A surfski safety device of last resort

8 months 1 week ago #35517 by Henning DK

manta wrote: If you cannot rescue yourself and you will not be able to get rescuers to you, should you be out there?


That's the question! But there is no answer, it's a choice ;-)

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8 months 1 week ago #35519 by mrcharly
A guy I knew well was on an extreme sea kayaking trip off the north west coast of western australia. Heavy weather coming, bad shore, so he decided to ride it out at sea. 
Massive waves, laden boat, his boat got broken in two. 
After a long night at sea, he made it ashore. 
Walked out, made it to a road and flagged down a motorist (I don't know how long it took, think it was a couple of days).
What saved him was being extremely fit, not giving up, survival knowledge and knowing his location. When he reached the shore, he knew which direction to head; had he turned the wrong way, he probably wouldn't have made it. He also knew how to scavenge, find water etc.
His gear was lost at sea. 

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8 months 1 week ago #35529 by Fath2o
I'm curious how many here have tried communicating with their vhf handheld radios while treading water, or in rough wet conditions while sitting in your ski (which might be a challenge). My experience was radio was wet or had been submerged the speaker was completely unreadable. I had no problem transmitting but couldn't understand the incoming audio. I also need reading glasses to see the tiny screen. Don't often have a pair when paddling.
 Might want to get real familiar with your communication device in real conditions if you haven't already.

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8 months 1 week ago #35530 by SpaceSputnik

Fath2o wrote: I'm curious how many here have tried communicating with their vhf handheld radios while treading water, or in rough wet conditions while sitting in your ski (which might be a challenge). My experience was radio was wet or had been submerged the speaker was completely unreadable. I had no problem transmitting but couldn't understand the incoming audio. I also need reading glasses to see the tiny screen. Don't often have a pair when paddling.
 Might want to get real familiar with your communication device in real conditions if you haven't already.


Yes, it happens to me after a remount practise, the volume goes quite low. Sucking the water out of the speaker grill may help. But, I am with you, it may be a problem. That's why I am glad my radio is DSC enabled, so I can press the distress button even if I can't talk.
Never been in need of a rescue though....a skittish flatwater paddler :D

Current: Epic 18x Sport, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Think Evo II, Epic V7

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8 months 5 days ago #35574 by XLV
With all this talk about self-rescuing with a dislocated shoulder, I think I'm going to plan some open ocean remounts using a single arm... see how hard it is to make a call on the radio, test the PLB, etc.

What's a good position to put my arm in to simulate a dislocation? just limp to my side? What's doable/not doable with a dislocation?
The following user(s) said Thank You: SurfskiEstonia

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8 months 3 days ago #35588 by tve
I was chatting with Patrick Hemmens yesterday and his dislocated shoulder at last years (?) cape point challenge came up. He crawled back onto his elite s (or was it a SF?) from the back, pulling himself forward with one hand. Then popped the shoulder back in using his paddle... Made it in with a lot of pain as it was actually fractured. Ouch! I believe Rob wrote about it. I filed it under "experiences I hope to do without, thank you"...
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7 months 4 weeks ago #35653 by SurfskiEstonia
Guys, first of all, sorry for being late. I've had my apartment walls sandblasted and had to deal with all the residual damage, was away from the laptop and didn't want to write too short replies on the phone.

HUGE thanks to TomVW!!! This was exactly what I was searching for. I'm gonna definitely buy some and try to use them in a pair, as You suggested. Wonder how to fix it to the carbon/kevlar structure of the boat, but will figure out.

As for all the other arguments regarding being a true fighter with a fit body and a cool head, unfortunately I'm not like that:D I'm afraid that in a really bad situation I may be prone to giving up, so having a safety plan like that is a must for me.

Generally, there are 5 scenarios I see as risks while far from shore:
1. A serious injury (shoulder/ wrist injury, long-lasting cramp, stroke);
2. Not being able to remount because of cold and/or fatigue;
3. Losing the ski after a capsize;
4. Having the ski damaged so badly that it to sinks;
5. Being hit by a jet ski / speed boat or some other water hooligans.

Numbers 3-5 don't apply to our topic of discussion, but the 1-2 are exactly the ones where such a clamp arrangement could at least give hope if not save the paddler. It's very painful to imagine such situations, but I wonder if those paddlers who died on water because the inability to remount, could have used such a solution to save their life. Imagine if such clamps (if they work on fast skis) were installed on all surfskis by manufacturers with a bungee cord holding down two floatation bags. It would add about 300-500g of weight to the ski, but in case of a really bad situation it really could make a difference, or at least give hope.

If anyone has got other good ideas, please share:)

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

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7 months 4 weeks ago #35660 by Mulletman
If remounting/shoulder issues are such a concern, maybe an OC1 is a safer option? Not quite as fast a surfski, but we have had paddlers suffer shoulder injury and their survival was due to being able to remount and remain in control thanks to the additional stability from the ama

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7 months 2 weeks ago #35731 by Spacehopper
Interesting topic but I think I'm on the side of the sceptics! It seems a very over-engineered solution to what is really a 'call the cavalry' situation. I've not had the misfortune to dislocate a shoulder but I can't imagine being able to remount in a big sea one handed even with the assistance of a stabiliser.

To add another thought about the limits of VHFs that Fath raises - worth also remembering that VHF works on line of sight, pretty much independent of what 'wattage' it is. So what probably works great on a Millers Run - high coastline near a major city, where I would guess there are aerials up high - may not work if you paddle somewhere more out-of-the-way, with a low coastline/little boat traffic. Probably best not to put too much faith in a VHF in that case. If you are in the water then your effective aerial height is maybe 12-18inches - and if the swell is 6ft you might to struggle to get any message out... 

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