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Distressed kiteboarder a familiar face to rescuers

A kiteboarder in distress brought police, firefighters and paramedics to White Rock's waterfront Wednesday.
A kiteboarder pulled from the waters off of White Rock's East Beach chats with police

A kiteboarder spotted in distress off White Rock's East Beach brought police, firefighters and paramedics to the waterfront Wednesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard issued an appeal for assistance around 2:30 p.m. April 13.

With help from a private vessel, a 60-year-old Langley man was located and transported to safety, said White Rock RCMP Sgt. Joel Glen.

It's unclear why the man was unable to get back to shore; he was exhausted by the ordeal, but not injured, Glen said.

Andrew Newman, a local sea-tour operator who assisted Cpl. Amanda Galenzoski with the rescue, said the kiteboarder told him he'd been drifting in the bay for about 30 minutes. When spotted, he was about a quarter-mile off shore.

Glen noted the incident was not the first time the officer and kiteboarder had crossed paths.

"Back in 2012, the same male required a very similar rescue in the same area," he said.

Newman said the rescue was the second kiteboarder-in-distress incident he's been involved with in a week. The previous Thursday, he helped a man who had been spotted "in the water waving for help" after his kite snapped.

Glen noted the sport has been gaining popularity locally and elsewhere. While other areas, such as Hawaii, boast steady winds to keep the kites up, in the local bay, that's not always the case, he said, and kiteboarders can find themselves unexpectedly stranded.

Even if the wind is there, getting the kite back up is a strenuous task, he said.

"You only have a certain number of tries to get yourself back up, and then you exhaust yourself," Glen said.

Wednesday's kiteboarder was transported to the pier, but declined medical treatment. He "left under his own accord," Glen said.


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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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