VETERAN ocean paddler Ken Dinham is thanking his lucky stars – and an eagle-eyed Royal Australian Navy submariner – after he was rescued from turbulent ocean waters 10km off Perth Saturday afternoon.
The 71-year-old was competing in The Doctor, an ocean paddling race from Rottnest Island to Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club, when he was swept off his ski by a 3m cross swell whipped up by wind gusts up to 60km/h.
In a cruel twist of fate his leg leash snapped and he watched on helplessly as his craft skipped away over the water carried by the wind.
Mr Dinham, a voluntary aid worker usually based in Vietnam, then tried to deploy the flare carried in his life jacket but was left stranded when he pulled the string and nothing happened.
In more than two decades of ocean paddling Mr Dinham had never had one, let alone both, of his safety mechanisms fail.
“My …
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