Swashbuckling sea kayaks like Hobie’s Mirage Tandem Island seem like they can take on anything, but the sea is a harsh mistress. Host Nathan Rogers of the Hooked on Adventure YouTube channel found this out when he encountered a pair of freak waves on the early morning tide. The waves disable his rudder, but the Australian angler is well equipped to make the necessary repairs—a timely reminder for the rest of us to always come prepared.
“That could have been a disaster.”
Rogers sets off in the predawn hours, pedaling out from the launch and passing under a nearby bridge before hoisting his Hobie sail. July is the winter season in Australia, with an air temperature of 12°C or 53°F on this particular morning, so Rogers is wisely dressed for immersion. His forethought serves well when things don’t go as planned.
The water is calm and flat as the sun begins to rise and Rogers heads out to fish for tuna. But the voyage goes sideways—literally—at 4:30 when the waves appear out of nowhere. “Where’d that come from?!” Rogers shouts as his boat is swamped. “It was flat! Freak wave! Oh my gosh.”
Replacing the Sacrificial Pins
Surveying the damage, Rogers finds that the locking pin on one of the sea kayak’s braces has snapped, as well as the bolt that holds on his rudder. As he describes, these are “sacrificial pins” that are designed to snap instead of damaging the boat itself in case of a freak wave.
Fortunately, Rogers has a bag of spare nuts and bolts close at hand. He reassembles the hardware, careful not to drop the replacement parts in the drink, and eventually continues fishing. The result is an impressive personal-best tuna, a fitting end to a very eventful trip.