Sean Thompson to the Facebook group: Melkbosstranders
End of day
I am so glad that I was around to witness the sunset last night – The beach was quiet and I was in the water at tube wave shooting. A father , his daughter and son were surfing in the shore break in front of me. The dad moved outside of me and was trying to catch a wave which I doubted would happen – he never had fins on and the waves were feathering on the outside and reforming for the shore break close in to the beach.
To cut a long story short I saw that he was potentially getting himself into an uncomfortable situation so shadowed him from closer in as he drifted down the beach. It wasn’t long before the rip got him and he tried in vain to paddle into waves. After repeatedly shouting to him if he was okay he confirmed that he was not in control.
I got out the water and ran up the beach to fetch one of the new pink NSRI flotation devices from the pole and asked some one to call the NSRI – I ran back down the beach , asked his daughter, and son to sit on the beach and keep my camera and housing so that I could fetch their dad. Another chap (the one I asked to call the NSRI) with fins and a handsurfing board came down to help me in the fading light. We managed to get him out and back to the beach just as the NSRI arrived. Their response time was really good
Lesson to be learnt:
Look after those pink devices on the poles- it might be you who is in need of it one day ( I saw a clip where some young guys stole one in J Bay)
Be aware of the rips – they are unpredictable and take you so quickly ( been there done that)
Keep an eye out for other water users –
Make sure you have observed the water before just going out – as benign as Melkbos beach seems- those rips can get heavy quickly
Don’t venture out of your comfort zone
If you get into trouble try and wave to people to signal as such ( This chap didnt)
Dont fight the rip – we panic and forget this but there is an exit point at a rip – I was trying to tell him to paddle sideways , instead he kept trying to paddle straight back into it –
I also observed two young girls, maybe 4 years old playing in knee deep water earlier in the day – there was quite a push and the one girl was knocked off her feet and washed up the sand. The mother/ parents were sitting way up on the grass bank chatting. These incidents happen so quickly – caution is the watch word
As I walked back up the beach before taking this image , I watched as the emotional kids went to their dad as he left the water – I am so glad it was emotion of relief..not other