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Old 08-30-2013   #11
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
Please do not use a paddle leash.

I had a good friend who stepped up to IV-V creeking using a paddle leash. We all thought it was a bad idea but he swore by it.

Until we ran a local IV-V creek at high water and he spent several recirc cycles in a keeper hole, with his legs tangled up in the paddle leash. Luckily it was just really scary and a good learning opportunity. But it could have a ton worse.

And, it did not even keep his paddle, which was ripped off the leash. So, paddle still gone, and an entrapment hazard?


When SUP paddlers start running continuous technical IV-V 140 fpm water, we'll see if they are still using leashes ....

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Old 08-30-2013   #12
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
I'd sooner use a quick-release seatbelt. If you're swimming with junk leashed to you, you're just begging for a date with Death.

Either roll up, or save yourself. Gear comes later; that goes for your friends helping you too. In the (paraphrased) words of another buzzard, your buddies shouldn't be running around like chickens with their heads cut off, to get your gear; lest they also swim or get hurt. Swims are bad, mmmkay, but sacrificing safety when shit hits the fan, in a futile effort to cut costs, is even worse.

Keep rollin, rollin, rollin; unless it's some inescapable hole or something.

Ps. Seatbelt/thigh-straps, spray-deck etc, all cool in my book; as long as you can safely exit the inflatable without trouble.

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Old 08-30-2013   #13
StGeorge, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 13
So do you guys see trailing a section of webbing to aid in retrieving your inflatable during a swim an entrapment hazard? Not something connected to you but to the boat as an extended grab location.
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Old 08-30-2013   #14
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 317
I set up a thigh belt in my OC1, a somewhat common practice for C1'ers. People have used everything from airline seat buckles to rescue vest buckles and some other not so bright ideas as well. I used a buckle and strap from a safety vest, tested it out many times on dry land and never had a problem. Until I tried it out in the pool in a not even close to real world situation. It failed on the first attempt, a rescue specific safety buckle in a still pool. I've never had that much water in my lungs, scared shitless, and I was 10 ft from a lifegaurd at a pool session. I had to be cut out of the belt system with scissors from the life guard's office because I'd taken my knife out of my vest as I didn't think to have it on me for a pool session. If you use a long ass tether in a river situation, you're going to loose, permanently. I knew better, but convinced myself that it was worth it for the increase in control. Don't do it.
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Old 08-30-2013   #15
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 749
A lot of people have died using leashes in swift water. Quick release harnesses on rescue PFDs greatly lower the risk, but I would not want to be attached to my boat at all times, even with the quick release. Chances are if you are swimming out of your IK the whitewater is big enough that you shouldn't want to be tied to your boat.

Many people have carabiners connected to the quick release belt so they can clip into a boat or paddle if the situation is safe. This way they can assess the situation, and decide whether or not to clip in. The problem with clipping in from the start is you don't really know where you are going to swim, and you don't know if where you swim is safe place to be tied to a boat.

The biggest point that needs to be stressed is that gear is replaceable - you are not.
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Old 08-30-2013   #16
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
It's been mentioned before, but not in this thread, so I'll give it a whirl. Leashes are made for class 1 and sea kayaking . They are a convenience so you can grab your fishing pole, lunch, etc. It's just something that helps enable calm-water kayak-fishing or as a safety tool in open water, since hand-paddling for miles isn't really an option in tide.

It makes sense to use it for SUPing up to a certain point, but I really can't comment on that sport. If it were me, which I suppose it may never be, I would only have the leash, if at all, on easy stuff; if I still need a leash on Class 3+, I probably shouldn't be running class 3+. To get ready for class 3+ on a board, you want your more skilled friends down stream of you as you descend a drop, ready to help you should you swim. But this is the kayaking board and I probably should refrain from commenting too much on a sport I don't participate in (well, other than vicariously).
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Old 08-30-2013   #17
Land of Lovin, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,449
I use this, and depending on the rapid would use it up to class III. I'd probably take it off if it's likely I'd hit a rock or have to avoid multiple rocks but I wear it on class II.

NRS Quick Release SUP Leash at
Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. - Voltaire
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Old 08-31-2013   #18
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239

Yes it is ok /good to have a trailer of webbing on a ducky .It /they give you more things to grab onto.But 6 to 8 feet is WAAAY too long.You could get entangled or it could wrap on something. Jeff Bennett recommended 30" and part of that is taken up by the knot.Make sure there are no knots on the trailing end that could chock into a crack.You could have one on both ends of the boat and use them to tie off to bushes .Even better is a cinchable flip strap across the width off the boat under the seat /thwart.Usually when you get spanked in a ducky you come up right next to it, even in fairly pushy-creeky water.Exceptions to this would be side surfing or getting stuffed in big holes where you wash out and boat keeps surfing and in shallow fast mank and I definitely would not want to be tied to a boat in one of those scenarios.
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Old 08-31-2013   #19
StGeorge, Utah
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 13
Thanks cayo, that's what I was looking for as a response to my question. May add a couple of Duckies to the arsenal here in a bit so good to know.

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