The debate about PFDs

6 years 9 months ago #23426 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic The debate about PFDs
Swimming with a paddle ?
I am sure you guys will come up with a clever way to attach your paddle to your PFD so that it becomes very "secure" - all the while your boat is saying "bye-bye". That's probably okay, because you have other safety equipment that will allow you to get boats, jet skis and helicopters to hover over you for a direct pickup.

I just dump the thing and swim like a bat out of hell. I hope for the best, I don't give up, but I am ready for the worst (swimming back to shore).

One person on here will think:
"man… no way… that's expansive".
Yes, it is expansive. On rare occasions, you can paddle your ski with your hands back to your paddle. Other times, you've just lost $500 (right there, on the spot).

That's usually still cheaper than jet fuel looking for a Bobing paddler that they can't find any way.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 9 months ago - 6 years 9 months ago #23428 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic The debate about PFDs
Thought I'd chime in here, ready to be flamed. I have a different view on why "we" bother with safety equipment - helmets on motorbikes, gloves in professional MMA, PFDs?


tl;dr
I believe I have a social contract of responsibility to the next generation of paddlers, to keep them safe until they are able to make their own decisions.

....

Think about the kids. The younger ones with very little understanding of risks involved in paddling. The ones that lack judgement, but who look up to their idols.

I'm talking about the young guys and girls who will copy what they see.


....

Consider Cape Town boy, John, sees some top paddlers at every race wearing bright orange PFDs, and wearing leg leashes. Wants to be like them and do Millers Runs in 30+knots of wind a few km off shore.

John goes out on a Millers Run, his boat bursts at the seams around Roman Rock lighthouse. His PFD keeps him afloat, and the bright orange is what NSRI sees when they are trying to rescue him.

John would never have been able to swim 5km back in 5m swells on that day.

....

Consider French-Hawaiian boy, Jean, grows up watching tourfr and other non-PFD wearers. Wants to be just like them, and soon learns that cool kids don't need bright flotation devices to paddle 5miles offshore.

Jean's boat bursts on a particularly big Millers, and he has nothing to keep him afloat. He has nothing bright on him to be spotted from the air. (I'm unsure where he kept his phone or flare, but I keep mine in my PFD)

Jean does not get rescued by NSRI, they just couldn't see him down there.

....

So if you've read this far, the point I'm trying to make is: would you be able to live with yourself knowing that Jean copied your actions and died.

I'm quite sure I would live with myself if I set the example for John.

The bigger picture here is not about preaching to all of us on the forum, we are the choir, we are already waterloving macho indestructible He-Men who never fall out of the boats, not even on 30knot 5m downwinds, right?

The bigger picture is that we have inexperienced individuals looking up to us, who want to be as cool as we are.

I believe I have a social contract of responsibility to the next generation of paddlers, to keep them safe until they are able to make their own decisions.
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6 years 9 months ago #23429 by paddler4christ
Replied by paddler4christ on topic The debate about PFDs
also remember that in hot conditions if you exempt certain paddlers from using PFD's then they have the advantage of not getting as hot, which could earn them an unfair advantage... the only way to make it fair would be to have everyone in the same boat.... either with PFD or without... if you go without then more people are going to end up in trouble, as Lifesaving doesnt test everyone's swimming anymore as Surfski paddling is o longer administrated by lifesaving.

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6 years 9 months ago #23430 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic The debate about PFDs
Sorry mate, thanks for the post but mistake - the bigger thank you was Ric's ballsy post above - you posted as I thanked the last post.
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6 years 9 months ago - 6 years 9 months ago #23434 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic The debate about PFDs
Ric: There's no denying that you make valid points, and that they should at least be taken under consideration. Others, like myself, may have different a reasoning:

Mostly: Younger paddler need to understand, learn and experience before venturing on their own. We should be concentrating on teaching them rescue techniques (yes, including self rescue).

It's another subject, but parents should be purchasing surfskis, and parents should be placing the younger paddler in a paddling school (for safety sake). After all, you don't copy my skiing gear choice and then just go skiing, or do ya ?

