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Old 03-09-2015   #1
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 845
Self Rescue 101 HYDROLICS

If it hasn't already happened, I think everyone should check out the "hard to watch swim" video. Not for critisizm or otherwise, but to consider what you would do in that situation. The question was asked, but not answered and I would also likt to know some fundamentals when swimming/stuck in a hydrolic. I realize every situation will be different, but in general do most hydrolics take a majority of the water down and out? several people stated that you should swim down in the hopes of getting washed out.

Now I'm a big guy with a big PFD. After I've "burped" my drysuit and I'm stuck in a hydrolic should i try to swim down with the PFD on or do stome people actually consider taking their PFD off in order to get deeper?? that seems epicly stupid to me but I'm not sure I can any deeper with my PFD.

Also, in that videos, it did not seem like a very strong current pulling her back into the hydrolic. Should she have tried swimming out or can I trust that the current is much stroger than it looks??

Thanks for any thoughts.

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Old 03-09-2015   #2
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
How about a link to the mystery video?

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Old 03-09-2015   #3
West of Boulder, CO
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 96
"Nothing says dirtbag like a mylar pillow with a spigot."
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Old 03-09-2015   #4
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 582
I'm just going to make a reading recommendation here. I'm not going to give my opinion on this because I really don't have any experience to base it off of. Has anyone read William "Not Bill" Nealy's book KAYAK? I feel like the animations in the hydro-topography section are super descriptive, and they definitely helped me understand what's going on below the surface of the water.
It's a good day to be a duck....
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Old 03-09-2015   #5
OTR, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 224
I once had a bad, multi-minute beatdown under a vertical 5' curtain. First I fought it in my boat, I don't remember if it was pro-active strategy or a reaction to being tired but after a few minutes of rolls and lost breath I wound up pulling my skirt. Then another 4 -5 attempts to swim out at the surface, and finally I remembered advice to "ball up." I tucked up in a ball as I recirced to the curtain, felt it push me down and I flushed right out. I didn't have to swim down, but just ball up and let the water do the work. Always let the water do the work... well, almost always.

Also, I would not recommend taking off your life jacket, you are going to need it when you are finally swimming downstream (among other reasons).
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Old 03-09-2015   #6
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Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
I haven't spent too much timing swimming in keeper holes. But I've done so a couple times.

I tried swimming high in the pile for breaths, didn't work too good. I tried balling up and swimming into the drop to get flushed. I tried reaching for the green water with my paddle, which I found when the paddle was ripped violently from my hands.

I was not too far from losing consciousness when I got a rope from my crew.

I am not convinced that any actions I could have taken as a swimmer were getting me out of that hole. It was my job to keep trying different things, keep fighting, stay calm, and look for the rope.

So, sure, there's stuff you can try, but there is no guarantee you'll get yourself out.
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Old 03-09-2015   #7
Whetstone's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 362
There is a thread running on this already. Check this: Hard to watch swim/rescue
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Old 03-09-2015   #8
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: .3
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 845
Yep, that is why I refered to it in my initial post. Like I stated, the question wasn't anwered so I thought I would try it seperately. Here is the link again.

Hard to watch swim/rescue
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Old 03-09-2015   #9
Colorado, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 131
take a GOOD swiftwater class by people that routinely run the shit. Ask your potential instructor questions- "How many boating days outside of teaching classes do you get a year?" "What are your favorite local runs?"

Swiftwater classes vary greatly based on the instructor. I've found a lot of instructors in the front range at least don't do very much boating if any outside of teaching. I had one openly tell me this at a pool session. The swiftwater class is only going to be as good as the person teaching it. For example I would stay away from CW's class. Just my opinion based on knowing multiple people who went through it.

Secondly, don't take advice from strangers on the internet.
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Old 03-09-2015   #10
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
I thought some people (like myself) did try to answer the question in that thread. But anyway, I think you're underestimating the effect of the aeration and power of the water. Even with a PFD on, you can go deep. I imagine there are circumstances where taking your PFD off out of desperation may be worthy, though I have never heard of this being done.

If the hole's powerful enough that you're being body recirc'ed, it's generally going to be futile, counterproductive, and enervating to try to swim directly out of the hole. Even while in a boat (where you have magnitudes greater power and buoyancy) it can be difficult to paddle out past a boil line.

The general rules of thumb are try to swim deep and into the curtain, change body shape if what you're doing isn't working (i.e. if balling up isn't working, try the the starfish position and see if you can catch some green water), and look for a rope. If possible, hanging onto a paddle can also be beneficial to catch green water. Any others?

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