Coast Guard rescues kitesurfer

Man unable to reach shore

PORT ANGELES — A Coast Guard crew has plucked a distressed extreme-watersports enthusiast from Port Angeles Harbor near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The adult male Port Angeles resident, whose name was unavailable Thursday, was wearing a wetsuit but not a personal flotation device while kitesurfing late Wednesday afternoon, Petty Officer Michael Clark, a U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Seattle spokesman, said Thursday.

A kitesurfer skims across the water by standing on a small surfboard and is propelled by holding onto the strings of a large kite or piece of cloth, according to dictionary.cambridge.org.

A passerby on Ediz Hook reported seeing the man flailing in the water near the U.S. Coast Guard station to the 9-1-1 Peninsula Communications dispatch center at 5:41 p.m. Wednesday, according to the call-for-service log at cityofpa.us.

PenCom reported it to the Coast Guard, Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said Thursday.

Clark said a Coast Guard crew aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium rescued the man 15 minutes later about 250 yards from shore.

“There was an apparent equipment malfunction or operating error and while operating [in] an extreme sport, he entered the water,” Clark said.

“Fortunately, he was in the immediate vicinity of the station.”

On its Facebook page, the sheriff’s department frequently cautions kayakers, paddleboarders and other watersports enthusiasts to wear flotation devices.

“I would never paddleboard without a life jacket,” King said.

He said a kayak can weigh more than 800 pounds due to water displacement.

“It wants to go right to the bottom,” he said.

“Whether you’re paddleboarding or on a boat, if you don’t have a life jacket on, good luck.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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