Sea Kayaking with a Disability^

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adventuretess
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Sea Kayaking with a Disability^

Post by adventuretess » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:25 am

I have a friend who has asked me to help her get into sea kayaking.
She is young and fit and lost her leg (above knee) in a nasty motor vehicle accident. If you kayak with a similar injury or have any experience with kayakers who do, I'd be keen to hear from you.
Tess

make2009
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by make2009 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:55 am

pm'd you!!

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PeterG
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by PeterG » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:31 pm

With an ocean cockpit and plenty of carefully shaped foam it should be possible to get a snug enough fit for paddling, rolling etc. We have a friend with limited power in one leg, so it goes into tight fitting foam down one side of the cockpit of his Nordcapp, once on the water he is as fast and agile as anyone. Deep water rescues are no problem with some practice.

tg
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by tg » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:19 pm

We had a guy at our club once with a similar issue. We found apart from filling the space in the boat ballast was also neccessary. We weighted a dry bag.

I am sure you'll get good info.

I, and at least one other that I know on this forum, are likewise ex RTA victims. Bring on the Spring (UK) or Summer (Aus). Happy paddling.

Tim
"I sink therfore I am".

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Voodoo
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Voodoo » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:32 pm

We have a one legged paddler ( just below the knee) and a wheelchair paddler(T3 I think) in our club both paddle white water to grade 4 & 3 respectively,

The one leg guy has what he calls his wet leg that he uses in various outdoor sports ( climbing, skiing, ice climbing, paddling) he walks in and out and rolls fines it doesn't stop him at all, although he's is very fit and it does seem to put some strain on him as he walks in with his boat himself he still manages it fine and I have never heard any complaints,

Our wheelchair paddler has to be carried in and out she doesn't roll due to mobility issues/strength but on the whole it has never held her back and she will paddle grade 3 comfortably and has run some grade 4 stuff,
she has though about taking up sea paddling, there is no logistics as such that would hold her back providing the group she's with can aid her getting the boat and her to and from water the only other issue would be making sure she has her chair at the end but that's no different that when on a river,
Its worth noting she only took up paddling a about 4 years ago and has been in a chair for 20+ years so was not a paddler prior to being in a chair,

In short there should be no reason why that type off injury would stop anyone taking up the sport at worst you may need to find a work around to there peculiar needs,

Nigel
This is not the repose you are looking for ~ Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ducks hoop
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Ducks hoop » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:33 pm

My first post. I'll be following this with interest as I'm a chair user who has recently taken up sea paddling.

My initial impressions are that it's definitely more challenging if you're missing power from lower limbs, for balance, edging, bracing and rolling. I reckon these things are very surmountable however, just adapting and compromising. I'm a bit wobbly in heavier seas but I suppose what novice isn't?

I thought it was funny when registering to be asked how many legs the average paddler has. Funny ha ha mind.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:49 pm

I went through three pairs of crutches since 13th June 2009. On camping trips there wasn't room for them in a hatch but the deck elastics were very good for securing them, even in surf landings. Apparently the physios had never seen anyone wear out crutches like I did. The aluminium tubes just seemed to corrode away, especially where there were ferrous adjustment poppers. They asked me if I had ever got them wet and I said I had maybe got caught out in the rain once or twice... Long John Silver didn't have this problem. His crutch was made out of wood. Maybe the solution would be to cut down an old Greenland stick.
Douglas

adventuretess
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by adventuretess » Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:51 am

What a great source of information this thread is.
To begin with, my friend Louise wants to kayak for fitness and touring.
After talking with her, my main concerns were about balance and comfort. I don’t want to overlook anything else I should be mindful of, so thank you for the useful comments. I’m sure once I get her on the water we can figure out solutions to any problems as they arise, but its nice to have a heads up.
Louise has a prosthetic that is not really suitable for sea kayaking. She is looking into a 'water leg' as getting independently to and from the water (and everywhere else) without crutches is important to her.
Thank you for the PM’s, I will reply to those offline.
Tess

ian johnston
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by ian johnston » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:22 am

Hi Tess,

Check out the "Tay Descent" film made by Simon Willis (either on his site, YouTube or the SCA website) for some inspiration on what's possible and the enjoyment to be had.

