Having written yesterday about how to prevent hypothermia when paddling in surf, I realize now there is also another side of this story:

When one of your buddy's exited from the kayak and is swimming, not able to do a re-entry, he or she MUST get help to arrive as fast as possible to shore again!

Having heard a story that someone has to swim for 10 minutes to reach shore, OK - with 2 kayaks nearby but being bone-cold at the end and not being able to paddle anymore that day, I thought this was not the safest, best approach of the helpers.

So here I am going again; brainstorming about what the helpers can do to get a swimmer out of the water fast:

  • They can take the swimmer on the back-deck. If there is a seakayak at the spot, this is easy.
  • Wearing a towing-line they can tow the kayak+swimmer to shore. Be awarer to prevent the kajak to hit you on your back because of a wave,
  • Also without a towingline the swimmer can be towed when grabbing a toggle at the helpers kayak.
  • This means that a single-lined-toggle is essential on each surfing kayak as well.
  • When the surf is not very severe, or when the swimmer is outside the surfzone, an X-rescue can be performed. Even an X-rescue without emptying the kayak can be a tremendous help because paddling a waterlogged kayak gets half of the body of the swimmer out of the water and he might be able to reach shore faster as well. Having enough buoyancy in the kayak (in front and back-end) is essential now!
  • When the helper´s kayaks are not suited to a backdeck passenger, the swimmer can climb onto two kayaks,laying next to each other, choosing the spot on the two spraydecks before the paddlers. I am aware that this is not easy in severe surf, but as a final try this could be tried. This way to shore is less fast, but the swimmer is out of the water and loosing less warmth.
  • Who has more ideas? : ...................

Another thing to prevent hypothermia should also be:

  • Don´t paddle out too far at sea when you don´t have a bombproof roll.