By Fitz Cahall, Video still by Byran Smith.
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“The most intimidating feature for any swimmer, is real swirly, really deep whirlpools,” says professional kayaker and guide Paul Kuthe. “They have a tendency to hold you under water for a long time.”
To exploratory kayakers such as Kuthe, whirlpools sit at the top of the list of why swimming—kayaking parlance for coming out of a boat—through a surging tidal race could be hazardous. As Kuthe and his group of friends began applying whitewater kayaking techniques to sea kayaking, they had to accept that errant paddle strokes would result in swims through some of the ocean’s most turbulent sections.