Saturday, July 29, 2006

Me Kayak Brave, You Squall

After some research, seems like I figured out what happened that day the wind blew like no other. I didnt know any better.


A squall or squall line is an organized line of thunderstorms. It is classified as a multi-cell cluster, meaning a thunderstorm complex comprising many individual updrafts. They are also called multi-cell lines. Squalls are sometimes associated with hurricanes or other cyclones, but they can also occur independently. Most commonly, independent squalls occur along front lines, and may contain heavy precipitation, hail, frequent lightning, [b]dangerous straight line winds[/b], and possibly funnel clouds, tornadoes and waterspouts.

In the Pacific Northwest, [b]a squall is a short but furious rainstorm with strong winds, often small in area and moving at high speed, especially as a maritime term[/b].

The term "squall" can also refer to a sudden wind-speed increase. To be called a squall, the wind must increase at least 18 miles per hour (8 meters per second) and must attain a top speed of at least 25 miles per hour (11 metres per second), lasting at least a full minute in duration.

It is also useful to be familiar with the Beaufort Wind Scale when kayaking and boating.


According to the book Sea Kayak: Safety and Rescue, at Force 8, when the wind is between 34 and 40 knots, kayak conditions are extremely difficult, boat control a problem and kayak to kayak rescues improbable.

At Force 9, 41-47 knots, these are full gale conditions and for most paddlers it will be a fight for survival.

If anyone is interested about paddling and surviving such conditions, the quoted book is real good about not only avoiding danger, but also dealing with them. Sad to say, I hadnt read the WIND chapter before my own personal experience.


Monday, July 24, 2006

What another guy in the area had to say.....

Posted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:55 pm Post subject: Malibu weather on Sunday


Hey Bing, so glad you guys made it in okay. My Buddy and I were out there also, but the lightning made us turn tail and get the --- off the water. We wanted to wait until the front moved through and then get back on the water, but when those hurricane force winds picked my fully loaded kayak up off the sand and rolled it down the beach we knew this was no typical wind. Never seen anything like it. I kept looking around for a funnel cloud. We saw two kayaks out there earlier and hoped that everyone got off the water before that rolled in. People on the beach were running for cover and coolers loaded with ice were blowing down the street. Again, I'm glad you guys are okay.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Strange Malibu weather....

Launched pretty late and got in the water around 9am with my friend Paul. Was a so-so day catching some rock fish, sandies and calicos. Nothing special, mostly shorts and a couple of legals, all released. Nothing special, but something was strange. The weather was freaky. Early in the day, we watched some gnarly thunderstorms in the distance. At times, twin bolts of lighting traversed the skyline and hit the horizon. Over and over. We actually started taking pics of the phenom. Towards noon, the wind turned chilly and as I was wearing rash guard shirt and pants, I started to shiver. I told Paul that I may want to head back. Paul said that he wanted to stay for an hour or two more. Ok. As I was cold, I lost my drive to fish. Just tossed a swimbait every now and then while I managed my proximity to the launch point. From the beginning, the wind was blowing north to south. We had paddled north so that the wind would drift us back to our launch point. By the time we were back at the launch point the wind picked up to around 20-25 miles. I could hear my line whistle in the wind. I continued to toss the swimbait but the wind was just getting to me. I motioned to Paul that I was heading back in and then, the proverbial shit hit the fan. We had drifted south of the launch point with the wind blowing north to south. It took us 30 minutes to paddle 150 yards under a strong head wind. I went past the launch point a couple hundred feet to give me time to stow my gear and still end up adjacent to the launch point. I leashed my rods, put my reels in the hull of the yak as well as all other tackle. In a span of a couple of minutes, the wind kicked up to 35 mph but now it was going south to north. At this point it was a struggle to get back to shore. In a few more seconds, the wind went to a blistering 50 mph (that’s what Paul thinks, me thinks it was 70 mph) GOING THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. The chop came at a frequency of every 10 inches with white caps. I couldn’t even hold the kayak pointed to the wind. It kept pushing me sideways. Then, KERSPLASH, I tipped over. The wind was so strong; it picked up one side of my kayak and tipped it over. I had detached my paddle from its leash in preparation for landing and was now worried about losing it. I put my attention to leashing it back again when I noticed Paul coming to my side, He braced my yak with his paddle allowing me to get back on fast. Whooosh, the wind was howling now as if we were in a hurricane and water was hitting me on the face with great force. I started to paddle back to shore but my kayak once again started to turn its side to the wind. There was no way to make headway in such a strong wind. We were actually just holding our place in the water if not drifting back, all the while paddling like mad. My paddles were creating so much drag that it was twisting me at the waist. Again the wind won and my kayak found it side to the wind. Down I went again into the water. This time, I got tangled in something and was briefly trapped under my yak. Blub, blub blub, OK, I thought to myself, this is getting serious. I got back above the water but had trouble breathing as the wind was washing chop into my mouth and nose. Later on I realized that I was actually trapped by my right leg/thigh strap. I found the eyelet torn off its rivets to which the strap was hooked onto. I probably tore it off in the adrenaline rush. I don’t know were Paul was at this point but I did hear “Is your gear ok?” to which I responded “I don’t care about the gear”. I did my deep water entry routine and got back on. I was in near panic at this point as my hull had nothing against gale force winds. Then Paul shouted to me to put me legs out and hang them outside the yak for balance. He then coaxed me to paddle in said manner and shouted “head for shore!”. Having the senses knocked out of me, I took his words as the voice of salvation and did everything he said. I paddled with legs out, head down and body tucked leaning my body out of the yak opposite the direction of the wind. Slowly we made our way to shore, across the wind and into the breakers. Paul was guiding me all the way, PADDLE PADDLE PADDLE. As I approached shore, I saw a Malibu couple running straight to us knowing that we had been in trouble. I gunned for shore as strong as I can and beached my Mango nightmare. The guy came and pulled my yak from shore as I crept on the sand. SAFE!

Total damage, lost my hat to the wind and toasted my cell phone due to a cheapy wally world drybag. I cant wait for La Jolla.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Got me my first toad calico bass!