Not managing to pull a spraydeck

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andynormancx
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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by andynormancx » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:36 pm

andynormancx wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:24 pm
It is worth practicing removing your deck without using the loop/tab, you never know when you might leave it tucked in or it might fail when you pull it. You can remove most decks (but probably not the very tightest) by getting your fingers under the deck along the side of the cockpit and peeling it off.
I unexpectedly had to put this into practice last week. I was doing a bit of surfing in Cornwall (my first time on a proper surf beach), when I capsized, failed to roll a couple of times and then found my spraydeck tab wasn't out when I came to "pull" it.

It was a bit of a shock, but I thought "no problem, I've practiced this". The actuality of releasing it without the tab was much harder than when I'd practiced it.

I ran my hands down the side to cockpit and did my best to get my fingers under the cord. It was much tighter than when I'd practiced though and it took like what felt like seconds of fumbling to finally release it (I expect in reality it was all over and done with in a second).

The reason it was harder than when I'd practiced was that I'd just been hit by a breaking wave, which had pushed in my spraydeck, forming a split vacuum within the boat. I had to work against that vacuum, as well as the water pressure and the elastic of the deck.

I suspect if I'd have had cold fingers that it would have been even harder. Next recourse would have been my knife to puncture the deck and release the vacuum.

As to why my tab was tucked in, I'm still not sure. I've never failed to leave the tab out before.

I did get hit by a few waves, which partially popped my deck. I had fiddled with the deck to check how much water I had in the boat, so maybe I managed to tuck the tab in when I did that.

I'll certainly be trying to be even more careful about my tab and I think I might practice releasing without the tab a bit more often.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by TechnoEngineer » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:50 pm

I think I've seen it mentioned around here some time ago that some people have put webbing over the cockpit coaming so they can pull on it to release a spraydeck from the side.
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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by WaterStillScaresMe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:15 pm

No you're not unlucky.

I'm not a prolific paddler. I've spent most of my time in 'safe' water (often still water). I've seen this happen 3 times that I can remember. All in still water.

1) First proper class I taught where I was in charge of the class. All went well except this. Last person doing their first ever capsize. Teenage boy. Exceedingly uncoordinated. I was supervising carefully. I didn't do anything much different to what I'd do nowadays - I don't think I made any mistakes (that anyone would recognise) - this wasn't due to my inexperience. But he simply panicked and waved his hands around in the air rather than doing anything useful. Nobody had taught me the hand of god rescue as far as I remember, but being cautiously minded I'd done a good amount of reading. It worked. The only things I changed after this were that instead of telling people I could rescue them fairly easily (as I'd said to this boy) I instead began telling them that while rescuing them could be done it carries some risk of injuring both me and them - and I also got more careful about making sure that at least one other competent person was in attendance for first capsizes. Maybe if I'd left him long enough he'd eventually have remembered what to do - that was suggested to me I think - but I don't think it was worth the risk.

2) Playing polo (outdoors). I happened to be temporarily on the bank rather than in a boat. New participant (but not a particularly new paddler). Reportedly quite experienced enough to easily cope with this environment. But she'd put neoprene (or similar) gloves on. She couldn't find the tab. Being cautiously minded I tend to watch carefully if someone I don't know capsizes for the first time in my presence. Fortunately I watched her from the moment she went over. The rescue involved jumping in beside her - was simply and quickly achieved - but she was appropriately utterly terrified by the experience. I don't remember her coming back to the club.

3) Playing polo (outdoors). Newcomer. While perhaps not an 'expert' had reportedly had done lots of relatively decent white water paddling. I see no reason to doubt that. Once again, I was on the bank - although I don't remember if this time I had to jump in. After we got him out the water he told us that he never bothered pulling the tab on the deck in his white water boat - he just popped it with his knees. The polo boat was a significantly tighter fit and this simply wasn't possible and he hadn't realised.

And yes of course I've also pulled someone over to the bank with a shout to them while happening to walk by for unconnected reasons - to tell them that I've noticed that the tab on the deck is under the deck not exposed. They were grateful.

Despite my username being WaterStillScaresMe none of these incidents freaked me out - they just confirmed to me that even the very safest environments (as perceived by more experienced paddlers) actually aren't at all 'safe' as such. When I teach beginners (although I haven't taught a class for some years now) I don't let people out of my sight (or that of an assistant) until at the very least I've seen them capsize once and come out without a panic. I'd certainly insist on a second capsize without any signs of panic before approving use of a spraydeck on even flat water in a semi-supervised situation. And I no longer accept any assurance that people will fall out of their boat. Or that those long laces probably won't catch on something. Or that they'll probably pull harder on the tab if they're really under water. Sure, most people will be ok - most will fall out the boat - most laces won't catch - most often someone will get there in time - but those aren't good enough odds.

