I recently started surfski paddling again. At each of the races I have participated in so far there has been the watchful presence of a dedicated NSRI crew. I have commented to friends and family how comforting it is to know that we are being looked after so well in the water.
On Sunday I took part in the New Balance Surfer’s Challenge at Kommetjie. I was bringing up the rear of the field, and had not really even noticed the Station 26 crew patiently shadowing me as I paddled my way back in to shore. I wiped out on a run, got tangled in my new leash, and then failed in my first attempt to remount my ski. Seeing me in difficulty, the crew were close at hand in a calm few seconds, and the crewman was in the water and at my side before I had time to even begin worrying. He steadied my ski so I could get back in.
Whilst I do not feel I was in any real danger at that point, cold water and a rough ocean along with tired muscles are not a combination I am comfortable playing with, and I was happy to have all risk removed from the situation. I will not lie: I am also petrified of sharks, and the idea of floating around a kilometre out to sea for any length of time does not appeal even to my “advanced” sense of fun.
My shouted “thanks guys” as I paddled off is nowhere near appreciation enough for the amazing skill the crew displayed in reading and handling the situation.
I have so much admiration and appreciation for all involved. I have made a small donation to Station 26, and I have joined the NSRI. You can make a donation, too, as well as become a member here: http://www.nsri.org.za.
Follow them on their Facebook Page to get an idea of the amazing work they are performing on a day-to-day basis.
I would also like to thanks the organisers of the event for seeing to our safety.