two or more skis together (a classic way for several sea kayakers to deal with rough situations and an incapacitated paddler).

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5 years 7 months ago #15551 by EK Sydney
An easier swimmer rescue is to get the paddler in the water to wrap their arms and feet around your bow and 'hug' it. You have a lot more control over the boat and you can see them, and it's way less destabilising.

At least around where I paddle most months of the year the air will make the paddler colder than the sea, so if its not a massive distance they'll be fine hanging on while you get to shore.

I do wonder why so few ski manufacturers have any form of anchor point for a towline, either to mount it or to attach. If I'm taking a demo paddle out I always have to think through how I'm going to manage a rescue if something goes wrong, using a waist mounted tow system. It's fine on boats like the V8 with a bow attachment point, but the more advanced the ski, the less the attachment points.

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5 years 7 months ago #15554 by Rod Thomas

owenfromwales wrote: As a timely reminder to the importance of safety, here`s a blog account (scroll down a bit for the English) about a kayaking tragedy this week in Tokyo:
realdiscovery-geoquest.blogspot.jp/


Thanks Owen for posting this sad news. If there is a followup report, wont you post it? Rod

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