“A Scary Swim”: Sea Kayaker Caught In A Hydraulic (Video)

“The boat and I got washed out. But I got sucked back in.”

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Editor’s note: this story was updated on October 20, 2021, at 7:20 am


n “one of the hairier situations” in his paddling career, this sea kayaker found himself at the mercy of an unpredictable ocean hydraulic that was extremely challenging to swim away from.

The kayaker was out for a paddle north of Rodeo Beach in Marin Country, California when things first went awry. Paddling through a channel that he and his group had paddled through previously that day (without issue), he was caught off-guard by a strange current beneath him.

After missing a brace and then failing to roll, the paddler made the decision to exit his kayak. Now out of his kayak, he quickly realized that he wasn’t free of the hydraulic.

While still maintaining contact with this paddle, his boat was quickly ripped away from him as he desperately reached for something to grab on to–but the water wasn’t through with him yet. He was pummeled around in the nasty-looking pocket hydraulic for over one minute, actively swimming where possible, before another experienced paddler in his group was able to get close enough to perform a rescue.

The rescue was a collaborative effort. “It certainly helps to be in the company of 10 very capable paddlers,” he mentioned in the video comments. “Including one of the most renowned instructors on the US West Coast.”

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