It might be worth contacting one of the service veteran's agencies (perhaps the Royal Marines Association) for advice on specific issues - they will have had good experience of getting guys back into active lifestyles following limb loss.

There's a short section in the book "The Complete Sea Kayaker's Handbook by Shelley Johnson (pb Ragged mountain press) dealing with adaptation for various scenarios too.

Welcome your friend to the world of paddling!

Ian

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puddled
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by puddled » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:15 am

You guys put me to shame. I come home from a pool session with a stiff shoulder and feel wimpy!

I know it’s nothing like the same scenario but take a look at this for some inspiration >> http://vimeo.com/9358866
Northshore Atlantic/Burn 2/Greenland T/Prospector

Enray
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Enray » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:31 pm

You can try contacting Suresh Paul of Equal Adventure - contact details on the website http://www.equaladventure.org/. He was involved in this Canada to Alsaka expedition - In the summer of 2003, a group of sea kayakers were the first inclusive paddling team to embark on a 1000 mile, 3 month journey through the fjords and glacier-draped mountains of Alaska and British Columbia’s coastline, following the Inside Passage. The team consisted of a highly motivated group of 8 disabled and able-bodied paddlers.

The team's journey followed "The Inside Passage", an intricate and exposed waterway used for generations to link First Nation fishing and whaling communities of the northern stretches of the Pacific to the icy waters of the north.
Taken from their website.

Then there are other outdoor activity providers in the UK such as Bendrigg and of course the Clavert Trust. There must be similar organisations in Australia.

Cheers,

tg
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by tg » Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:01 pm

Hi Tess,

Maybe choice of boat should be considered. When I was rehabbing I used a folder (ok guys... it's not a swear word). I realise they are quite hyeavy but in a group I wouldn't have thought this would be too much of a problem. The extra beam and all round stability certainly helped me. I was a paddler before my RTA and now I paddle skinny boats.

Tim
"I sink therfore I am".

elkayaker
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by elkayaker » Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:44 pm

i am a above knee amputee and the only problem i have is on land ive got a very short stump so i have to be imaginitive with foam but if you have a longer stump you shouldnt have any problem.i wouldnt like to be on a real rescue situation with a prosthetic on.

RickC
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by RickC » Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:21 pm

I'm also an above-knee amputee. I use a prosthetic limb that is specifically designed for watersports, and this straps into my boat using a quick release system in the same position as a normal leg would, ie foot on the footpeg, knee up, and the "thigh" section of the socket hard up against the thighbrace of the cockpit rim. The prosthesis is a suction socket during the warmer months, and when wearing a drysuit the liner is removed and a neoprene/velcro waist belt secures the prosthesis for walking. I am able to roll, although I am stronger recovering on the prosthetic limb side(illogical in some ways). In the event that I need to get out of the boat afloat (swim in/difficult landing or failed roll) I simply slide out of the socket and the prosthesis stays in the boat. This makes it simple for rescuers (not worrying about losing the prosthesis) and I am able to re-entry/roll/self-rescue like any other biped. It's taken a while to work this system out but it does the job well enough. The prosthesis is good enough to walk on for short distances, and is durable so far.

The hardest part is always after landing, especially in tricky conditions such as a rocky shore or big/dumping surf. Getting out of the boat, strapping a prosthesis on and keeping hold of a boat/paddle etc takes a lot of energy, and at the end of a long paddle I don't look forward to a trudge up the beach after being beaten up by the surf. That's where good mates really count, and I've stopped being shy about asking for help! However, I paddle about 75% of the time on my own so just have to "man up" when it's tough. For this reason I try to pick places to launch where parking is near the launch site.

