It was October 2014 and I was enjoying a holiday in Fuertaventura with friends and family. We decided to rent a car, and as we were driving around on one of the days we came across the most beautiful secluded beach I had ever seen in an area called Cofete.
The waves in the sea were huge and coming from different directions. A friend and I thought it looked like great fun so we decided to take a lilo into the water, hug one end each and ride the waves. Before we knew it, the waves had taken us further and further away from the shore but by the time we realised that we were far out and should make our way back a massive wave hit us and I was thrown off the lilo and taken under the water by the current. I resurfaced and that's when panic hit.
"Twice I came to the decision that I was going to die there and then"
I tried desperately to swim back to the shore but I just kept getting pulled back under the water and spun around violently like I was in a washing machine, until I couldn't hold my breath any longer. Twice I came to the decision that I was going to die there and then. I was terrified.
Just as I went to take a breath I was spat out on top of the water again. I was constantly trying to swim forward but was getting nowhere. Fatigue set in and I started to get more and more tired. This lasted for 45 minutes.
Eventually I got spat out onto a sandbank and managed to feel the sand with my feet. My friend had managed to get back and alerted my family and friends that I was in trouble.
My girlfriend and a Spanish man who was on the beach with his family risked their lives to help me get the rest of the way to shore. They had to get behind me and push me forward because I had no energy to move myself. They said I looked almost see-through.
As soon as they pulled me to shore and I realised I was safe, I sat down and started throwing up as the realisation set in that I had almost died. It just looked like fun and I just didn't realise the dangers at the time.
I was a confident swimmer and learnt as a kid. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. It had a real serious effect on me for quite a while afterwards. I was very down for a long time and couldn't understand why it happened and struggled to move forward from it. I couldn't even have a bath for a long time afterwards because it brought on panic attacks.
There were no warning signs on the beach and no lifeguards. I have since researched riptides, what they are and how to avoid them. I try to warn people of the dangers as I had no idea before it happened to me. I even did a presentation at work about it. People need to be aware of the dangers. I was very lucky to make it out alive.
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Posted: 1/13/2017 11:53:06 AM