Your valid points miss a big point:
I wouldn't want my kid on a surfski in the middle of the ocean with zero, one or two PFDs. He's just not ready, but at least he knows NOT TO COPY ME like a cheep, because he's a human being.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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6 years 9 months ago #23435 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic The debate about PFDs
Tourfr I was thinking about the mechanics of the remount with PFD when one is shorter. I know when I started carrying a bulky VHF radio in the front pocket of my PFD, I missed my first remount because the bulk of the radio got in the way. So clearly you have a point, However, In my case I simply adjusted my technique slightly and got in the boat on the next try and it hasn't been an issue since.

As I was thinking about it, I thought of all the short women I have seen remount a ski with PFD no problems. A lot of them are 5'6" or less. Some of them have the added bulk of breasts to contend with, and most of them don't have the upper body strength of an average male paddler. If you were not fit that would be one explanation, but per your description it sounds like you are this amazing athlete and swimmer. And with a weight of 120 pounds it's not that you are too fat or have man boobs or a belly to get in the way.

So I think it must just be a technique thing. Maybe you just aren't good at remounting with a PFD because you never do it? You probably just need to practice. Next time there is an international event in France you could ask one of the elite women how they do it. In my experience all the pro paddlers are very approachable and happy to help people out.

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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6 years 9 months ago #23436 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic The debate about PFDs
ohhhhh… that's so nice Zach. Cheers, because you probably nailed it.
The bulkiness of the PFD / remounting is only one of many problems associated with wearing a PFD. Judging from the selfishness of many paddlers that I have met, you probably never have to worry about other problems, like rescuing others in a hurry (while you are wearing a vest).

Try it with a PFD, then give me a call.

Granted, you are funny.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 9 months ago #23437 by Joseph
Replied by Joseph on topic The debate about PFDs
G' Day,

Sorry I started this, but it will bring out the crazy new to surf ski people out of the pond maybe having the open mind to learn, few that right on these sites speak about time on a Ski and less about were they play, there is a world of diff, in a Guy or Gal out in a pond paddling a few days a week 6 months a year and a run on the coast of S. Africa, or Hawaii or maybe even Fl. in a N. West run on the Gulf and I have done all even Alaska in my 23+ years using a Surf Ski. and there is one hell of a diff, in these places, doing a Gulf of Mexico run in a 2 to 4 Swell or slop & chop with 70+ deg. water 70+ air about and a guy in North or winter land land in Dec, on 43 deg. water and -35deg temp on a ski in a dry suit UG! I still ask why, there is com-Sense Point if the brain is in gear to not paddle a Surf Ski on ICE Water.
I lived in cold world a Sailed and use sea Kayaks with winter gear on and able to roll in most water most of my paddle life, but a Ski as said before is a warm of air and water unit.
Swimming a way we find works most of the time on open water is if a paddle leash is used it is from the wing to in my case the foot strap not my body windy day washed out of your Ski most time is over in high wing and sea with a paddle around it or dragging it will slow the Ski down being able to Swim a 50 or 100 ft. after saying that I use a Leash very little after watching a friend pull out a hip in surf. a swimming sprint is nice but in chop very hard but most of the time the Ski is got to, no one can swim well at Sea with a P.F.D. on. bad days all of us should paddle with a Mate so as to look after each other. I can swim well with a Stormy Sea's p.f.d. I have had for 20 + years it can be inflated a bit by mouth or if needed a CO-2 cart, but if full in-flat it also Sucks big time, the only problem I find on windy days is I have to tape the loose back with a bit of duct tape to keep it from catching air. I also have a Dean G. p.f.d. I did cut a bit of foam from the chest to make if more comfortable for my self. P.F.D's are not good in Hot weather no way they will contain body heat Fact. in 23 years of open water paddling I would fig, I have used them 12/15 times most when I am alone doing a west run and have to go out 4/5 miles on the Gulf and no one is about. I try to stay most time with in a 1/2 mile of our beach coast some thing I can Swim un less out cold.
New to Ski paddlers on Main land u.s. really have few people to learn open water Ski use from the past 10/15 or so years, we also knew Shit about Surf Skis when we started, we did have Ski people that were open water paddlers for 10/20 years to help us but the real help came from OZ land when they had the worlds beach comp here in FL. the OZ team paddlers were Just great at spending time with us even sitting on a Pub Bar stool with a broom handle, we found falling off a bar stool far more danger than falling in the Sea.
It is Sad to read some of the useless B.S. that is on most any Surf Ski sites today Jeez what crap, you want to learn to use and take care of your self save your money Go to Hawaii, S. Africa or Oz land learn about water and how to use it, Paddling is a bit Like Fighting most and one can learn to fight a little but Fighters are born not made in a Gym, if as a little shit you were dragged up around a beach town by Mom & Dad boating Swimming Sailing, fishing, surfing, sitting on a Beach some were just looking at the Sea or beach break learning you may start to understand what it is to be on the waters of the world in or on any thing.

