To float or not to float, that is the question

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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capsized8
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To float or not to float, that is the question

Post by capsized8 » Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:46 pm

A fairly fresh paddler arrived at the club pool session this week clutching a new foam paddle float. The purchase was made after watching Ollies DVD. If I can remember correctly, the paddle float was being demonstrated by Barry Shhhhh he who must not be named. A no mean paddler by anybodies standards. (Good luck on the forthcoming trip guys).
Needless to say it looked fairly slick and a beginner could cope with the situation.
What are the views of the mere mortals on this site.

To use or not to use.

Should self rescue techniques with no gizmos be encouraged from the start.

Im ready to duck!
peace and good padlin.

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MikeB
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Re: To float or not to float, that is the question

Post by MikeB » Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:17 pm

capsized8 wrote: Should self rescue techniques with no gizmos be encouraged from the start.
Yes. But I guess that such a thing could be a handy back-up to have.

Mike.

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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:24 am

I'll second that. Try a roll. If that fails, go for a re-entry & roll. If that fails, have a float to hand just in case.

Zoe

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tpage
Posts: 481
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Location: Glasgow

roll

Post by tpage » Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:45 am

I would agree fully with Mike and Zoe above and dont depend on a float- it will probably float away when you need it most! Join a club, get rolling in a pool- better still get a bit of whitewater river experience- it will do amazing things for your balance, reactions and rolling abilities.

I digress (as usual)....
At the momment Im reading the following book- it is a shocking report of accidents, particularly in the Pacific North West of the US.

Sea Kayaker's Deep Trouble: True Stories and Their Lessons from "Sea Kayaker" Magazine  
George Gronseth, Matt Broze

Many of the accidents have a common thread. It seem like alot of American sea kayakers who paddle in the winter using their BAs as seat backrests! Another common feature is that they cant roll, dont have sealed hatches in their kayaks and as a result they capsize, swim and then they end up messing around trying to catch gear, locate BAs and paddle floats and then try to climb back into theire sinking kayaks. Many of these kayakers are said to be experienced.
The removal of the BA is the strangest thing of all.. its seems to be the norm and there are quotes that the US Coastguard rules state that it is OK to do this but illegal to modify your BA in any way! Tony

Silverhead

Paddle floats

Post by Silverhead » Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:04 am

If you capsize in any seas, your near or above your limit. OK so you roll up, if you can. Likely you'll capsize again maybe sooner than later - you're near your limit remember! Ditto, ditto - eventually you have to bail out.

Now you either need competent mates with you ( as I was fortunate enough to have) who can give you a rafted tow or a Very Reliable Backup.

If you're using a paddle float, re-entry is not easy in seas you can cope with, let alone near your limit - I know, I've since tried it!
OK you've got back in - how're you going to get the float off the paddle and continue, in seas that are near your limit - and stay upright ? Seems unlikely to me.

Take a look at http://www.sponsonguy.comand his "Sea Wings" . Knoydart.co.uksell them.

With sponsons on I would have thought any kayak would be more stable and you'd stand a better chance of making, albeit slow, progress to safety.

Anyone tried these sponsons?

Until my skills increase I intend to stick well within my limits, and only 'push the envelope' gradually and in the company of competent mates.

Dave Thomas
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Sp**s*n*

Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:10 am

Take a look at http://www.sponsonguy.comand his "Sea Wings" . Knoydart.co.uksell them.

With sponsons on I would have thought any kayak would be more stable and you'd stand a better chance of making, albeit slow, progress to safety.

Anyone tried these sponsons?
Oh dear - here we go again!

Dave Thomas

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tpage
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Re: Paddle floats

Post by tpage » Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:19 am

[quote="Silverhead"]If you capsize in any seas, your near or above your limit. OK so you roll up, if you can. Likely you'll capsize again maybe sooner than later - you're near your limit remember! Ditto, ditto - eventually you have to bail out.

Not always the case- The only time Ive capsized was last summer- fine weather but long/big swell off staffa- rogue wave uncovered a reef and I flipped rolled up back into predictable seas.
If you have a reliable roll and good brace/support you should be able to hang on in a lot of conditions (surf is a bit different)- what are the limits to the number of times you can roll? Why is your last option to bail? Surely staying in your boat is the only real option, especially if you are near your limit-Tony

Silverhead

Paddle floats

Post by Silverhead » Thu Mar 17, 2005 11:55 am

Sorry, I must have misunderstood. I thought we were talking about backup devices when rolling, re-entry and roll, braces, whatever, were failing due to tiredness etc.

