Shipwrecked, Els reunites with the woman who swam with him for 8 hours

Then the time came. The Monday after Saturday’s win, he’ll finally see Kailyn again, and then they’ll travel together for a week. “We were meeting at a hotel in Nelson and she drove up to take me on our journey. Those first 30 seconds when we saw each other were a bit emotional. It was then that we saw each other again after all these years and we were still here. But then came the positive energy. .We were both very excited for the week ahead. She was very proud of me for winning the Ironman. The click was immediate.

A photo of Els after winning the Iron Man title in New Zealand. Text continues below photo.

Game appearance

Else and Kaylene travel to Golden Bay, New Zealand. Despite the fact that Kailyn is already 61 years old, they do a lot of sports activities. They go climbing, and Kailene is especially happy to have someone as sporty as her. Else discovers during their trip that Kaylin has also done several extreme races.

“Already in 1994 he won the Coast to Coast race, a multi-sport championship where he had to kayak, mountain bike and run. It was really strange. I realized that I couldn’t have wished for a better person to swim to the island. In terms of fitness, knowledge and survival on an island. She thought everything through. She could read the ocean and understand the island. That’s when it became clear to me.

During their week, they also reflect on what happened in 2014. “It was great talking to her about it. We weren’t emotional, it came up. Especially how we lived at this time. She had already realized in the morning that I wanted to swim, but she didn’t think it was a wise choice. At the time she thought she was leaving something safe, but in the end she also felt she had to take a risk. And it seemed to her that there was no point in waiting for the boat. When she told me, I also got courage. I thought: ‘I’m going now’. That night on the island already felt so familiar. She was like a mother to me.

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“Now the circle is complete. I wanted to meet her again. But I couldn’t do it after it happened. I didn’t give it space then. I just wanted to see her and our bond was so intense. We ended up on a swimming trip together and on the island. Now it’s complete.”

One last stop

But because Red Bull is making a documentary about Else’s life, she too goes to the island where they were discovered. “I didn’t need it at first. I didn’t feel that way after that beautiful week with Kaylin. I had it covered. But when I got there I was so grateful. It meant being back on the water. That made it all the way. We walked around the island, where we slept. I recognized. When I was there, I also came to the moment when it all happened. I realized: ‘It all happened here’ and the sense of danger that came with it came back.

“The shipwreck changed me. Even so, if it wasn’t for the shipwreck, I think I might have become a triathlete myself. I have always been adventurous. However, I have definitely changed. I feel so grateful for life and now I live day by day.

A short film for Els, who radically changes her life after a shipwreck and becomes a trio: 'I just started doing it'Els radically changes his life after shipwreck and becomes a triathlete: ‘I just started doing it’Read more

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