Paddle float as a remount backup

4 months 3 weeks ago #31912 by SpaceSputnik
Hi

I was practicing remounts at the end of my paddle a few days ago. I was tired and the wind picked up and i was was not having a 100% success rate. I have a decent idea where my technique needs work but it got me thinking that a plan B would be nice.
When I was sea kayaking in the past we always carried paddle floats. Self rescue with a float can be less straining than a remount and it should probably work with my V7.
Basically after dumping you slide a float over a paddle blade and inflate it. Than place the paddle at 90 degrees to the boat and hook it to the foot strap with your thumb. Then remount a stabilized boat while holding the paddle in-place and with the other hand on the far side of the bucket.
A deflated float is smaller than a rolled newspaper and can go on the rear deck under bungees. Sounds like something worth trying...

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31913 by Bill L
Hi,

Although others may have differing opinions and experiences, I tend to disagree with this approach.

Surfskiing, in conditions other than calm, demands development of a “bomb-poof” remount. The paddle float, while potentially useful in some situations, would just delay your development of this potentially life-saving skill.

Yes, work on and develop the technique (in calm water) – watch the experts on the videos a hundred times and get some personal instruction if that is not enough for you.

Once you get your technique down, remember: Practicing remounts only in calm water when you are full of energy will only teach you to get good at remounting in calm water when you are full of energy, i.e., not really when you need to remount.

So you say you “were practicing remounts at the end of my paddle …. I was tired and the wind picked up”: Excellent!, that is a great time to practice. The only addition I would make is to do it right near shore, with the wind/waves pushing you towards shore if you have problems.

When I was learning all this, it appeared to me that, if it took me 3 times to remount in a given set of conditions, I was in conditions that were beyond my current skill level for the particular surfski I was in. So, back off into lesser conditions, get your remount down pat, then increase the conditions to continue developing the remount.

I realize that you could find yourself in rougher water than you originally intended; that is why it is so important, in my opinion, to gradually increase the max conditions you to which are exposed to as you learn to both paddle and remount. From my experience, you should progress to rougher water only when you get your remount down to the 1st attempt, but definitely no more than 2 trys for a given set of conditions.

It may sound difficult to believe, but remounting in eight to ten foot seas, while incredibly intimidating at the outset when beginning to surfski, is really not that hard if you work up to it.

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4 months 3 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #31914 by SpaceSputnik
I by no means mean a float as an alternative to regular remount practice. Just an insurance it cases where you otherwise would call CG.

The way I approach it is exactly like you say. I have a couple of protected spots on lake Ontario where it's mostly calm. When I end up in a bit of a chop I immediately ask myself if I can remount in this conditions and retreat accordingly.
However, it's not always predictable even with best of mindset. I continually find that even when forecast calls for a calm day, there's always local wind corridors where the conditions are not consistent with the forecast. It's easy enough to make a judgement error and end up where you really didn't intend to be. I carry a phone and a VHF radio, but rather self-rescue in this type of scenario and get the heck out.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31917 by PSwitzer
Seems like a reasonable safety measure. I'm curious though- You remount as described with the float, and then what? Generally in the rough you need to get paddling again immediately so how do you get the float off the paddle without falling in again? Unless I'm missing something, I would expect that if the conditions are rough enough to make you fall in, then it's going to be hard to just sit there and balance while you're dealing with the float. Dangling legs over the side for me is way less stable than having an unencumbered paddle in contact with the water.

But assuming you've got a workable plan for this, then yeah, go for it, and practice it lots. Years ago Rob posted a story about a guy getting overwhelmed on the Miller's run and swimming around in the dark while his buddies worried that he was a goner. Don't want to be that guy!

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4 months 3 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #31918 by SpaceSputnik
This is a very good question. You can "sort-of" paddle with the float on, but if we are talking about big conditions it may be a problem as your propulsion is severely limited. You could paddle on one side for a bit to gain some speed, but you need to get the float off soon.
Probably takes a 10-15 seconds....

So the sequence would be something like
- remount, sit up
- a stroke on one side, swing one leg over to the other side so legs out on both sides (both legs on one side is much less stable, I do agree)
- Twist off the caps to let the air out (it goes out really fast), undo the buckle, throw the deflated float into the ski,
You can take an occasional stroke on the free side to keep moving during those 10-15 seconds
- legs in, go full blast.

So, the question if you can last 10-15 seconds legs out both sides with an occasional stroke on one side. Sounds like a fighting chance to me, no?

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31919 by SpaceSputnik
Just wanted to say that in the case of a sea kayak, even a paddle float rescue takes longer. It's harder to get into that cockpit and you need to pump out the water while sitting in a boat full of water. Kayaks get a lot less stable while swamped. After you pumped all the water, which takes a long time you need to pull the skirt up. With all that, every kayaker (except greenlanders perhaps), no matter how bombproof their roll is still carries a float. It takes little space on deck and even if it covers only certain scenarios still considered worth having.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31920 by Bill L
I think I see your point, and I am not against any safety equipment, even the paddle float, but, I think the float may be providing a false sense of security. Allow me to explain –

Your ability to remount in rough water should at least equal, and preferably exceed your ability to paddle in that rough water. If it does not, and you fall out, and then use the float to get in (because perhaps you have tried remounting a couple times and cannot do it), you are still stuck in the same rough water that caused you to fall out in the first place, and so, you are quite likely to fall out again.

This could set up a cycle of falling in and remounting over and over. I suspect I do not have to tell you how exhausting multiple remount attempts in rough water can be.

