Coast Guard Rescues Hawaii Hopeful Kayaker From Violent Waves 70 Miles Off of California Coast

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: Noel Hendrickson/ Getty Images)

The US Coast Guard saved a kayaker 70 miles off the Santa Cruz shores that hoped to travel from California to Hawaii.

Maybe a little overambitious…Cyril Derreumaux has big dreams of completing a solo kayaking mission from California to Hawaii. Although only 70 miles into his nearly 2,400 miles journey, he was rescued by the US Coast Guard.

Derreumaux is no amateur kayaker, however. According to SF Gate, he is a Bay Area adventurer and Guinness World Record holder. The kayaker began his journey at 5 a.m. on May 31 from Travis Marina near the Golden Gate Bridge. He has hopes of reaching Honolulu in 70 days.

His dreams quickly turned into a nightmare when Derreumaux sent out a distress signal on Sunday evening.

On Facebook, he recounts the events, saying the weather condition turned on him.

Derreumaux wrote that ocean conditions on Saturday evening were rough but manageable. However, that changed around 9 p.m. “when my ground crew told me that they had lost the AIS signal for 3 hours. I then [noticed] that my navigation system has lost the GPS signal and couldn’t recover it.”

Kayaker Faces Trouble in Unpredictable Waves

In addition, the kayaker realized that technology wasn’t the only problem Derreumaux was facing. His boat was also too small up against the massive waves.

“In a few moments, my kayak was positioned almost parallel to the axis of the waves, and I found myself violently tossed from side to side, along with all the equipment that was stored in the cabin,” he wrote. “Attempts to get out to more accurately assess the condition of the sea anchor and to resolve the issue were unsuccessful and resulted in water entering my cabin.”

The US Coast Guard for the Pacific Southwest region posted videos to their social media of the rescue.

The experienced kayaker writes that the decision to end the voyage and call the Coast Guard for help was a difficult choice for him.

“As night had just fallen, it was clear that the situation was not sustainable: Inability to eat, drink, sleep, communicate easily with my team ashore,” he wrote. “With my land support crew, we then reported the situation I was in to the US Coast Guard to jointly explore all possible options.”

Pulled to Safety

Over two hours after the rescue team deployed from San Francisco’s air station, they pulled Derreumaux to safety. Officials note he was in “good condition with no medical concerns.”

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll, a Coast Guard spokesperson, explains how even “experienced mariners” can run into issues with an unpredictable ocean.

“Recognizing that the situation was beyond his capabilities and calling for assistance allowed our crews to reach him in time for a successful rescue,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kroll. “This shows that even experienced mariners with proper safety equipment can get into trouble on the ocean, which is why having the right equipment and knowing when and how to use it is so important.”

The kayaker still has his eyes on the voyage to Hawaii at some point. Best of luck on your travels!