Surfski Paddler Dies at Sea – Port Elizabeth

Thursday, 03 September 2009 06:52 | Written by 
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Surfski Paddler Dies at Sea – Port Elizabeth

3 September 2009, Port Elizabeth, South Africa: The body of 37-year-old Barry Guy Marshall was recovered from the sea 10nm off Port Elizabeth according to NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon.


Reported Missing

Marshall had gone for a paddle at about midday on Wednesday, but the alarm was only raised when he failed to return from a meeting at ten o'clock that evening. 

His wife and friends started a search and found his car near MacArthur Swimming Bath at midnight and alerted the police who in turn contacted the NSRI when it became apparent that Marshall had gone for a paddle during the day.

After an intensive air and sea search, his surfski was discovered at midday on Thursday, about 12nm (20km) out to sea.  His body was found a little while later, 2nm (3.7km) away from the ski.

"He was wearing a PFD, T-shirt and baggies," said NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon.  "He had no other safety equipment with him."

Earlier Call-out

Earlier in the day, the NSRI had been called out by an eyewitness at Pollock Beach who had reported a paddler apparently in difficulties.  The search was called off some hours later when no sign of a distressed paddler could be found, and no vehicle was found abandoned at the usual surfski launch sites. 

"At this stage we cannot tell if the two incidents were related," commented Lambinon.


At the time Marshall set off a strong (25kt/50kph) wind was blowing directly offshore.  The water temperature was about 16C.

Marshall is survived by his wife and two young children.

[Editor: I'm sure we speak for all paddlers around the world in offering the Marshall family our sincere condolences. 

I'd also like to take this opportunity to urge paddlers to take precautions when venturing offshore alone including:

  • Use a leash
  • Take a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch
  • Take flares
  • Make sure someone knows where you're going and what time you should be back.

Click here for more on safety, and helping rescuers to find you.]