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

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Saanich police took a suspect into custody after a store employee on Cedar Hill Cross Road was assaulted Wednesday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Employee assaulted at Saanich store after asking suspected shoplifters to leave

June 16 incident saw worker taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read