Cheers Joseph

Joseph

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6 years 9 months ago #23438 by goofish
Replied by goofish on topic The debate about PFDs
Wow. Ok, first, Joseph, try posting when you're sober next time. I suspect that most folks calling for the optional use of PFDs during races are not race directors. Race directors, most of whom are volunteers, a have million things to worry about. Most of all, they worry about the safety of the race participants. There is a pit in your stomach until all racers cross the finish line safety. If requiring the use of a PFD makes the odds slightly better that ALL participants will finish safely, the decision has to be…wear the PFD.
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6 years 9 months ago #23439 by ionas
Replied by ionas on topic The debate about PFDs
I see that a lot of energy is being wasted on PFD's becoming optional, so that super macho guys can trouble rescue services....
In our club (organiser of the Aegean Race), NO-ONE goes outside the 500 yard distance from the club without one.... if you break the rule, you are OUT!!!! of the team, fist time is a warning, second BYE-BYE....
As for racing, PFD's WERE, ARE AND WILL BE MANDATORY... even for pre race training....
So all this discussion is POINTLESS, with the exception of the discussion of suicidal tendencies....
You all macho persons forget that after one hour of competition level paddling, your body is much weaker than you think, and most accidents will and do occur in the late parts of the race, when brain-body coordination is at its weakest, and the pfd there, really saves lives....
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6 years 9 months ago #23440 by Hiro
Replied by Hiro on topic The debate about PFDs

You all macho persons forget that (...) most accidents will and do occur (...) when brain-body coordination is at its weakest


Here Ionas makes the assumption that every paddler has a brain... After reading this thread I strongly disagree with this opinion !
B)
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6 years 9 months ago #23443 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic The debate about PFDs

Younger paddler need to understand, learn and experience before venturing on their own. We should be concentrating on teaching them rescue techniques (yes, including self rescue).

It's another subject, but parents should be purchasing surfskis, and parents should be placing the younger paddler in a paddling school (for safety sake).


tourfr, yes, I think we agree on a lot of issues. Thanks for keeping your posts above board with all the chaos going on on this thread.

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6 years 9 months ago #23444 by PaddleFaster
Replied by PaddleFaster on topic The debate about PFDs
Third beer just opened up...<guzzle>

This debate about rules and regulations in regards to PFDs being used in the competitive sport of surfski racing, is starting to sound like those discusssions of patriotic, law abiding folk that defend their gawd given right to carry guns, or ride their Harley without a helmet, because, gosh darn it, they pay taxes...

Hey, if you personally feel that you are Neptune himself and that you have the ability to swim, swim... swim, swim, swim, like a graceful and elegant water-ballerina, feel free to go out in the morn and paddle your surfski whilst completely nekid; covered only in glistening, golden honey... ( Makes a lousy sunblock. Don’t ask how I know. )

But, when it comes to signing up and racing in an organized event. It’s not about you. It’s about the rules, regulations and guidelines of the event that are set up to optimize safety and fairness in competition, for everyone that participates in the event, as well as"you."

Even though elite means that one is undoubtedly very special..