Incidentally, I paddle a P+H Cetus and a Romany S. I have paddled a lot of boats and found these two offer most of what I want at the moment, although when I am rich I will be buying a Rockpool Alaw Bach. I find a really good fit in the boat is essential and without the prosthesis properly secured and in the proper place I am like a wet puppy.

adventuretess
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by adventuretess » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:25 am

Once again, thank you for the great information, particularly from those with a similar injury.
Louise has corrected me about her amputation point - even though she has no feeling, she has her kneecap. Apologies for the misinformation.
I hope to take Louise out in the next week and will use my own kayaks, Impex Currituck and Nordkapp LV to start with. I do have access to other kayaks (including a folding boat) but will see how she feels on the water and go from there.
Elkayaker your concern is noted and Rick your suggestions (and your drive) sound brilliant - did you sea kayak BA (before amputation) ?
Tess

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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by wobblypeter » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:22 pm

Tess
I managed to take the quick way down from a mountain which left me with mobility and stability issues. Found kayaking and people doing it fantastic in help and suport. Have come to know other disablled paddlers , all have found suitable ways of managing. I use ski sticks (cheap ones) which I replace on a regular basis.
The Kari-Tek roof rack system and trolley have allowed me to manage the kayak on my own, with and extended tape on the bow for pulling.
After breaking a paddle shaft whilst getting into the boatI have made up a support pole which I can replace at low cost and stows on the front deck. Also great for pushing off rocks.
enjoy your padling
Peter

Ducks hoop
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Ducks hoop » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:32 pm

ricktheleg wrote:I'm also an above-knee amputee.
Incidentally, I paddle a P+H Cetus and a Romany S. I have paddled a lot of boats and found these two offer most of what I want at the moment, although when I am rich I will be buying a Rockpool Alaw Bach. I find a really good fit in the boat is essential and without the prosthesis properly secured and in the proper place I am like a wet puppy.
I've been hesitating between a Romany and a Cetus. The nature of my disability would, while of totally different origins, put us on a similar footing, ahem.

I'm a spinal (T7), though incomplete with one good leg and one mediocre to poor one. Kinda similar to you, in different ways, if you get me.

Could you advise as to which of the two you prefer? What are the advantages of one over the other? How are they in lumpier water? I reckon you're a much more experienced and far better paddler than myself but I'm sure your thoughts could nonetheless be of help.

Thanks, and sorry if this is a bit of a hijack.

wobblypeter
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by wobblypeter » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:05 pm

Hi Ducks
Glad to share experences. I broke B1 B2 and impacted on spinal cord in the region C4 & 5 which has caused the main problems right side mostly. Had a clean up op inside the spine couple of years ago which improved my flexabilty but not mobility /stability whilst upright.
I had a Romany S and also a NDSK explore then PH Quest which I kept and now also have a Tiderace xplore X which is my perfect sole mate , being a padler of larger mature frame.

The Large cockpit of both the Romany and Xplore X make it so much easier to get in and out. The whole thing of staying upright in the begining was a experence that made me quite good at wet exits. The Romany was just good plain fun .but was always working hard to keep up with longer boats and had some issues with finnish. Tried the Cetus on a demo day, not for me. Though the Quest was and is a good all round boat. Now the Tiderace xplore range are for me spot on.

Hope this is some help and if you want to talk further let me know
all the best Peter

Ducks hoop
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Ducks hoop » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:36 pm

Thanks Peter,

That's just the type of 'insider' knowledge I need. It's hard to judge from reviews from AB (able bodied) paddlers as the goal posts are moved a bit from where I'm sitting.

Did you get on with the Romany, I mean did it provide the stability you needed? I'm guessing from your post and user name that you had some stability issues in the beginning?

If you've the time maybe you could give me a more detailed impression of the Xplore? I'm not a huge man, bout 6 ft and 12 stone. I paddle an aquanaut club and while it's grand I am rattling around in it and reckon a 'tighter' fit would ameliorate the whole experience.

Thanks in advance,

Ducks.

RickC
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by RickC » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:47 pm

Hi Ducks (and Adventuretess)

With regard to the Cetus, it's a really nice quality boat with huge primary stability and massive carrying capacity. No problem taking both hands off the paddle for taking photos/eating etc. Suprisingly nimble for it's long length due to plenty of rocker and a very flat mid-section. Not heavy for it's size. However, my experience is that downwind/downwaves it could be a handful in big conditions if the skeg system failed. Not happened to me yet but it's always in the back of my mind when I least want to be thinking about it.... I will be either fitting a different skeg system that I trust or changing the boat. Not sure which yet.

