Former South Carolina QB Chris Smelley had a scare off the coast of Florida. (ABC News/Screengrab)
Former South Carolina QB Chris Smelley had a scare off the coast of Florida. (ABC News/Screengrab)

Ex-College Football Star QB Stranded On Kayak For Hours 'Threw Up Hands and Screamed'

Former University of South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley wasn't sure if he'd ever kayak again. Or really, do anything again.

That's because Smelley was left stranded off the Florida coast while kayaking. He waited for help for 11 hours, as relayed by the New York Post.

Smelley, 37, initially planned to go on a short fishing excursion near Grayton Beach, Fla., according to WBRC. But some heavy winds in the area had different ideas, taking Smelley's kayak about eight miles off the coast. They kept him there despite his attempts to get back to shore.

"I was in a big, heavy kayak. And I got out there and right off the shore, the wind was just whipping and a lot stronger than it was at shore," Smelley told WBRC.

"I wish there was a story that a giant shark dragged me out or I was battling a sea monster - but it was really just nature - it was just the wind. My body was sitting up tall, and I was basically just a big sail. I was giving it everything I could, and there was a long period of time where I was at the mercy of the wind."

Smelley's wife called authorities after he did not return home in a timely fashion.

"I was just kind of in survival mode. I threw my hands up and screamed," he told ABC News.

Eventually, Smelley was spotted by helicopters and his friend arrived in a rescue boat. The Coast Guard did the rest.

"We're at the beach a lot, and I've done a lot of fishing, and I'm real comfortable in the ocean," he told WBRC. "I wouldn't say I was necessarily scared, but there was sometimes where, especially as the sun started going down, and I had seen the rescue helicopters fly over me pretty close by a few times but they didn't see me, that I thought I was going to spend the night in the ocean.

"So I had just caught a fish and was preparing to clean it to give me some energy to try to keep paddling back in when the rescue helicopter pulled in."

Smelley quarterbacked the Gamecocks from 2006-08.