Photo: Si Crowther,

Photo: Si Crowther,

Woman Rescued After Spending 36 Hours Stranded on SUP

On Sunday, August 17, 2014, while vacationing with family, 24-year-old Clemence Lapeyre of Paris finished dinner and headed out from Normandy's town of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue for a moonlit paddle on her SUP. The lone paddler—and experienced sailor—put-in and paddled off without telling anyone where she was headed or when she'd return.

That became Lapeyre's first big mistake.

The peaceful moonlit paddle soon became a grave situation when Lapeyre realized she was being swept out to open waters with increasingly strong current and sizable swell. Nobody realized she went missing until hours later, the next morning.

“We had had a great night and she decided to paddle under the moonlight without telling us," Lapeyre's uncle, Christophe Remy Nerys, told media sources. “It was not until later the next day we realized she was gone."

Lapeyre drifted into the English Channel, where rescue teams were unable locate her from the water and air. She fell off her board three times throughout the ordeal, and, having left shore without a PFD onboard—her second big mistake—the Parisian struggled to stay afloat on her standup paddleboard for over 36 hours.

“She lost her glasses and she lost her paddle,” Nerys said. “Apparently she tried her best to stay conscious and cling to her board and not let go.”

Lapeyre spent two nights on her SUP, where was battered by 40-knot winds and swells up to 4 meters high.

It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon, around 3:30 p.m., that a Belgian fishing boat discovered her off the port of Le Havre. While stranded, Lapeyre had drifted nearly 70 miles.

From the boat, Lapeyre quickly alerted family before being transported to a hospital nearby in the town of Fecamp.

"I was scared, obviously," she told francetvinfo. "The idea was always to keep a goal in mind. To advance, not to die."

A spokesman from SNCM, France’s national maritime rescue service, told sources it was a ‘miracle’ Lapeyre had been found alive.

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