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

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Shanna Ramm of Mosaic is the first person to graduate with a Bachelor of Disability Management from Pacific Coast University-Workplace Health Sciences. Her convocation took place virtually on Dec. 1, 2020. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
PROGRESS 2021: Pacific Coast University celebrates with milestones

Alberni institution earns $6M return-to-work grant from province

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read