Posted by Alex Ferguson on Jun 16, 2004


: Have you ever heard of Sudden Drowning Syndrome? They say (again, in "Deep Trouble") that some paddlers istantly axphysiate due to immersion - or DROWN - because the involuntarily GASP when they hit the cold water.

We had someone drown (cold shock syndrome) about 300 metres away from us in 2002. I was at the computer writing the sea kayaker's guide book to the South Island of New Zealand and my partner was cooking dinner i.e. we weren't looking out at the time. We went through the scenario later and realised we wouldn't have been on the water to do a rescue for over 10 minutes if we'd seen it happen. The idiot had fallen out of a dinghy as he set a net and it was a winter evening. My mother always told me not to stand up in a dinghy.

Further to my "kick-slide-twist" recovery, we were teaching a 12 year old to kayak a few months ago (warmer water) and she instinctively went for that method. She couldn't do the "John Wayne" or sit up on the aft deck despite being a gymnist and having a kayak that she had trouble with capsizing i.e. hard to capsize with her light weight.

Rescues in real situations - do that, had to rescue my partner on Lake Wakatipu, water doesn't get much above 6 degrees C, wind 20+ knots, a few miles of fetch so waves were probably 1/2 a metre, short and sharp. It was a case of "you've got one shot at this, do it right". And we did. From hitting the water to being in the cockpit, probably under a minute, maybe half a minute.


In Response to: BRRRR!! by Kurt Maurer on Jun 15, 2004


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