The Romany S is a completely different animal. I bought mine from a good mate who had abused it beyond belief, and I am continuing in his wake! It looks battered and has been the subject of many repairs, but I am convinced that a GRP boat made by anyone other than Nigel Dennis would have been totally destroyed by now, given the treatment it has been subjected to. Sure, it's a slower boat due to it's weight, shorter length and boxy mid-sections, but it's a good boat when it gets rough and tough, in surf, around rocks and will soak up the punishment. It also has good primary and secondary stability and is very predictable in all conditions. It pains me to admit all this as I am so NOT a fan of Nigel Dennis boats, but it does the job. Buy a secondhand one with some scratches and repairs and the chances are that all the initial leaks and problems with have been sorted out. They really are built like tanks!

My experience as a paddler: started seriously about 2 years ago, and have been fortunate to be taken on as a long-term student of a well-known coach and expedition paddler in Cornwall. Now a 3 Star (Sea) and hoping to take 4 Star this winter. I have been sailing all my life (and I am a sailing instructor) but wanted a new dimension to my watersports activity. Kayaking has literally changed my (mid) life. Have been an amputee for 30 years.

Ducks hoop
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Ducks hoop » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:06 am

Hi Rick,

Thanks very much for the views on both the Cetus and the Romany. Interesting food for thought. I'd heard the NDK boats were pretty bombproof and ideal as starter boats so I think I'll be looking in that direction for my first. I must resist those lovely shiny new sleek models as I'm a bit of a gear tart in other things, it's only money being my usual mantra.

I'd have to agree with you on the life changing aspect to paddling. As a chair user it really does allow me a freedom that I thought was no longer possible having been very much into outdoor pursuits prior to my injury. My only regret is not trying it sooner, better late than never I suppose.

Thanks again for the input,

Ducks.

wobblypeter
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by wobblypeter » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:47 pm

Hi Ducks
The very true adage try before you buy is the rule to follow. With the reduced strength in my right arm I find the extra water length/speed and all round quality of the Tiderace xplore suits my condition to a T. I did fit the Kari-Tek wire skeg after doing so to the Quest which improved the contol in all conditions for me.
You are right the my post name relates to my early learning in the art of kayaking in all condition all year round. I became a great fan of a fitted 12v electric pump controlled by a float switch which can be manually controlled without further electrical fittings.
My boats now suit my 6ft 4inch 16 stone frame,
all the very best Peter

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MikeB
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by MikeB » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:52 pm

Ducks hoop wrote:If you've the time maybe you could give me a more detailed impression of the Xplore? I'm not a huge man, bout 6 ft and 12 stone. I paddle an aquanaut club and while it's grand I am rattling around in it and reckon a 'tighter' fit would ameliorate the whole experience.

Thanks in advance,

Ducks.
Ducks, the ExploreX which Peter has is a BIG boat - I tried it and loved it and I'm somewhat over 18 stone and 6'2" and had masses of room in it - which suggests it would be too big for you. I've also tried the standard Xplore which was a tight fit, probably about the same as my Quest. I can't get into an Aquanaut.

That suggests it may be a bit "rattly" for you? The new small Xcape might be worth trying though? Or the ExploreS? Failing which, it could be worth padding out your existing boat a bit. The Alew and Alew Bach may also be a good boat to try as they really are wonderfully comfortable. They come with a skeg now, which has (I understand) helped a lot as they do need good edge control if they dont have one. I base that on watching my friend Les, who is a superb paddler, holding his Alew on edge for most of a long weekend in very windy, bumpy conditions in the Sound of Luing area a year or so back.

The Quest, which is somewhat under-skegged in my opinion, also required edge but not to the same extent.

Mike.

Ducks hoop
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Re: Sea Kayaking with a Disability

Post by Ducks hoop » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:42 pm

Mike and Peter,

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to my queries, it's much appreciated. It would appear that paddlers are as helpful in the cyber world as they are in the real one.

More interesting feedback an much to mull over and look forward to.

Thanks again,

Ducks.

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