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A fleeting glimpse of a silhouette on the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic might have been all that stood between life and death for Scheepers Schoeman (37) from Flamingo Vlei.
Were it not for the lucky sighting by a National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) volunteer, Schoeman might very well have died last week Thursday evening.
He fell off his surfski in rough waters while he was paddling from Milnerton to Big Bay, and when he was finally rescued, was rushed to hospital.
One person said when Schoeman eventually reached the care of awaiting paramedics at Small Bay, his body temperature had dropped to 31 degrees Celsius.
The exhausted surfskier was in a stable, but serious condition and spent the night in hospital, but the next morning he was discharged and is now recovering at home.
He recalls that one of the most persistent thoughts he had while he was struggling in vain to get back onto his surfski, was how there were surely much better ways to spend a Thursday evening.
“It was bloody cold, I can tell you that!”
Schoeman shared his harrowing tale with TygerBurger this week.

The south-easterly was gusting at about 35 knots, but this is generally favourable for surfskiers, who depend on a wind from the back for speed.
A surfski is a long, narrow, lightweight kayak with an open (sit-on-top) cockpit, usually with a foot pedal controlled rudder.
The route from Milnerton to Big Bay is regularly paddled by fellow adventure-seekers.
Schoeman and his friends usually take about 45 minutes to complete the route, but this time destiny had other plans for him.
“Halfway to Big Bay, at Dolphin Beach, which is also the stage of the route where you are probably the furthest from the coast, something hit me from the side and I fell off.”
Unfortunately for him his buddies were just in front of him and never saw that he fell off and was struggling to get back on.
“Every time I got back on the ski, just before I got my balance to put my feet into the footwell, I fell off again… I must have struggled for 20 to 25 minutes.”
That was when he realised that this “simply wasn’t going to happen”.
“I was quickly tiring in the cold water and the other two guys were not coming back. I took out my phone, which was in a waterproof bag, and phoned the NSRI,” he says.
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