I was tired and spent as I rose up over another big wave. Appearing out of white foam like apparition, was the end of a paddle. The paddle, an arm’s length away, was that of one of the kayakers who was in front of me. I knew instantly what had happened to him. He was caught, midstream, in a backwash of water known as a hole. I had one fraction of a second . . . and then, our boats crashed together.
Somehow, I had managed to pivot sideways to avoid ramming his body with the nose of my boat, but as soon as our boats collided, I was thrown upside down. I rolled quickly back up. Confused momentarily, I wasn’t sure where I was or what had happened, but the other boat was gone. Apparently, I had knocked him loose, but I had also succeeded in planting myself squarely in the hole, and I found myself holding on for dear life in the violently surging water.