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Old 05-14-2007   #1
jboats's Avatar
Front Range, "Beautiful Colorado"
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 64
Grab Loop Rips (posted North East Paddlers Message Board Topic)


This link is a topic I myself have not really concidered pertaining to Spray Skirt Grab loops .

Thought the CO community would like to think about it ourselves given the season is upon us.

Keep Boating and Be safe...

" ...this is the hardest sport I've ever tried!!",E. Brown, 2003
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Old 05-14-2007   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I found a good way to get out of the boat without pulling the grab loop when pinned one day. If you are upside down and ready to come out, twist your torso and lay on the back deck. I pulled up my right leg to have my foot on the bottom of the boat and the knee up. My hips are twisted 90 degrees so I am basically coming out of the boat by twisting and pushing with the legs. My skirt is pretty tight, and it was no problem coming out. I think the combo of twisting and pushing up and out with the feet will pop it off. Its pretty amazing how fast you can come out of the boat without even pulling when you are scared shitless. Something to try at the end of a run one day when you feel like experimenting.

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Old 05-14-2007   #3
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
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The weakest/loosest place on a skirt is even with to just behind your hips. In my experience, even with a bomber and tight skirt, you can usually pull it off with just two fingers on each side, if you can find the right spot.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 05-15-2007   #4
jboats's Avatar
Front Range, "Beautiful Colorado"
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 64
I appreciate your reply's. I was just thinking it was a good perdictament to think about. Glad you do too.

( I had launched before this fellas group by a gap of probably 20 other people)
What brought the issue to light with me. Was an older (Very Experienced) fella on a stretch in NY (Upper Stone Valley (awesome section)) had put his skirt on at the put in of a river without thinking much about it (presumably while talking with the 30 other people that were there at the putin for the first ever AW scheduled release). Consiquently his pull tab was placed on the inside. The results were horrifying. A bunch of Grieving that night at the Beaver putin.

In his case it was operator error (along with other Class V issues). In the case of the pull tab failing, that's product failure. If this were to happen under the same circumstances as the previous explaination, then it could happen to anyone. Nomatter how careful they are at the putin with the pull release operation of the grab loop.

And by the way he went over 3 other drops (Class V) upsidedown before the attempting rescuer's could get him to shore. Knifes were drawn and attempts to cut him free while in the class II - III sections inbetween drops failed to work. (This happen maybe 3 yrs ago, so some of my memory of the incidant I tend to not remember).

Just food for thought and thanks again for looking at the situation with me...

I myself have had skirts blow in bad situations and pretty much because lthat happens, always assumed that if need be, I could find a way out not needing the grab loop. I hope I never do need to though...

Be safe and enjoy the season upon us....
Colorado is Bliss...... Ski Bike And Boat all in one day.... Amazing... been here 6 yrs and still can't believe this happens....
" ...this is the hardest sport I've ever tried!!",E. Brown, 2003
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Old 05-15-2007   #5
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Just glanced at but didn't read the thread on the other board, so maybe this is repetitive, but I'd add three things. You can pinch the skirt over the coaming with four fingers under the coaming and thumbs sideways on top. This should let you get it started. Alternatively, you can just push off the back deck behind your hips. When he kayaked, my father never pulled a skirt when he swam, he just pushed out that way. This is probably harder with modern rubber rands rather than bungee rands, but I know of cases where people have done that and rather than the skirt coming off the boat, they have come out through the skirt. Finally, recognize that a knife can be really, really dangerous in that situation. In the late 90s a guy pinned (head up, IIRC) on the Ocoee and a rescuer tried to cut his skirt to let him out of the boat. The rescuer accidentally went into the guys thigh with the blade and cut the femoral artery. The rescuer was an MD, so he immediately did all he could to stop the bleeding, but the victim was died even though the boat got freed up. Not saying that you should never cut a skirt, but be aware of the risks before you do.
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"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
- Soren Kierkegaard
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Old 05-15-2007   #6
jboats's Avatar
Front Range, "Beautiful Colorado"
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 64
No Doubt, Deploying a knife is sketchy and more than likely really difficult to cut a kevlar skirt with modern day rand designs.
On the contrary the home boys/girls flesh is not so diffcult to cut...
I would have hated to be that MD... I'm learning and hope you all are too...

Thanks for the help....

Kayaking has it's inherant risks, it's part of what makes successful runs so rewarding.....
" ...this is the hardest sport I've ever tried!!",E. Brown, 2003
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Old 05-15-2007   #7
iliketohike's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 176
ritual habitual

2 things come to mind in regards to this. Before I get in my boat I was taught to develop a ritual. I check several things, several times.

1. Deck all the way attached.
2. Pull tab exposed (its so ingrained in my I don't know how to attach my deck without flipping the tab and then attaching).
3. Nose plug
4. Helmet attached
5. That my PFD is actually on

I do this wether at the hole or about to get a rush. Before I launch I touch every part in the system. It is part of my mental change from walking to poddling and before hard stuff I do it like 5 times. Touching everything inforces my checks. Accidents can happen to anyone.

Let's take a lesson from climbers. This type of check is doubly important while climbing, and although as boaters we do not deal with gravity in the same way, our sport is equally if not more dangerous, especially considering the dynamic nature of water.

And what about climbers flaking out their ropes. This is the process of sorting/stacking a rope while at the same time inspecting it for damage. A good climber will touch the whole rope while doing this. As paddlers it is easier to pile our shit in a mess, but shoudn't we take pride in our gear and at least once in a while inspect it. They say in climbing the people to go are either the beginers or experts. I would assume the same is true in paddling. We must fight complacency, the true killer...

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