People make mistakes - some of them are surprising - some of them are unusual. What I find myself thinking is this: more experienced people have the right to take risks at the level they choose. Beginners are relying on those who teach them to teach even the very simplest risks that they are taking. I reason that one of the most important lessons I do my best to teach is that a person should actually touch the spraydeck tab once to check it's there - not just look at it - before they set off. Not only is that a good thing to do for their immediate safety (they're relatively likely to notice a problem with gloves even), but also such a practice can be introduced as an introduction to managing risk... the message is: even a simple paddle on flat water is best done with respect for the water - and here's a very-simple no-fuss no-stress routine-thing you can do which will take half a second and which will reduce the risk of making one of the simple mistakes which you could make which could kill you.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by TechnoEngineer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:09 am

gp.girl wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:36 pm
What does everyone one else do when doing spray deck training?
One thing I make a real point of doing is to ensure that someone capsizes involuntarily. I often find they're OK when they choose to go in, but freak out when it happens accidentally. My favourite exercise is to get them to paddle forwards, pick up some speed, then reverse-sweep into a bongo-slide. Most of them will not lean in and go over. A few may lean over too much and fall in. With one person I engaged them in conversation and pushed them in mid-sentence ;)
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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by andynormancx » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:26 am

TechnoEngineer wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:09 am
With one person I engaged them in conversation and pushed them in mid-sentence ;)
Unless you are very, very, very sure you know the person in question then that is a very bad idea.

My wife picked up a serious fear of drowning 20 years ago. For years she couldn't go near any sort of moving water.

When I got interested in kayaking she decided to sort the problem out and worked really hard for several years to reduce her fear (so she could also paddle). But although she is much much better, that fear is still lurking there under the surface. And sometimes it comes back to the surface, leading to a rabbit-in-the-headlights response to even mild water conditions.

Many coaches, even when we explain her background in detail, don't "get" the level of fear she has/had. Until they see it come back to the surface, they just don't understand it (some of them don't even get it then).

She has things under control enough that we don't spend five minutes explaining all the background every time we paddle with someone new.

If you did this trick to my wife, not knowing the full detail of her background, you would terrorise her and likely put her back years.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by TechnoEngineer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:32 pm

I take your point. Yes it was an ex-girlfriend ;) The look of shock on her face as she went in is embedded in my memory :)

Generally a coach can spot a nervous paddler a mile off, although I have experienced some who put a "confident face" on and complain later about being asked to do something they didn't really want to despite their apparent bravado.
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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by gp.girl » Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:19 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:09 am
gp.girl wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:36 pm
What does everyone one else do when doing spray deck training?
One thing I make a real point of doing is to ensure that someone capsizes involuntarily. I often find they're OK when they choose to go in, but freak out when it happens accidentally. My favourite exercise is to get them to paddle forwards, pick up some speed, then reverse-sweep into a bongo-slide. Most of them will not lean in and go over. A few may lean over too much and fall in. With one person I engaged them in conversation and pushed them in mid-sentence ;)
Will add the surprise capsize although in the pool there's often polo and bracing to help with this.

The only time I scared my trainer was a planned capsize - I went over, froze and just stayed under until I bailed, long enough later that he'd started worrying. I'd already managed it properly outside without safety, training or practice. It was a huge and unpleasent surprise when I found out that people actually have trouble pulling the deck!
TechnoEngineer wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:32 pm
I take your point. Yes it was an ex-girlfriend ;) The look of shock on her face as she went in is embedded in my memory :)

Generally a coach can spot a nervous paddler a mile off, although I have experienced some who put a "confident face" on and complain later about being asked to do something they didn't really want to despite their apparent bravado.
I get quite a few nervous scouts, will always push them to a reasonable point and then end it there unless they positively volunteer to go further. Whats odd is the number that seem surprised when I stop at that point. How many times have they been pushed further and further? How many people tricked them into falling in when they don't want to rather then do something challenging but keep it dryish?
I can roll :)

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by Dave Manby » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:05 pm

Many years ago c.1971 I just taken up C1 slalom, C1s had an almost perfectly circular cockpit and I had a tight nylon spraydeck. I capsised at Marsh Lock slalom, tried and failed to roll and went to pull the becket (that is what the tab is called!), it came of in my hand leaving the deck in place. I exited the boat via the spraydeck tube, leaving the deck on the boat.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by Kronos56 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:00 am

No tab just put your knee up into the middle of deck and it will pop off.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:50 am

Kronos56 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:00 am
No tab just put your knee up into the middle of deck and it will pop off.
That wont work for everyone, I cant lift my knees out of the cockpit as my legs are too long. It also depends on boat design.
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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by MaverickvRS » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:15 am

gp.girl wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:19 pm

The only time I scared my trainer was a planned capsize - I went over, froze and just stayed under until I bailed, long enough later that he'd started worrying. I'd already managed it properly outside without safety, training or practice. It was a huge and unpleasent surprise when I found out that people actually have trouble pulling the deck!
One of my other leaders said he was a second away from hand of god the other day - despite not being a coach himself!! I rolled in an "alien" boat for the first time and had some "issues" with backdeck. Failed the first 2 attempts and was up on the third. I had plenty of time but he got scared I wasn't getting up properly.

The boat in question was a Jackson Rockstar L - slightly too wide for me and didn't have my usual connectivity!!

