marc.ryan.arevalo.near.death.experience.gear.patrol.jpg

GP.EDITORIAL.gifMy last post may have nearly been my last post forever.

This past weekend I went out surfing for the first time since last Fall. The 47 degree water temps warranted a wet suit and gloves. The conditions were perfect for a relatively newcomer to surfing and the waves were about 2.5 to 3 feet high at about 8 seconds apart. There was a nice offshore breeze, and the air temps were in the mid 70’s. Aside from a handful of locals on the shore I was alone in the water. This became a problem when I got caught in a rip..

(read on for the rest of Marc’s near-final post)

I consider my self a pretty strong willed person, managing the stress of my job well and being decidedly paranoid about being prepared. That said, you never know how you’ll react to a situation until you’re in it. So, with the people on shore waving me toward the quickest way out of rip, I ditched my board and decided to swim for it. Besides panicking, that might have been the worst decision I could have done. I knew to swim out of the rip, but I should never have left my board. Like I said, I panicked…

Then I panicked more after realizing the mistake I made.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong swimmer (participated in a triathlon not too long ago), but when you think you’re going to drown, none of that matters. I froze in the water, not knowing how to swim or breath. Less than a mile off shore but paralyzed with fear.

That’s when I calmed myself down. It’s the smartest thing I could have done. You hear countless survival stories of people making the stupidest mistakes, but making it out alive because of their will to live. The rip was not going to take me and I swam back to shore.

Well, this is my story. I refused to drown that day.

It would be remiss of me to admit I did this without help. The Coast Guard Chopper that flew by provided reassurance and the police that offered me aid were all key.

I guess that just leaves one question… what does this mean to you, the Gear Patrol reader? Well, I just want to tell you all to be careful in your adventures. If there’s one thing you can take away from it it’s that if something does go wrong, you should never. Ever. Panic.

It can be the difference between a good story (or post) and an obituary.