Bad things can happen when you play outside. Of course backcountry skiing and riding have their perils, as does big wave surfing. The rescues in those pursuits can be frightening when things go wrong. But perhaps no sport’s rescues are as gnarly and often as desperate looking as those that happen on rivers, simply because of the helpless feeling that the footage portrays. Kayakers – when they make a mistake – are often trapped in undesirable locations, and rescuers are often unable to reach them due to the nature of certain rivers, where a few feet can feel like a few miles.
Thankfully, Barny Young’s friends had his back, big time. While on the Kokatahi River on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island (rivers that have to be accessed via helicopter), one of the boaters, setting safety at the rapid entrance, sees Barny go into a granite sieve and rushes to his aid. The video was posted to the Facebook page of Pyranha Kayaks, a whitewater kayaking brand out of the UK. The post’s caption was spot on: “If 2020 were a swim…”