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Old 07-24-2013   #21
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 98
It seems folks are looking for justification on why they don't need to wear one. So here is my question: Why wouldn't you wear a PFD while on the water? I particularly like the "I always wear a helmet, but not necessarily a PFD" WTF? I'm not a pro PFD Nazi and I regularly see folks not wearing them. Just would like to know more reasons on why you wouldn't.

Yes I have spent plenty of time above 32nd with and without PFD.

skipowpow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2013   #22
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
I've been surprised by the lack of PFD's in river SUP, and I think its a bad idea. I also think that the marketing has something to do with this. Seems like every ad I see is a chick in a bikini paddling without a PFD, or any gear for that matter. I understand that PFD's obscure important things that are good for sales, but thats another story.

I personally don't agree at all with the concept that paddlers should pick and choose when to wear PFD's or not. Just because dumbass tubers don't wear PFD's doesn't mean educated paddlers shouldn't. Also, just becuase ocean surfers don't wear PFD's doesn't mean we shouldn't. The ocean is more bouyant due to salt water density, and sometimes folks wear bouyant wet suits. Surfers also duck dive waves, which would be harder with a lot of bouyancy. SUP in the rivers is different though, we have fresh water that is less bouyant, rapids that make extended downtime dangerous, and eddies and holes that have aerated water that can hold swimmers for a long time.

I also personally hate the concept of "I'm good to go on this type of water, so I don't need all the safety gear I would otherwise wear". This is a very limited and self centered view. You might just need that PFD to rescue a drowning kid in the lake. You never know. I recall paddling gore in the winter and one guy had shorts and noted "I'm not going to swim". Well thats great, but what happens when someone else swims? Pretty weak logic in my mind. I now know to avoid these kinds of guys like the plague becuase they are unprepared when the shit hits the fan, and it can hit the fan anywhere, at anytime, to anyone.

Another issue I see is that of setting examples. I'd advocate that expereinced paddlers should try and set examples for wearing the appropriate protective gear, so that novices can have examples of what well prepared river runners do regarless of craft.

Finally, whats the benefit of no PFD? Its like a seatbelt... almost zero downside to wearing it, and massive upside if and when you need it. The other point is that you NEVER know when you need it. You aren't that smart and you don't have a crystal ball. I hear this same arguement from snowboarders not wanting to wear helmets, and from rock climbers not wanting to wear helmets, but in my opinion its pretty dumb. Wearing protective gear that is comfy, cheap, and easy to use that prevents low probability but high consequence fatal injuries is a no brainer in my mind.

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Old 07-25-2013   #23
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 56
As a longtime river guide I always wear a pfd when SUPing whitewater, for the flotation and also the protection in a fall. I don't like to wear my pfd when SUPing on a lake or in the ocean as it is hot and chafes a bit when I am paddling hard for exercise. But, I do wear a leash in those bodies of water as a board could blow away from you easily in a fall. So, for me, it is at least either a pfd or leash when SUPing, and often both. I hate seeing the first timers out on rental SUPs without a leash or life jacket. Very dangerous if you ask me, especially on large lakes with cold water.
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Old 07-26-2013   #24
islandertek's Avatar
Rocky Mountain Hooliganz, Rocky Mountain High
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 364
Please wear your could save your life (in which you already experienced), and could also spare someone from a horrible experience of having to fish your corpse out of the water, or having to resesitate.....just saying.....sometimes your decision impacts other's in different ways. I could be having the most AWESOME time on the water, and that would just ruin my entire day having to perform a rescue due to your neglagence. The more responsible we play, the longer we get to play! Have FUN and be safe! SYOTR!!! Cheers! -Nick
Dream as if you'll live forever; Live as if you'll die today - James Dean
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Old 08-01-2013   #25
Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 112
Originally Posted by mukunig View Post
As a longtime river guide I always wear a pfd when SUPing whitewater, for the flotation and also the protection in a fall.
So true, I have hit so many rocks with my pfd in shashone the last couple weeks. Ran lower Blue on Sunday and it was so bony, landed on tons of rocks. WIthout my PFD, i would have f(*^d myself up big time.
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Old 08-01-2013   #26
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 221
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Old 08-01-2013   #27
BryanS.'s Avatar
Prineville, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 308
Internal pfd's. Very nice.

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