It’s still not about your years of being a lifeguard in the tropics, saving damsels in distress and acquiring your rockin’ tan. It’s not about you being on the water for decades developing your mad Aquaman skills while neglecting your Rosetta Stone disks. It’s not about anyone’s devilishly handsome, blond-haired Nordic forefathers, spending hundreds of years, traveling over the sea, to party with really hot, sultry-eyed, dark-haired lasses, whilst swinging about their swords in an embarrassingly drunken fashion. (Shame on you great-grandfather!)

( Someone throw on an inspiring piece of music right here to play in the background for this next part...)

It’s about the big picture... It’s about the surfski community and the legitimacy of surfski racing itself, as it attempts to grow into a recognized and respected, international sport.

Above all else, it’s about setting a foundation for the future. A foundation that brings about heightened safety and interest in the sport, as well as paddling equality for all!

(End music)

Damn it! Beer is empty again! It's a vicious cycle.
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6 years 9 months ago #23445 by boss
Replied by boss on topic The debate about PFDs
With most paddlers being older and having children, what conditions/rules do we want in place to best protect them if they take up the challenge of ocean paddling?

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6 years 9 months ago #23448 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic The debate about PFDs

But, when it comes to signing up and racing in an organized event. It’s not about you. It’s about the rules, regulations and guidelines of the event that are set up to optimize safety and fairness in competition, for everyone that participates in the event, as well as"you."

It’s about the big picture... It’s about the surfski community and the legitimacy of surfski racing itself, as it attempts to grow into a recognized and respected, international sport.

Above all else, it’s about setting a foundation for the future. A foundation that brings about heightened safety and interest in the sport, as well as paddling equality for all!


^^^ This is the entire point of this thread very well summed up into a neat paragraph. Well said

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
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6 years 9 months ago #23452 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic The debate about PFDs
PaddleFaster also wrote:

It’s still not about your years of being a lifeguard in the tropics, saving damsels in distress and acquiring your rockin’ tan. It’s not about you being on the water for decades developing your mad Aquaman skills while neglecting your Rosetta Stone disks. It’s not about anyone’s devilishly handsome, blond-haired Nordic forefathers, spending hundreds of years, traveling over the sea, to party with really hot, sultry-eyed, dark-haired lasses, whilst swinging about their swords in an embarrassingly drunken fashion. (Shame on you great-grandfather!)

Then I wrote, well after getting somewhat inebriated,

"God dam dude, you must have red my bio." :lol:
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6 years 9 months ago #23467 by PaddleFaster
Replied by PaddleFaster on topic The debate about PFDs
I'm going to throw this up here, please excuse the length of it. But sometimes you just feel a need to say something and doing so the way you want to, simply takes time...

First, I'd like to say a very genuine and sincere humble thank you. Not only for those of you that took the the time to even read my post, but also for accepting both it's attempt at light hearted-humor, knuckle-headed humor, as well as the more serious opinions I hoped to share within the humor... Again, thanks!

The second comment I would like to make, is in regards to the tragic loss of Mark Feather.

To his acquaintances, family, friends --and those that simply feel that paddling a surfski means that they belong to a community that includes one and all-- I offer my sincerest and most genuine heartfelt condolences.

I have never had the pleasure of meeting Mark, communicating with Mark, paddling with Mark, or of ever before even hearing his name. But because I share a passion that he shared, within a community that he belonged to, I think that I, like many, feel a sense of grief, compassion, empathy and sadness, over his loss...

Personally, I believe that tragedies that reach out and lay their hands on people such as Mark, are often life's way of presenting a learning tool for all those that are willing to listen to the lesson.

In my mind, people such as Mark Feather, stand as a certain type of humble, unrecognized, hero.
I know this may sound like a bit much to some, But please, let me explain...

I feel that this is the case, because a singular story such as Mark's, most often makes a significant impact, as a larger group of people empathize, soul-search,think,and above all else, modify their behavior.

I know many people wouldn't really want to tie Mark's story into this debate of PFD use during organized competition. Probably thinking that his story really has absolutely nothing to do at all with them, or their personal preference, of not wearing a PFD.