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by andynormancx » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:01 am

Mark Gawler wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:50 am
Kronos56 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:00 am
No tab just put your knee up into the middle of deck and it will pop off.
That wont work for everyone, I cant lift my knees out of the cockpit as my legs are too long. It also depends on boat design.
I can confirm that, I've tried with three different spray decks in a variety of boats. I can never release the spraydeck using my knee(s). I'm six-two but have long lower legs (which also makes finding boats that fit me a challenge*).

* I'll always be hearing, "you're about my height, you'll fit fine", only to sit in the boat and demonstrate that I don't fit :(

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by Kronos56 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:07 pm

if you can lift your legs to get in you should be able to lift them to get out.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:16 pm

Kronos56 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:07 pm
if you can lift your legs to get in you should be able to lift them to get out.
It doesn’t work like that, when you are tall you have to sit on the back deck and slide in with your legs straight, getting out is the reverse of the entry procedure. I have found that many WW decks are sufficiently strong as to stop you sliding backwards to release you’re knees.
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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by Jim » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:35 pm

Kronos56 wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:07 pm
if you can lift your legs to get in you should be able to lift them to get out.

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Some people and/or some cockpit designs do not allow knees up at all, even getting in and out requires straight knees and sliding in and out from the rear.

However for most normally proportioned people paddling creek boats, it should be possible to get your knees up, since cockpits were re-thought about 15-20 years ago when creek boats started to be properly developed specifically to enable this as a safety feature, it will still depend on the type of spraydeck through, I wouldn't recommend relying on it unless it has a knee release strap properly adjusted to ensure it will peel the sides off when you push your knees against it.

A lot of examples here seem to involve polo - I can't think of any polo kayak where average or bigger people can pop their knees up, small people can and do - there is nothing more annoying than a small person popping a knee out to sponge their boat out between halves whilst the rest of us are struggling to do it with both legs in the way and without wobbling far enough to let more in than we can sponge out! :)

You also haven't considered C1 paddlers whost knees are strapped into the boat. I don't know how Dave wriggled of the body tube in an old style slalom C1, I find it difficult enough wriggling out of my straps in a modern large cockpit C1 after I've taken the deck off, those tiny cockpits left virtually no wiggle room even without the spray deck tube stopping your from sliding back, and they didn't strap in any less tight in those days (in fact I can recall people using roof rack straps whenver they broke a quick release buckle). Converting kayaks to C1 is a growing niche these days, both playboats and creek boats, but it makes no difference how big the cockpit is, you can't push your knees through the deck if they are strapped down to the hull! Using a bulkhead instead of straps makes things a little easier - you don't usually have to slide back so far to get out, but still going to be difficult with the deck on.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by TheEcho » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:29 pm

MaverickvRS wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:15 am
One of my other leaders said he was a second away from hand of god the other day
If we are digressing into “how to scare a coach” stories, I did that once at a pool session. I took a polo boat that was nice and easy to roll, took a big breath and had a first bash at a weird Greenland roll I had seen in a video - place the paddle at 90 degrees to the boat and try and get up by prying the paddle off the boat and finishing forward. I had zero success despite at some point casting the paddle aside altogether and basically hanging upside down for a while replaying the video in my mind, moving my arms around and trying to puzzle out where everything went. Finally I gave up, grabbed the paddle and rolled up normally, to be greeted on the surface by a kid with eyes like saucers and a very puzzled coach saying “Oh, you CAN roll!”. Turned out that my underwater wiggling was like no roll attempt the coach had ever seen, enough to wonder if I had ever even capsized a boat before, and he had got as far as telling the kid he was coaching to move out of the way because he was about to jump in to rescue me.

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Re: Not managing to pull a spraydeck

Post by gp.girl » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:50 pm

TheEcho wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:29 pm
MaverickvRS wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:15 am
One of my other leaders said he was a second away from hand of god the other day
If we are digressing into “how to scare a coach” stories, I did that once at a pool session. I took a polo boat that was nice and easy to roll, took a big breath and had a first bash at a weird Greenland roll I had seen in a video - place the paddle at 90 degrees to the boat and try and get up by prying the paddle off the boat and finishing forward. I had zero success despite at some point casting the paddle aside altogether and basically hanging upside down for a while replaying the video in my mind, moving my arms around and trying to puzzle out where everything went. Finally I gave up, grabbed the paddle and rolled up normally, to be greeted on the surface by a kid with eyes like saucers and a very puzzled coach saying “Oh, you CAN roll!”. Turned out that my underwater wiggling was like no roll attempt the coach had ever seen, enough to wonder if I had ever even capsized a boat before, and he had got as far as telling the kid he was coaching to move out of the way because he was about to jump in to rescue me.
A friend did the opposite after wedging himself into a medium rockstar ( normally paddles a monstar) A few capsizes and some paddle flailing later he bails. Well alright pulls the deck and wiggles himself out of the boat. This takes a while! In the meantime a new paddler asks my OH if he's going to help, to which he replied give it a bit longer as he hasn't tapped and anyway it's not been that long. He would have helped if needed :) There's something funny about putting the largest possible person in the smallest possible boat and watching the results, OH was very happy when he managed to get all 90kg into a Jackson 2Fun. Not one I get to play unless there's a kiddies boat handy....
I can roll :)

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