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seismicscot
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Paddle Float

Post by seismicscot » Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:09 pm

As I started my paddling on the west coast of the US, it has become a habit to carry an inflatable paddle float clipped by a lanyard to the rear of my back band. With practice, a paddle float rescue is extremely fast and efficient. Even in the roughest of water, it is easy to be back in your boat in well under a minute; practicing in the 'Red Triangle' with the added impetus of having 'Jaws' sniffing around your ankles certainly helps work on your re-entry speed! Proficiency in paddle float rescue is part of the ACA skills assessment. Like everything else, it is part of your paddling armoury and is not a replacement for a good roll, which in turn is not a replacement for a good brace....

Cheers,

Clark
Clark Fenton

Guest

sponsons

Post by Guest » Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:44 pm

QuoteS:

"Anyone tried these sponsons?"

"Oh dear - here we go again!"


I checked out the paranoia posted about "sponsonguy" in much earlier threads a few months ago. Have to agree the lad appears a real nutcase, but in my opinion he's got a good product that should not be sneered at and could save lives.

In fact the paranoia against him/his product is almost as laughable at times as his own outlandish claims. May well buy some myself as a final fall-back, esp when solo (cheaper getting them under the Feathercraft badge via Knoydart) .

Guest

Re: sponsons

Post by Guest » Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:53 am

Anonymous wrote:QuoteS:
May well buy some myself as a final fall-back, esp when solo (cheaper getting them under the Feathercraft badge via Knoydart) .
You could always splash out and buy yourself an inflatable rescue helicopter! :O)


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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:17 pm

I carry an inflatable paddle float, I've never needed it and occasionally paddle in some wild conditions but it is compact when packed and may prove useful one day.

Sponsons - do you ride a bike with stabilisers on? For the average person they are a waste of time and money and for most would detract from the experience.

I have never capsized my sea kayak except in roll practice situations, and like I say I have been out in some fairly wild conditions.

Develop the skills first but don't be scared to have backup for in the field(sea). I don't think learning to roll with a float is a good idea based on years of teaching rolling in a pool. It is actually negative to let the learner go for the brute force down pull when learning, much better to get them sweeping by guiding the paddle but not supporting it.

JIM

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Sharky
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Post by Sharky » Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:14 pm

UK perspective - Roll or drown in shame

US perspective - Use the most elaborate technique available that has either cost you loads of money, sold to you by an'expert', involves inuit heritage or is in the latest DVD

My perspective - whatever level your paddling at, get out and practice, whatever your preferred technique in a variety of conditions before you need do something for real

That way when you are floating around in the sea, in strong winds, cold and wet - the last thing you want to be figuring out is 'how do I inflate this thing' 'which strap goes where' or 'I could do this in the pool with my nose clip on'.

A good 'cold water' roll will always provide confidence in tackling various conditions but we know that our bodies have their weaknesses and a well practiced alternative provides us with a belt and braces approach

Personally, I carry my paddle float on trip because 1) it makes great back rest 2) a good picnic cushion 3) a space filler in storage areas 4) its a great teaching aid 5) I might just need it on that day when my knee, elbow, shoulder or combination there of give up on me when I'm about to do a 'bombproof' roll as i float through some overfall

As a coach i feel it is important to inform people of all the options and let them choose for themselves. The important thing is people go with works for them, be it with or without gizmos.
• aimin' to be misbehavin' •

RichardCree
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Post by RichardCree » Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:16 pm

feel i had to add a bit, paddle floats are great in flat water. in a big sea forget it, i have seen very expierenced paddlers try this in a big sea, hard hard work. i was recently capsised whilst in a rafted position both boats flipped over -so the paddle float would have been no use whatsoever - re enter and roll is the only way, learn it and practice it every time you are on the water.

however in conditions that are as described, what are you doing on your own in water that you abviously are not capable of paddling in. (that is maybee a bit harsh)

dont spend money on a paddle float pay for some decent coaching!


blow up floats however make good splints, seats, backrests and are good if you loose a hatch.

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