Today (June 2010) we where out paddling on the weekly Tuesday paddling with the kayak club KF Öresund. It was a beatiful sunny evening weather, but we happened to get an kayak rescue incident with one of the newest members falling into the water. This was more or less good timing for an accident, if accidents can ever happen with good timing. Water is starting to become warm (around 15 degrees). The wind was not blowing too much (around 5 meters per second). The fall occured when almost back at the club harbour, and the member who fell in was well trained in the kayak t-rescue, as was the first kayaker reaching the spot for helping him.
Thus, the nice trip changed to a quick real life practice session in one of the assisted kayak rescue techniques. It all went well, following the school book as well as the training. It also served as a reminder that you can fall in, even though you would not expect it. The club house is situated inside the harbour, and the paddling entrance to the harbour is trickier than the rest of the paddling outside. This is particularly the case whenever the wind is blowing into the harbour opening, which was exactly what it did today. Thus, the waves close to the harbour entrance was trickier to handle then the waves on the rest of the paddling. A day like this, the new kayaker has to turn first parallel to the waves, and after that with the waves in the back to ride them into the harbour.
On the pictures we can see how the kayaker has already fell into the water and performed a wet-exit. Then the kayak is first emptied of water. This is done with the active help of the kayaker in the water (which is a good idea as long as the water is not too cold). On the next picture we see the helper putting the kayaks longsides, with bow to stern in the traditional kayak t-rescue manner. When the kayaks are stabilised like this, the kayaker in the water gets back onto his kayak, lying flat on the stomach, by pulling himself out of the water, utilising the helping kayakers kayak lines for pulling himself up onto the kayaks.
Next step in the rescue technique is that the kayaker get his legs down into his own cockpit. This should be done while still laying flat on the stomach so balance is as good as possible.
Then the kayaker to be rescued turns himself around so he sits up in his own kayak, keeping his weight over the two kayaks as long as possible, using a twisting motion to turn himself around so he becomes sitting up in the normal way without risking the weight to get outside the two kayaks.
It is now time to empty the kayak of water. Although the kayak was turned upside down in the beginning part of the rescue to empty it of water, there is still probably quite an amount of water in the kayak. Also, if the water would have been colder, the part of emptying the kayak from water might have been skipped to minimise the time in water.
Emptying the kayak from water is important. First of all, the kayak becomes more stable the less water is in it. Second, it gives the rescued kayaker some time to calm down. Thirdly, it gives the rescuer the chance to through small talk evaluate the kayakers readiness to continue paddling. Everything was as it should, and when the kayak was water free, we continued into the harbour without more incidents.
These photos are taken on the very same trip, but before the accident happened. This is on the trip out from the harbour. There where quite a lot of kayakers paddling this day and here we can see Anne-Grethe paddling in her Tiderace Xplore-s. A bit further in front, we can see more members of the KF Öresund kayak club.
The colour of Anne-Grethes Tiderace is really matching the settling sun. One hour before, it was raining and blowing, but then the rain settled and we got this beatiful sun.
A lot of people in the club are paddling Tiderace. Here we see an Xplore, paddled by Bengt. we are now on the way back top the club house.
Here we see the new member paddling on his way back to the club house. This is a bit before the entrance to the harbour, so he is not yet out in the waves outside the harbour entrance.