Paddler Passes Away This Past Weekend

Austin Crisologo, a great person (and paddler) passed away this past weekend in an oc2 accident in the San Francisco area.

Austin and his paddling partner huli'ed and could not recover. Unfortunately, Austin passed away.
His friend was airlifted to a hospital with hypothermia and is now home recovering. Reports are saying the water was 54 degrees and the paddlers were in the water for approximately 30 minutes.

More information, including information on a memorial fund, can by found here:

Let's all be careful - especially those paddling in cold water.

Submitted by effectivepull on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 4:15am

Very sad story! My heart goes out to his family and friends.
Are there any more details about the accident? Something we can learn from?

#1 Wed, 02/18/2009 - 4:12pm

Yeah ditto, he looked like a big strong lean guy, seems the cold water exposure took it's toll.

Very sad to hear these things.


#2 Wed, 02/18/2009 - 4:16pm

Maybe you should post that excellent exposure vid again, Rambo. No one should die this way.

#3 Wed, 02/18/2009 - 5:25pm

This is sad news . maybe we all should remember the family and friends of Austin in our prayers tonight and for the next few days.

Maybe we should go over that safety list again.

#4 Wed, 02/18/2009 - 5:52pm

I have been cautious not to post on this tragic story as it is right hear in the bay area, my back yard and we are still uncertain of the details; But our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends.

However we did a long post on the importance of cold water survival and safety gear before the winter started here, I do not know the details of the incident yet, but all of us who paddle in the cold should remember to make safety and safety gear, lifejackets, warm clothing etc a priority. Carry a radio if going it alone. Be prepared for the worse, understand the importance of getting back in the boat ASAP, it doesn't take long before you start to loose dexterity.

The same day we had a 2 guys out in the bay on ski's one capsized and lost his ski to the wind, ended up holding on to the partners boat and calling harbormaster for help, he was rescued, we were fortunate an outbound ship reported the ski
floating and we were able to retrieve it for the guy, he was lucky twice, his buddy had a phone and his boat was recovered before it hit china

Rambo, that cold water piece from the coasties on the great lakes taught me a lot,
We should all learn from this tragic accident.

lets all be safe out there, the ocean is a wonderful place, but extremely unforgiving, be prepared



#5 Wed, 02/18/2009 - 8:19pm

Yes, this is very sobering news and my heart goes out to Austin's family and friends. Also the very best wishes to his friend Bob who survived the incident. I am glad to hear he is doing better physically.

I would appreciate it if someone would post Bob's account of the story, if he would be willing to share it at some point down the line. There may be things the rest of us can learn from the tragedy. From what I have heard, the paddlers were equipped very similarly to how most of us here in the Bay Area go out for a typical paddle - warm clothing including rash guards, booties, hats - but it wasn't enough.

I am sure this has already been posted, but it bears re-posting. A very good resource for cold water safety awareness, and it even looks like they've built this site out further with video clips of the various folks who did the cold water boot camp interviewed about their experiences...

#6 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 12:33pm

It's no fun paddling in a wetsuit or drysuit, but in water that temperature, it's the best way to prevent death by hypothermia. It doesn't take long to die w/ if all you're wearing is the clothing Valerie describes, especially w/ no PFD. It's a water sport; prepare for prolonged immersion.

#7 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 1:05pm

I'm concerned about hypothermia too. However, paddling in Southern California, where in the morning the coldest air temp is mid-40s and water temp hovers in the mid to high 50s, a dry suit seems to be overkill - so does a wetsuit.

In terms of comfort, I usually paddle with a long sleeve under armour cold gear shirt and a runner's vest. I'm sure if I'm submerged for quite some time, that apparel is not going to cut it.

Anyone have any suggestions or is the water warm enough this time of year I don't have too great a concern?

#8 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 2:33pm

It's quite a dilemma, Scott, because the gear you need to protect yourself from hypothermia in case of prolonged immersion is generally uncomfortable to paddle in. It's probably even more of a problem in SoCal, where the air can be so much warmer than the water. Maybe a thin (1-2mm) short Farmer John wetsuit? Immersion Research has some good stuff too. Here in Seattle, I go overkill, ready to swim for it style when training solo, and lighten up in the races, where rescue is likely if something happens. I have a feeling a Farmer John would've saved the guy's life, but most people find them uncomfortable to paddle in. You just have to factor in everything and decide what's most important to you.

#9 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:35pm

Tons o' gear at unbeatable prices on this website:

#10 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 3:38pm

You think a neoprene vest would be enough?

Something like this?

#11 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 6:38pm

NRS hydroskin vest and shorts...

#12 Fri, 02/20/2009 - 11:35pm

I would think a spring suit would be the minimum necessary to keep the core warm. The gap between top and bottom would lose much warmth. Take a look at what surfers wear in your area to get an idea of what's needed to handle prolonged exposure.

#13 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 6:08am

I would like to know more details of this accident. It is not
clear what kind of canoe they were using and if
it was OC-2 why did they spend so much in the water?

However neoprene does not really work very well for
paddling in cold water and "farmer john" style is probably
the worst of all because it leaks through the open chest
if submerged and constrains rotation when not.