But to me personally, his story does directly relate to this discussion, for the exact reasons I stated above... It has made many of us think. It has made us all empathize with his family and friends. It has even made many of us soul-search to the point where we may consider modifying our own behavior. But most of all, it has made many of us globally, that share the passion of surfski paddling, feel as if we have all lost something, and for that reason, a little bit more of a genuine international community. Not just the surfski racing community, but a global, surfski- paddling community, in general.

I was thinking about this subject after I read Tim Hookin’s special tribute article on this sites front page, followed by Robin’s initial post at the beginning of this thread...

How better could the surfski racing community come together and honor the memory of one it's own than to learn something of value from the experience? It would be an appropriate course of action to stand up in the here and now and say that going forward, the issue of personal safety during a race will be considered paramount to all else.

Paramount above our sometimes meaningless and selfish individual preferences...

Paramount above the perceived possibility of being a tenth of a second faster every 1000 strokes...

Paramount above the possibility of the awarding of trophies won in the heat of battle...

The international surfski community would basically be declaring that from this day forward, participant-safety will always be the first and foremost issue addressed within the guidelines that govern every race.

I think that many within the surfski paddling community will agree that simply honoring the memory of a guy like Mark Feather, by implementing a standard PFD rule, is reason enough to do so.

But even more than that, imagine if just by doing so, that in the future, there is just one more surfski paddler that makes it back to shore safely, simply because they were wearing a PFD whilst they raced. At that moment, the tradition wouldn’t just be honoring the memory of a paddler tragically lost, but it would also transform into the good will story of a fortunate paddler saved.

I personally think that just out of the shear concept of sportsmanship, unity, and common sense, the reason outlined above is inspiring enough to make PFD usage mandatory by all participants, in all future racing. I also agree with the admirable point of forum poster Ric, that the example set by doing so, will encourage future generations of both racing and recreational surfski paddlers alike to follow the common-sense based example.

No matter what is said, when it comes down to it, there is really only one reason not to make PFD usage mandatory in all racing events. Because of someone’s personal preference. As I have said before, to me personally, that excuse just doesn’t cut it.

But on the other side of the coin, in my mind, it is very easy to find a few, very valid reasons, why mandatory PFD usage should be required.

At this place and this time, in this commentary, I personally would like to propose it be done in part for the simple reason I mentioned above; to honor the memory of a fellow surfski paddler, Mark Feather.

In my mind, the real truth of the matter is the rest of us here and now, and going forward, owe him a great deal...

Thank you Mark, for the life lesson that you have unselfishly taught many of us through your sacrifice. Your fellow paddlers that are left behind, those of us that share your passion throughout the world, are now and will forever be, in your debt.

Though most of us never knew you, from this day forward, there will always be a few more PFDs worn, and through that action, we in a small way, will always all be honoring you...
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6 years 9 months ago #23468 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic The debate about PFDs
You make perfect sense, and you are making a valid point.
There are in fact several reasons as to why a PFD should be worn, aside from unity and sportsmanship.

On the other hand, wearing a PFD may not always be the best choice for safety. You can continue to dismiss this fact without knowing why, but this is where I invite you to seek additional knowledge regarding water safety.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 9 months ago #23469 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic The debate about PFDs
@tofur I think the point is that in a race situation (the topic of this thread), its always safer to wear a PFD. Also, although there are very limited exceptions, wearing a PFD is safer 99.5% of the time.

Beyond that, the secondary point is that your opinion doesn't matter. Its for the good of the everyone to have mandatory PFDs and is going to happen regardless of what the elites say (IMO).

If you want to keep hammering on the .5% (of unlikely situations that generally happen outside of a race) go ahead. At this point you're beating a dead horse.


@paddle faster
Again, well said. Many good points.

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
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6 years 9 months ago #23471 by zamalek
Replied by zamalek on topic The debate about PFDs
You cannot race in South Africa without wearing a PFD.Mark Feather was wearing one.Wearing a PFD is only the start.Above a certain wind strength when your ski will roll away from you,what about a leash?

The fact that some choose to modify their PFD,thats another story on its own.
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