Cape sports personality shares near death experience of being caught in a rip tide

Cape Town sports personality and teacher Irafaan Abrahams says he nearly died after being caught in a rip tide in Scarborough on Tuesday. pic supplied

Cape Town sports personality and teacher Irafaan Abrahams says he nearly died after being caught in a rip tide in Scarborough on Tuesday. pic supplied

Published Jan 4, 2024


Cape Town - Cape sports personality and teacher Irafaan Abrahams shared his near-death experience after being caught in a riptide in Scarborough on Tuesday.

The athlete, who has been taking part in various marathons to raise funds for children’s school shoes, said he was at a point where his life flashed before his eyes, when surfer Stephen “Dassie” Guess noticed he was in distress.

An overwhelmed Abrahams spoke to Independent Media just hours after the ordeal and broke into tears recalling what could have been his last few moments on Earth.

“I am just so glad my children didn’t see anything, because it would’ve been an even more traumatic event then, right now I just have that feeling of blessing over me, things could’ve been so different if it wasn't for Dassie.

“The whole ordeal was recorded on my watch, seven minutes, that’s how long it took for us to swim out of the riptide that I was caught in and 350m covered, can you imagine that?” he said.

Abrahams said everything happened so quickly.

Irafaan Abrahams (center with red cap) is well known for his humanitarian efforts across the flats. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

“The one minute I was comfortably swimming parallel to the waves, not wanting to swim into the quite big waves, the next moment I found myself being pulled into the ocean.

“I tried to stay calm at first but found myself going nowhere but backwards.

“I saw two boogie boarders and Dassie just as I became tired and crampy, I gathered my last energy and shouted and waved to the guys as best as I could.

“Dassie spotted my distress signal. At this time, my life just flashed by me. For a moment I felt I wasn’t going to make it back to shore. I spoke to my creator, that’s when I heard Dassie calmly tell me to relax, and grab onto his leg.

“He swam bravely. I tried to help but I was tired and my legs were numb.

“After a few minutes, that felt like hours, the two boogie boarders gave Dassie a break, and let me onto the boogie board, while they paddle the board towards the shore. Eventually we got to a sand bank where I could just about stand.

“Dassie stayed with me. This is really a story of someone I know from nowhere risking his own life coming into the water to save me and this is what has now changed my life forever,” he said.

Stephen “Dassie” Guess says the experience was just as much as a blessing for him. Picture: Supplied

Abrahams said it also reminded him of an important life lesson his father taught him, that when life changing things happened you had to give thanks and be grateful to God.

“So I decided I will go to Kapteinsklip tonight and hand out food. I also invited Dassie who gladly accepted the invitation. He saved my life by the grace of God. I have been granted more days to give back.

“I’ve also been inspired to take part in my first triathlon because of this, and hopefully I will even become a lifeguard in my 50s,” he said.

Guess, who has been surfing for over 20 years and recently started taking up open water swimming, said it was a blessing to know he helped someone who did so much for others.

“A few years ago on Boxing Day I witnessed someone drowning and it was very traumatic. On Tuesday, when I saw this, I literally felt like I wasn’t going to watch something like that happen again, so I jumped in.

“What’s even more wholesome is that becoming selfless was one of my goals for 2024. And now I will be doing just that,” he said.

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