RNLI lifeguards at Hayle Towans had a busy afternoon yesterday rescuing a kitesurfer and a windsurfer in stormy conditions. Both casualties had been caught out by the challenging weather and sea conditions and were in need of urgent assistance in the messy swell.
The first incident happened at about 2pm when a kitesurfer was separated from his equipment and pushed towards a cliff base. Lifeguards were keeping an eye on the kitesurfer, who was about 200m offshore in front of Black Cliff between Hayle Towans and Mexico Towans beaches, when they saw his equipment fail. His safety lines broke and he became detached from his kite and was being pushed towards the base of the cliff in the stormy conditions, which included a three metre messy swell and onshore winds.
RNLI lifeguard Jake Janes responded immediately on a rescue board and paddled out to the scene. He grabbed the man to stop him from going any closer to the cliffs and held him in place while lifeguards Simon Squibb and Mike Cooke launched the inshore rescue boat and headed to their location. Meanwhile lifeguard Tom Bolt stayed at the lifeguard base to maintain communications and patrols of the beach.
The casualty was transferred into the boat and brought back to shore. Jake then retrieved the kitesurfer’s equipment on the rescue board and paddled it back to the beach. Fortunately the casualty, thought to be a local man in his 30s, suffered no injuries and despite being quite shaken, went away unharmed.
Then just before 4.20pm a windsurfer capsized in the difficult conditions on the Hayle side of the estuary, about 150 metres out from the beach. The inexperienced windsurfer had got a line caught around his wrist and as he went down he got caught under his sail.
Lifeguard Tom Bolt responded immediately and could hear the casualty shouting for help as he paddled over to him as quickly as possible. Tom managed to untangle the line and took the man back to shore on the rescue board. The casualty was very shaken but unhurt.
Lifeguard Supervisor James Uren said: ‘The conditions were particularly challenging yesterday for both casualties - the kitesurfer was in a difficult location as the waves were hitting the base of the cliff and rebounding, and the windsurfer was becoming very distressed as he was being hit by waves trying to free himself from under his sail.
‘Fortunately the lifeguards were watching and responded immediately when they saw both of the men in difficulty. As a result neither of them suffered any major injury and required no medical treatment.’
Hayle Towans beach continues to be patrolled by lifeguards until Sunday (30 September).