Most NRS stuff being made out of flat stock and does not
even confirm to your body, very heavy and is poorly designed for anything but high turn-over rental.

Pants and long sleeve top, separate or as a full suit
made out of stretchy fleece -lined polyurethane fabric
works far better and allows layers underneath it if needed.

It stays dry, does not induce evaporating cooling like
neoprene, does not soak in tons of water and is not constraining.

I do not touch neoprene any more.

Check out:
in US -

#14 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 8:20am

Yeah, neoprene is worthless, everyone who wears wetsuits to stay warm is retarded. Seriously, though, that chillcheater stuff sounds pretty awesome. The website says a full aquatherm suit under a 3mm wetsuit is equivalent to a normal 5mm wetsuit, which would keep you toasty warm in very cold water for long periods. Thanks Serge, that stuff sounds like the ultimate cold-water paddling gear.

#15 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 9:30am

Take it with a grain of salt.

With neoprene I used to get cold even before swimming.
This stuff is is different.

I have Aquatherm top and Aquafleece pants.
Aquatherm is as worm as 2mil, Aquafleece - as 3mil if you
are out of the water. And water just runs off as soon as you are back on the boat.

If you are swimming than it is not so toasty but the
thing is you can wear layers and they stay relatively dry.
It also breaths somewhat better than drysuit.

With neoprene I used to get cold even before swimming.
This stuff is is different.

Yes, I think anybody who paddles in farmer john has been
misled, retarded or NRS sales rep or all the above.

#16 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 12:41pm

I have heard reports this was an open C2 like a Canadian canoe not an OC2 which would explain why they were not able to remount or upright the boat.

Doesn't take away from the fact that it was tragic accident but i would have taken a lot of time while immersed in cold water to remount and clear the water.


#17 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 7:54pm

Yes, Rambo. You are correct. According to what I heard today, it was not an oc2.

#18 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 9:11pm

Effectivepull, The NRS stuff is nice for SoCal, order one size larger.

Spring suit + .... AND LS NRS if you think your gonna ( possibly ) swim in the winter off the boat. Otherwise NRS LS + Trunks if you get back on the boat good.

Worked for me when I was skinny.


#19 Sat, 02/21/2009 - 9:49pm

this is very sad and i feel for bob, the survivor. it must be very difficult for him.

we really need some details on this accident. it is important for the rest of us. no one in the bay area uses neoprene. it's just not practical. they said the water was 54 degrees. that is on the warmer side for water around here. swimmers in the bay go out without any protection for an hour at a time. the report said they were in the water for a 1/2 hour. what was unusual for that day was a bitter cold and strong wind.

i went to the uscg website. there was no mention of the accident. they usually list every incident.... i can't find any information.

i went out and bought a standard horizon hx850s which is a floating vhf radio with DSC one button distress. it sends coordinates automatically to all ships with the same functionality from the internal GPS.


#20 Mon, 03/09/2009 - 8:05am

That chillcheater stuff Serge mentioned above sounds like a good compromise from neoprene, but w/ out something like that, you won't last too long in 54 degree water. To surf in water that cold plenty guys wear hoods, booties and gloves w/ 3-5 mm wetsuits. There's some thinner wetsuits out there that wouldn't be too horrible for paddling. You wouldn't want to race in one, but could come in handy for the super rough days like that.

#21 Mon, 03/09/2009 - 8:53am

Anyone know of a video demonstrating the "Capistrano Flip?"
I've had some mixed results attempting it with my indian style solo canoe, for there is still lots of water in the canoe that has to be hand bailed afterwards. But at least the canoe is remountable.

#22 Mon, 03/09/2009 - 9:36am

there's so many ways we can imagine that we could get in trouble, all we can do is cover as many bases as we can. a radio is a great one. a cell phone would help. life jacket wet suit or survival suit. buddy system. stay close to land, the list is long. but respect the water at all times it can turn in minutes.

is your Indian style solo canoe from the North, west coast?

#23 Mon, 03/09/2009 - 11:59am

I belive it was made in the Mid-West in Badger country for flat water paddling, so I've paddled it a few times in the Ala Wai practicing my rudderless stroke. It isn't designed for speed or for surfing. And if you huli, you either swim it to shore or try to flip it Capistrano style as discussed and shown on a few other googled sites. Most of the sites show the Capistrano Flip being done by two paddlers in flat water and not in the Ocean. It can be done with one paddler, but it is more difficult to do, especially in Kailua Bay.

#24 Mon, 03/09/2009 - 3:26pm

ok, here is by far the most informative article out there. it looks like austin may have drowned after becoming hypothermic. it is from the "point reyes light" a very small, local newspaper that won a pullitzer prize for reporting:

i also made a map with a likely route of the paddlers so you get an idea of where they were:

~ labone

#25 Mon, 03/09/2009 - 10:35pm

Thanks so much for sharing.

Let's all be careful out there.

#26 Tue, 03/10/2009 - 3:31am

Makes you realize how quickly things can deteriorate, and how punishing nature can be. Being prepared is so important. 100 yards for most of us doesn't seem that far but in the cold and wind it can be just too far.

Sad story, my condolences to the family and friends....

#27 Tue, 03/10/2009 - 7:38am

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