kayaker-whirlpoolThe buddy system worked out pretty well for Kent Bretzlaff on his recent kayaking trip along the Upper Jalacingo river in Mexico last month. The British kayaker had his GoPro strapped as he shot down the rapids trying to pick up enough speed to, ideally, blow past the dangerous whirlpool at the second drop in the river.

Now about that whirlpool…turns out it’s a rather dangerous hazard for any kayaker who’s unlucky enough to get sucked in (whirlpools do that). And that’s exactly the situation Bretzlaff found himself in for a good two minutes, during which he struggled against the river’s unmerciless pounding and goes under – with his kayak briefly upside down.

Not the best situation for a kayaker to get sucked in to – excuse the pun.

But the buddy system works. He was lucky enough to get a helping hand in the form of a rope thrown to him by a few friends on shore who saw his situation, and after a few tries pulled him out of the whirlpool and on to terra firm with little more than tummy bug from swallowing a little too much of the Jalacingo river.

And where would a kayaker in distress be without is trusty GoPro camera? Bretzlaff had one strapped to his head for a little post-carnage analysis of how best to avoid river whirlpools in the future – and for our viewing pleasure of course! – along with a helmet, rash guard and a cool head during chaos that could have saved his life.

I’m not a kayaker, so not my place to say whether he was at risk of drowning, like the folks at Epic TV claim, but it’s pretty easy to judge this situation from the comfort of an office chair. I’d say it was pretty darn serious for a few moments, but friends and a cool head prevailed. And kayaking the Upper Jalacingo River is probably best left to the pros.