Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)

VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

A Kelowna surfskier is warning people to be careful after she managed to rescue a kayaker on Okanagan Lake.

Sally Wallick, a competitive swimmer and surfskier, said she was out for a paddle on the lake a week and a half ago.

The day started out beautiful and the water was flat. It was perfect for kayaking.

“It was super sunny, clear skies. Then the wind turned very fast,” she said.

Being a strong swimmer, Wallick felt confident enough to be out despite the wind and rough water. She continued to surfski and from time to time, noticed something far out in the water.

“I was actually ready to turn back but I kept seeing something in the water. It was really hard to see with the waves, and it didn’t even dawn on me that it would be a person.

“I was just curious what it was, so I paddled out. Even 50 metres out, I couldn’t tell what it was but I kept paddling towards it and realized it was a guy and his kayak was capsized,” Wallick said.

Wallick said when she got to the kayaker, it seemed he had been in the water for quite a while.

“He looked like he was past the point of panic, which was concerning. His lips were purple and he seemed disoriented,” she said.

“I was just trying to stay calm and talk to him and give him clear instructions.”

Wallick tried to get the man aboard her surfski but he had a hard time getting out of the water, so she had him cling to the front of her kayak, then told him to kick in the water to keep warm. At one point, Wallick said he started closing his eyes and she knew he was close to losing consciousness.

She spotted a pontoon boat and began yelling for help.

“They came over to us and I told them to call 911. They pulled him out of the water and stayed with me until I got back on my boat.”

Wallick said she wants people to understand that the lake can be dangerous. One minute it can be calm and flat but the next it could be windy and full of whitecaps.

“The water is still cold during this time of the year, and winds are incredibly unpredictable and the water can change in five to ten minutes,” she said.

“Be prepared because the water changes fast. Have a cellphone, wear a lifejacket, and let people know where you’re going.”

She said if you’re able, go out on the water with someone else. If that’s not possible, always let others on the shore know what you’re up to.

The last thing Wallick wants to say is keeping yourself safe keeps others safe.

“Once you put yourself in danger, you’re putting other people in danger as well. A rescue in the middle of the lake is not easy and especially if other people out there don’t know the steps to take,” she said.

“Luckily I knew enough, but I’m sure I could have done a few things differently as well.”

The man Wallick helped got in touch with her recently, and she said he didn’t sustain injuries and is doing well.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The residents of Abbeyfield House. (Contributed)
Stephanie Sollows – backbone of Abbeyfield

Sollows has been working at the home for almost a decade

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Most Read