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Thread: Floation

  1. #8
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    I guess I should have expected responses like this.

    But I wasn't sure if he was waving for help or just trying to avoid a collision. I was in the middle of a huge set. Had I been taken down I would probably have lost my kit as well. I was sailing at the absolute limits of my own ability and strength. Had I not been driving for four hours (one way!) to get to the beach I would never have launched.

    My sailing mode was to go straight into the shallow after every run to catch my breath while considering if I should risk another go. It was wild! I did't do a single gybe or tack all day. Being able to return from the beach and find him to check if he was ok was highly improbable. The route I take with a super twichy 3.7 and waves breaking all over the place is solely determined by "least resistance". I snake my way through with a minimum of jumping before dropping in and waterstarting ASAP in what looks to be the safest place. One mistake and I would have been rinsed and possibly lost my gear.

    In hindsight: Even if I had been able to find him, what could I have done? In easier condition without a panicking person it would be straight forward. But imagine a strong young man in panic being tumbled together with 58 year old and his wave kit. The classic rescue going wrong involves one person dragging the other one down with both drowning.

    What I should have done is probably to run down the beach to see if I could locate him or his kit. Or alarm other sailors about a possible emergency of someone. But I wouldn't have been able to describe neither the person or kit or his exact whereabouts. I could also have called emergency. But in what order?

    I'll continue to feel bad about this regardless and will certainly react differently next time. Exactly how I'm still not sure. But do anyway also consider using some floatation. Visibility and enough floatation to be able to relax in the water is key.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 13th October 2017 at 12:58 PM.
    The infamous wavewriter

  2. #9
    Senior Member Navegante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boards_Tomas View Post
    An incident today got me thinking. I was out in what's absolute survival conditions for me (gusting well above 40 knots and with some powerful waves) and with my energy levels dropping. I had just turned on the outside and was working hard to stay ahead of a biggie when I saw a guy lying in the water just upwave of me pull his helmet off. It took me some time to locate his kit but it turned out to have been washed some 25 meters downwind which saved me from crashing into it but would also make it hard for him to catch up with. I didn't quite understand why he pulled his helmet off but assumed it was to wave at me with to avoid a collision.

    The situation made me somewhat uneasy but with conditions being very demanding soon forgot about him. He hadn't been more than perhaps 150 meters from the sandy beach.

    To cut the story shorter the man had thought that he was going to drown and had pulled off both his helmet and his hooded vest as he felt he wasn't able to breathe - a panic reaction that must have made matters worse. Luckily for him a skilled kiter had offered him his board for floatation and had towed the two of them in while body surfing.

    For me the question becomes if I should have turned around to check if he was ok. The most obvious answer is yes. But I really didn't have a surplus of energy or concentration to go searching for another sailor. It's also a question of what I could have done. I very much doubt that I would have been able to tow him in. It seems more likely that we would have taken some good rinsing together and with a real risk of him pulling me under in a new panic attack.

    Yes, I do partly write this to try and relieve myself of guilt. But wavesailors ought to ask themselves if an impact vest with a bit of floatation could be helpful both for saving energy, reduce the risk of panicking and to make it easier and less risky for others who may try to give you assistance. I always wear an impact vest myself. I know for fact that the guy in question had no floatation, but I also know that he'll never again venture out in survival conditions without.
    1 at least ask the person how you can help. (He may have had too small a wetsuit? that cosntricted his breathing)
    2 You have a big flotation device, he doesn't. Put down your rig and offer your board as flotation at the very least, someone else may see you both and come to ask. You can both hold on to your gear/board.
    3 if non of the above: you go to the beach and seek help.

  3. #10
    I reckon it was good that you posted this and I understand your reasons, and I understand your motives at the time. But retrospectively, checking him up would have been worth the risk. Now he made it, but his actions (as you described them now, with more info at hand) really do tell of panic and drowning is then not far away. So even though you didn't thought like that then, it was a life and death moment.

    I think the moral of thread is that we should all think things through a bit more when we see someone that seems distressed. In particular without gear.
    Ola H.

    Simmer Style Boards and Sails

  4. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PK1111 View Post
    Brave of you to post Tomas.
    As you state, these were survival conditions, so not easy to always make or implement decisions.
    Thanks for those kind words. The important thing for me is to help others do the right thing, even if it involves exposing my own faults. I did assume that the guy was ok. Incidentally he'd parked his car next to me and told me he had thought he was going drown. That's when I was reminded of the situation.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 13th October 2017 at 03:52 PM.
    The infamous wavewriter

  5. #12
    A good post Deleted at the OP's request
    Last edited by rod; 18th October 2017 at 10:57 PM.
    http://forwards4cowards.blogspot.com/ a blog about looping

    UPDATED Feb 2016

  6. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Navegante View Post
    what a coward comment!

    to delete the thread...
    Obviously no satire at 40 48'N 14 26'E
    http://forwards4cowards.blogspot.com/ a blog about looping

    UPDATED Feb 2016

  7. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Navegante View Post
    1 at least ask the person how you can help. (He may have had too small a wetsuit? that cosntricted his breathing)
    2 You have a big flotation device, he doesn't. Put down your rig and offer your board as flotation at the very least, someone else may see you both and come to ask. You can both hold on to your gear/board.
    3 if non of the above: you go to the beach and seek help.
    That all makes sense Navegante. But when your're trying to escape one of the baddest waves of your life and having just avoided a collision, jumping in to check if everything is fine is easier said than done. The wave I was fleeing was followed by others, and I'm not speaking of lumps but serious waves. I know my own limits, and really shouldn't have been out in the first place. I'm still quite strong but short of breath and energy and not a great swimmer. The only reason I can make it in and out in such conditions, is my ability to avoid mistakes. I find that holding onto gear while being tumbled can be pretty risky. I would also probably be unable to waterstart after a number of good rinses. So I'm prepared to let go of my kit at some point and rely on good gear, including a warm hooded suit with a visible helmet on top, boots and a bright impact vest.

    I'm a coward. But a an honest one.
    The infamous wavewriter

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