I think they did the right thing
Posted by: CapeFear on Jan-11-13 9:19 AM (EST)
From what I could see, there were breaking waves a long way out, so they would be dealing with a longer stretch of breaking waves trying to paddle beyond them. They seem much closer to shore than to open water. But we don't have the clearest picture of what's going on out there. It sounds like they're still in the wind creating the conditions, so at best, you're going out to bigger, fairly steep, whitecapped waves.
The best chance of injury in such a scenario would be trying to manhandle the other kayak and manage a re-entry among breaking waves. If it's safer to get the swimmer and the kayak beyond the breakers, that's fine. But I can't see that as the case here. It's demonstrated that there was no issue getting them separately to shore.
There was no victim in this video. Just a temporary swimmer. When I paddle out with people to play in rough water, I try to make it clear that what you see in the video here is an expectation, not an emergency. I think this attitude leads to more relaxed, thoughtful, less-frantic handling of situations, as you see in the video. People get injured in out-of-control moments. These waves are causing out-of-control moments. No, the paddlers don't appear out of control. But there are moments when the breaking wave is hitting them that they have to then react to what the wave does to them. That's the out-of-control moment. If you've ever been boat on boat in breaking waves, you quickly realize that it should be done out of necessity.
First priority of a rescuer needs to be doing only what you're capable of doing in order to handle the situation. They all seemed quite comfortable, nobody attempted any re-entry procedures beyond their skill level, or representing undue hazard to both boat and paddler, and there was no 2nd or 3rd swimmer added to the situation. I think that's great.