I realize conditions can change quickly – I don’t know Lake Ontario but I have little doubt about what you are saying – but that only reinforces my belief that one should if possible practice in rough conditions in a “controlled” place, perhaps right off shore with an onshore wind.

If you are going far enough out where it may get dangerously rough beyond your skill level, you should not be going there, yet.

A recommendation might be to go out when there are onshore wind/waves a little stronger than what you are used to, but just go out a couple hundred yards offshore – then dump yourself, remount, repeat. Again, and again. The worst that can happen is you can’t get in and you and the boat get pushed back to shore.

When I was learning I would go a few hundred yards off shore with increasing wind and waves and paddle giant figure 8s. If I stayed in, great – I was developing paddle skills with wind and waves hitting me at all angles on the ski. If I fell out, great – I learned how to get in for that set of conditions. Either way, I could advance a bit further in rougher conditions the next time.

You will “get it” all, it just takes practice. There is no substitute for learning in rough water than by practicing in rough water.
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4 months 3 weeks ago #31921 by SpaceSputnik
Yes Bill I understand very well what you are saying about false sense of security. I withnessed it in my prior paddling in others more than once.
Just to elaborate on my own practices. The conditions I am usually in are laughable by most of you guys on this site. I am quite frankly the most cautious paddler I know :) The thought of plan B entered my head while practicing remounts not just close to shore, but also in chest deep water. I could literally walk out at any point with my boat. My success rate at that point was over 50% and most failures were when I purposely attempted to remount into the wind. So statistically I was well within 3 attempts rule. That was a good and safe learning experience. It just demonstrated how deceptive one's assessment of ones ability can be, especially at the beginning.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31923 by Fath2o
Have to agree with what Bill said.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31926 by zachhandler
That is something worth trying but I doubt it will work. The paddle with the float is a very long lever and you are trying to secure it at a single point, unlike a sea kayak where the paddle would be tucked under a couple of lines. I don’t think you have the hand strength to do this. Maybe on the flat but not in waves. Try it and report back!

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4 months 3 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #31928 by SpaceSputnik
The foot well is narrow so a blade will rest on the opposing wall creating two points of contact.
On a kayak, you do not secure a paddle under a line, you hook it on a deck line with a thumb while the blade rests on side/top of the deck. Basically the same idea, so I am optimistic.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31931 by zachhandler
Cool. Good luck with it. Be careful that you are not in a situation where the ski is getting tugged at the end of the leash by waves while you are busy using both hands to set up the paddle float. That puts a lot of strain on the leash system and if the leash goes you might be trouble.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31932 by SpaceSputnik
Good point about the leash system. Maybe hook one foot into the strap for the duration. On a kayak you usually one foot inside the hull at all times.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31936 by Wingnut
Definitely have fun trying the paddle float, I tried them when I paddled a sea kayak but found rolling much safer. I first got excited about the idea of having a surfski because of how much lighter they are than a sea kayak. But, they are not sea kayaks so I recommend being careful not to count on a self rescue technique designed for a different craft. In a sea kayak you can more easily, in my opinion, support the paddle in a stable enough position to hold the paddle with float.

David

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4 months 3 weeks ago #31948 by LakeMan
Baseball players warm up with bat weights. In the same spirit practice remounting an elite ski and it'll give you the ability to remount the V7 in any condition.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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2 months 3 days ago #32637 by SurfskiEstonia
SpaceSputnik, I had a similar idea around the time You posted this topic (like physicists getting a nobel prize for parallel research:D), with the difference of holding the flotation bag in your hand while remounting.. the bag could be tied to the vest.. so it's easy to let go and grab the paddle.

This was the first season for me to paddle offshore, before 2 seasons of back-n-forth on the beach. My usual downwind track looks like this:



In the middle section of this track I'm at an equal distance (2-3 km) from shore. I paddle a Nelo Ocean ski which I read is between V12 and V14 in terms of stability. The remount is not very gracious, but I usually manage to do it. I carry a flare and a mobile phone with me. But in case there is an emergency it may take more than half an hour for the rescue to reach me. So I was thinking about a bad scenario plan B. I don't go out with the water temp under 16*C, but as the recent case in NZ showed, that's still not warm enough.

What do You guys think about something like on this drawing below (sorry, I'm not FasterFather :D):


It could be a measure of last resort when the fatigue kicks in and the hypothermia is imminent, this could maybe save someone's life? Is this at all feasible?

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus
Attachments:

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2 months 3 days ago #32639 by SpaceSputnik
Well, I really never followed throug with the plan to try the float. My remounts improved to the point that it's not strenuous to be an issue even when tired. Having said that it's probably a lot easier in a V7.
Now I just treat fatique as one of the risk factors. After all if I go over unintentionally once I would probably go over again and basically shouldn't be where I am, so I plan to get back to the launch point earlier than the very end of my distance and rack up the remaining kms in a safe place.
Having said that, a safety device is a safety device. You could probably rig up something like what you have shown just don't know how you would attach the hinge to the hull so it takes the load.

PS Spent a few summers in Tallinn area as a kid. Love the area.
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2 months 2 days ago #32642 by SurfskiEstonia
Regarding the technical solution of this, I was thinking that it could be something that the manufactures should think about.. If there is ever enough pressure from the clientele. For now, I was thinking of the first option - tying the flotation bag to the vest and holding it with your hand. There are still a few warm water days left this season, I should try it out :)

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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