Summer is heating up and apparently, so are people’s tempers.

Case and point is a recent story from San Diego in which a paddleboarder got into a dispute with local swim coach, Kevin Eslinger on June 26 near Sunset Cliffs. It is unclear as to what the two men were arguing about, but according to police, the paddler beat Eslinger over the head with his paddle and then took off.

The savage attack left the swim coach with a fractured skull, yet thankfully, Eslinger managed to swim back to shore. He is currently recovering in a local hospital but according to fellow swim coach Pat Tope, his road to recovery has some major obstacles.

“He was having difficulty with his speech, but since then his speech is slowly starting to return,” Tope told a local news outlet. “So it’s going to take some time for it to get back to normal.”

However, Eslinger has overcome great challenges before. In 2005, he completed an incredible journey in which he paddled 120 miles from Santa Barbara to San Diego’s Ocean Beach Pier on a 19-foot prone board. The nearly 30-hour paddle would challenge Eslinger to the core, but he persevered and completed the journey

“I suffered mentally, spiritually, emotionally more than I’d ever suffered in my life,” Eslinger told the San Diego Union Tribune in 2005. “I started doubting my training, my nutrition, my manhood, my sanity.”

Now over a decade later, a confrontation near the same area where he finished that famous 2005 paddle has forced Eslinger to embark on a very different journey. But it’s a journey that will require Eslinger to tap into that same physical, mental and emotional strength he showed 13 years ago.

According to reports, no arrests have been made and police are still investigating the incident.

This incident serves as a sobering reminder to always keep your emotions in check and never engage in altercations in the water. Standup paddling is meant as an outlet to relax, destress and have fun. Fights lead to tragedies and it’s very fortunate that this incident didn’t result in the loss of life.

Stay kind, respect others and paddle on.


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