× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

SAFETY

12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #3644 by Tommy
SAFETY was created by Tommy
From my comments to Tom Schilperoort's survey

Much better safety is needed. I take exception to the administrator's comments in posting #806 2007 08 11 5:03 Equipment Kneestraps; (not 2007 08 15 kneestraps)
www.surfski.info/component/option,com_fi...iew/id,808/catid,17/
"...if you tip over, you just get back on." Perhaps I'm taking it out of context, but there are fatalities and near fatalities every year where people can't get back on. I have conducted research and developed methods of self rescue which follow below. I tried to enter a comment earlier and could not find the space. I repeated the survey in an attempt to find "Add Comment" and answered 2,1,2,3,2. One iteration should be deleted from statistics. For the question with my answer of : Learning was--Challenging at first but hugely rewarding.--I feel the rewards are not present unless one actually gets into and surfs wind waves. Flatwater can be appreciated in many other watercraft.

Safety-Reentry
An extreme solution would be to have a hinged cockpit wall so a swimmer could at least sit on the ski and perhaps get back in and close the "gate" and continue paddling. Of course, a paddler should be able to sit side saddle anyway; I did say extreme.

Here are some ideas I have tried and in some cases developed.

Carry thermal protective clothing and put it on if you can't get back on the ski. This experiment failed utterly. My polypro shirt twisted so one sleeve was inside out while the leashed ski yanked on my leg or beat me in the face. In most cases this would necessitate taking off the PFD for the tops and the leash for the pants.

Wrap a campmat around the paddle shaft with duct tape. This worked, but of course would only be of interest to a rank beginner to the rough conditions. You can lay across the cockpit and use the float on either side to assist balance while getting your feet back in.

Some experienced paddlers carry a paddle float to put on one end of the paddle during a self-rescue. The paddle can either be held across the deck with the float in the water, or one end under deck bungees(longitudinal cords work better) during the rescue. To get back underway,it is tricky to put the float under bungees behind you. Use a pad to protect the deck from scratches during practice.

A balloon, beachball or condom can be blown up and provide just enough flotation for balance. I find it works best held in one hand in the water, on the opposite side from my feet during a sidesaddle reentry. It is questionable if one should remove their PFD to use it as a paddle or hand float to assist reentry.

To simulate a lost paddle and broken rudder cables, I tried hand paddling and could only turn if I lay on the stern. I could not turn hand paddling from the cockpit. Of course if only one cable is broken, you may not be able to centre the rudder by hand paddling forward. I removed the rudder and could paddle (with a paddle) and steer OK, but I have years of experience in whitewater kayaks. I did not test to see if I could steer while handpaddling from the cockpit with no rudder. I'll copy and paste this in the forum under TIPS. Tom

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12 years 2 months ago #3648 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Re:SAFETY

"...if you tip over, you just get back on." Perhaps I'm taking it out of context

Slightly out of context :)

I was comparing the seriousness of falling off a surfski vis a vis falling off a sea kayak.

What I really meant was that a surfski doesn't fill with water so in theory you can just jump back on and paddle away.

As you correctly point out, however, it's often difficult to get back on - particularly in the northern hemisphere in cold conditions when paddlers are likely wearing several layers of clothing, bootees, etc.

Are knee straps the answer? The thought of having to learn to roll a ski is pretty daunting I have to say!

But then the thought of paddling in the cold north is pretty daunting too and if the choice were swimming in 1C water or equipping the ski with the means to roll...

The new Nordic Kayaks Fusion surfski has a hard top option for winter - perhaps that can be rolled? I'll find out.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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12 years 2 months ago #3649 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Re:SAFETY

The new Nordic Kayaks Fusion surfski has a hard top option for winter - perhaps that can be rolled?


From Fredrik Lindstrom: "Hi Rob, no not as is drawn now, its made for remount, therfore its very open- 90 cm long. But if we get that interest we might develop a hardtop with a smaller opning so you could roll it. But why have the self bailer and the rest of the arrangement made for surfskis if you are comfortable with a roll?"

www.nordickayaks.se/

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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12 years 2 months ago #3650 by philipnye
Replied by philipnye on topic Re:SAFETY
robin.mousley wrote:

What I really meant was that a surfski doesn't fill with water so in theory you can just jump back on and paddle away...

A sea kayak invariably has bulkheads front and back and, unless loaded with equipment, isn't hard to empty from the water. Getting back in alone is another matter!

Are knee straps the answer? The thought of having to learn to roll a ski is pretty daunting I have to say!

