May 4, 2017

"The wind and water was just relentless... It got to the point where my paddling was ineffective, but I was doing it to keep myself warm."

"It was incredibly lonely and quiet because there was just nothing - just waves... I hadn't seen any helicopters.... I was thinking I was going to die - I was almost convinced... I didn't think I would see sunrise."

Said the surfer who was dragged 13 miles off the Argyll coast, rescued after 32 hours.


MadisonMan said...

Who paid for the rescue? Maybe they should tax surf boards.

tcrosse said...

If you play in those waters, you're going to need a bigger boat.

David Begley said...

Wouldn't the water be very cold?

tcrosse said...

Wouldn't the water be very cold?

The water is deathly cold in that neighbourhood. He probaby wore a wetsuit.

traditionalguy said...

He looks for sure like a Scotsman. And he endured it like Eric the Red who made it all the way to Iceland and Greenland. The Scots are Norwegian Vikings by ancestry.

gspencer said...

Surfing in Scotland?


Scotland, where the winds are incessant, and the water is never warm.

Do they have mental health facilities there?

Bob Boyd said...

According to NPR
"When Matthew Bryce paddled out into the cold surf off the west coast of Scotland, he was clad in a thick, neoprene wetsuit — gear that would stand him in good stead for a solid surf session Sunday. But at less than an inch thick, that material may not have seemed the most important bit of equipment the 22-year-old surfer brought with him.
As it turns out, that wetsuit helped save his life."

Coast Guard spokesman said, ""He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea."

Surfer Bryce was quoted as saying, "Thank God I'm an Althouse reader, so shorts were out of the question."

St. George said...

10 Key Mental Attitudes That Separate Those Who Survive Extreme Situations (From Those Who Die)

1 Accept the reality of your situation. See opportunity, even good, in your situation.
2 Stay calm. Use humor. Use fear to focus.
3 Think. Analyze. Plan. Get organized. Set up small, manageable tasks.
4 Take correct decisive action. Be bold and cautious.
5 Celebrate your successes.
6 Count your blessings.
7 Play. Use the deeper activities of the intellect to stimulate, calm, and entertain the mind.
8 See the beauty.
9 Believe that you will succeed. Make no more mistakes. Be very careful. Do your very best. Know that you will prevail if you do those things.
10 Surrender. And put away the pain.
11 Do whatever is necessary.
12 NEVER GIVE UP. Let nothing break your spirit. There is always one more thing you can do.

"Deep Survival," Laurence Gonzales

Owen said...

(1) St. George: great book, great quote.

(2) I question if this dude's wetsuit was "less than inch thick." How about "about [ ] mm" where [ ] is maybe 7?

(3) Why not tell surfers they will be searched for on the basis of an EPIRB or emergency GPS beacon? And advise them that, after they drop $$$ on their sport, they can spend another $2-3-400 for the survival beacon thing?

William said...

Yet another argument for the joys of stamp collecting.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Talk about not catching a wave. "He added that he would not be surfing again."

Expat(ish) said...

@owen - a 7mm wetwsuit is actually different thicknesses in different places (back of knees is thinner than the upper back, for example) so the convention is the thickest part. In SCUBA it is always in mm. For comparison, when I am diving in 55-65 degree water I wear a 6mm suit and am always cold.

Also, I kayak (in the Gulf) and always wear a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). We call it the $10K "come and get me" beacon because that's what it costs to have the coast guard come pull you out of the drink. This is true only outside the CONUS as our coast guard is a "free" service. In Europe you can also buy insurance for this sort of thing.


Bad Lieutenant said...

Which Gulf?

That sounds like a ridiculous price. Oh I'm sure there's backing but I would think it could be done for less, certainly if you have a nice beacon to find you with. Run out a drone with a life raft.

Larry J said...

That sounds like a ridiculous price.

Helicopters are quite expensive to operate and maintain. Add in the crew costs and the numbers get big quickly.

Njall said...

traditionalguy said...
He looks for sure like a Scotsman. And he endured it like Eric the Red who made it all the way to Iceland and Greenland. The Scots are Norwegian Vikings by ancestry.

I assume you didn't mean this is such an all-inclusive way, but then you shouldn't have stated it as such. The Scots, in fact, have a complex ancestry, Norse mainly to the north and northwest, Gaelic to the west and north, Pictish in the center, Saxon and Norman in the south, and even British (in the ancient, akin to Welsh etc., sense) in the southwest.

But I share your admiration for him, and his survival. A film related to the topic, both for survival in the sea & for the Norse connection, is The Deep (Iceland, 2012), based on the true story of an Icelandic modern-day fisherman who survived at sea along under miraculous conditions.

MaxedOutMama said...

"He added that he would not be surfing again."

Owen said...

Expat(ish): thanks for info. I was guessing from memory on thickness but I then checked: looks as if 6 mm is the thickest that is widely available? Agree on variable thickness, you can't have it so bulky at the joints that it wears you out just bending it.

A flat $10K rescue charge sounds like a helluva deal. Consider the alternatives, like the one that almost took this guy's life AFTER wasting God knows how much search-and-rescue resource in a fruitless quest.

Maybe with drones the S&R load can be reduced. Have a mother bird with humans aboard; have it deploy a half-dozen drones to run a grid. Even "toy" drones now come with 4K video, and I bet the Coast Guard could get itself some pretty good classified software to identify objects of interest against an ambiguous background. So the mother bird, with say 2 drone bosses each handling 2-3 drones, could do the work of several traditional helicopters. In worse conditions: if you lose a drone, it's a budget hit, it's not another funeral.

Maybe this dude in Scotland can try to repay the search authorities by doing lectures and donating proceeds to their maintenance and training budget...

Expat(ish) said...

@owne/@badlootie -

I think the $10K is probably a low number.

IIRC a 'copter is $1K-$2K/hour to operate in consumables/maint and the cost is similar for a fixed wing craft. So a few hours of search and you hit $10K pretty fast.

I read a story once about a rescue near the Shetland islands and something like 200 coasties/staff were involved but it was quite clear that person-power was not a line item on the final bill to pluck some day-sailor out of 15 foot waves (!!).

I do know that if your boat goes "blurp" out in the Gulf of Mexico (where I kayak) the towing charge is near a grand, depending on how far out you are, etc. Towing Insurance ($150-$200/year) is very popular for boaters.


Steven Wilson said...

On a trip to the north of Ireland and Northern Ireland last year, I saw scores of surfers enjoying the waves along that coast. And yes, all of them did wear wetsuits. Due to the Gulf Stream drift, the water is warmer than you might think, but it's still a lot colder than the water ordinarily associated with surfing.

surfed said...

The Scottish wave at Thurso is beyond world class. I wish I still had the skills to surf it at size. In 52 years of surfing I've seen a lot of crazy shit - helicopter rescues by the dozens (Wiamea Bay, on the north shore of Ohau), people swept out to sea and myself swimming an hour in a hurricane swell to get back to the beach which I promplty kissed and thanked a deity I dont really believe on for sparing my life. It's an uncompromising sport - you can die quite easily and often.

London Girl said...

The surf all along the west coast of the British isles is world class. But, yes, the weather is challenging. On the other hand the beaches aren't crowded. I guess people do it because there actually isn't an enormous amount of warm climate surfing in Europe. The med is basically a gigantic pond.