There seem to be two paddling traditions - those who lock in (white water, traditional sea kayaks) and those who drive the legs with the stroke (marathon, flatwater, surfski, modern racing sea kayaks). Rightly or wrongly, those from the latter tradition don't learn or expect to roll and the boats don't have any facitilty for it. So concentrating on re-mounting techniques and on boat features which facilitate handling and re-mounting from in the water seems much more productive. My own bugbears are the lack of any anchor point at the bows (makes towing the ski whilst swimming or from another ski impossible) and ultra smooth designs which lack any sort of grip from in the water.

The new Nordic Kayaks Fusion surfski has a hard top option for winter - perhaps that can be rolled? I'll find out.

There are a few fast sea kayaks where there is cockpit space to paddle with a good leg drive but which can still be gripped with the knees and rolled if necessary, but these are not common and seem to get less so.

Ease of re-entry notwithstanding, rolling is always far quicker so given any sort of cockpit which can be sealed with a spraydeck, adding some sort of knee grip off to the sides away from the normal knees together position seems a win.

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12 years 2 months ago #3651 by StuartXpat
Replied by StuartXpat on topic Re:SAFETY
I hate to sound harsh, but if you can't remount quickly, accurately and consistently, you have no business being at sea in a surfski.

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12 years 2 months ago - 12 years 2 months ago #3659 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re:SAFETY
I can't see any good reason why someone would choose to equip their ski to be roll-able, even in cold air and cold water. The beauty of the ski design is that it's 'not' roll-able, i.e. you don't have to turn upside down to get right side up again.

Rolling is far quicker? Maybe compared to a wet exit from a sea kayak - but I can jump off my ski and be back in the bucket in under 10 seconds; half that time in a ski with lower gunwales. What does a roll take? 5 seconds? And your head is 2 feet underwater during that time? That's hardly much of a time difference. And, I'd rather keep my head above water.

Any part of a ski that enables it to be roll-able, i.e. sprayskirt, thigh or knee straps, etc, are going to get in the way of proper remount when you blow a roll and have to get back on the traditional way - and it will happen - so I'd consider the "ski-yak" less safe than a regular ski.

Leave the rolling to the whitewater folks with helmets who paddle on foot-trapping rocky rivers.

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12 years 2 months ago #3662 by philipnye
Replied by philipnye on topic Re:SAFETY
nell wrote:

... I can jump off my ski and be back in the bucket in under 10 seconds; half that time in a ski with lower gunwales...

Wow - in cold 2m seas and strong winds, or in the warm and calm? I invariably fall out on the "wrong" side and have to swim under the ski before remounting anyway! Perhaps we should give up LD racing and have exit-remount races. First to 50 remounts...

But I agree with you - I certainly don't advocate rolling a ski, let alone fitting a cockpit cover or other equipment simply so that it can be rolled. My point was that where the boat does have an enclosed cockpit (off topic on this site really) it does make sense for them to be rollable - largely because such boats are far harder to remount than a ski.

The Nordic Kayaks cockpit cover is not intended as a safety feature but it does blur the distinction between sit-in and sit-on boats.

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12 years 2 months ago #3666 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re:SAFETY
Philip, I think we all agree with you that any boat that has an enclosed type cockpit needs to be roll-able, or else it doesn't belong at sea.

I can see some utility in a cockpit "hood" that is easily removable for us cold weather paddlers because usually the first thing that gets numb is the feet from wind exposure. It would have to be easily removable (while in the water) or else be designed so that it is out of the way of a reentry.

Ok, I exaggerated a bit with the times for reentry into my mid-depth seat bucket ski, but they are close to that on a lower gunwale ski. The funny thing about reentries from the water, though, is that oftentimes, they seem to be easier on rough water compared to calm water. However, there are exceptions to this: The longer a remount takes in general, the lower the likelihood of it being successful; higher gunwales = problems for many paddlers regarding time to remount; Succeeding reentry attempts have lower and lower probability of success; if you get hypothermic or exhausted before you capsize, then reentry times are significantly prolonged. Cheers, Erik

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12 years 2 months ago #3670 by garykroukamp
Replied by garykroukamp on topic Re:SAFETY
For deep buckets/high gunwales the side saddle re-entry is much easier than trying to straddle. The crucial thing is to practice it.

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12 years 2 months ago #3672 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Re:SAFETY
garykroukamp wrote:

For deep buckets/high gunwales the side saddle re-entry is much easier than trying to straddle.


Hey Gary... Maybe my arse is bigger than yours, but I find deep bucket skis (like my Mako Elite) much more difficult to get into side-saddle.

In contrast, the lower rails of the Red7 Surf70 Pro make it a lot easier (for me) to do side-saddle.

I also find the side-saddle method much slower than straddle, so my default re-entry style is now straddle...

The crucial thing is to practice it.


Too right... I believe the guys who train with Dean Gardiner do some practice re-entries every time they train. Worth thinking about.

Here's our article on re-entry:

www.surfski.info/content/view/421/97/

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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