Advice for freaked out kayaker - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-12-2009   #1
 
kayaker2010's Avatar
 
Chicago, Illinois
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Advice for freaked out kayaker

Hi,

I'm a fairly new kayaker. Basically I have two questions:

I'm kind of freaked out about the possibility of not being able to get my sprayskirt off after flipping. Today I flipped and it came off without me having to even tug the grab loop, which was great. But i'm scared one day I'll pull the loop and it will come off in my hand and the skirt will just be stuck on. Does that ever happen?

Also, I was thinking of just trying to stick to Class II rivers. Do most people not flip on Class II? I'm wondering if I just stick to Class II if I could pretty much expect never to flip, except for unusual circumstances.

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Old 09-12-2009   #2
 
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Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Yes

This actually happened to me my first year kayaking (the handle came off, but the skirt stayed on). I clawed my way out, but it was a scary situation. Inspect your gear - skirt included - before each trip to be sure everything looks good and it should not be a problem. If it has UV damage and and/or micro holes around the handle it is time to get a new one.

You should make getting a solid role a priority even if you stick to class II. And yes you should get to a point where you wont have to role in class II unless it is intentional.

Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2009   #3
 
3, Colorado
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I don't mean this to be rude at all because I know and can understand what its like to be freaked out in a kayak, but it sounds like you might want to consider if this sport is for you..........honestly.
Do I think you will get over your fear and move up yes..........I did, in fact I'm still getting comfortable in Class 3 water. But I face my fears, accept them, plan for them and do my best to not let them cripple me.
If you don't think you can get past this, then its ok to bail on the sport. People will understand.
Scotty V.
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Old 09-12-2009   #4
 
Aspen, Colorado
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My fear is that the webbing of the skirt pull will tuck under the cockpit rim and I'll not be able to find it. I boat mostly V,V+ so your fear is not unfounded or shared by newbies only. I taped some support to my grab handle so it is easy to find. It is always where I know it will be and I can count on it, like a fighter pilots ejection handle.

Listen to what Thochard said. Inspect your equipment so you learn to trust it, not unlike a climber with their ropes. It sounds like you fear being entrapped, like claustrophobia. You may be able to habituate yourself to this feeling. If you cannot get over this feeling, maybe try an open boat.
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Old 09-12-2009   #5
 
Durango, Colorado
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Why not just sew a second cord onto the end of your skirt? Only do it to the part that wraps around below the cockpit rim in order to maintain the dryness of the inside of your boat. I feel like that might allay some psychic distress.
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Old 09-13-2009   #6
 
Cipherion's Avatar
 
Pueblo West, Colorado
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Skirt practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by VirginiaPaddler View Post
Hi,

I'm a fairly new kayaker. Basically I have two questions:

I'm kind of freaked out about the possibility of not being able to get my sprayskirt off after flipping. Today I flipped and it came off without me having to even tug the grab loop, which was great. But i'm scared one day I'll pull the loop and it will come off in my hand and the skirt will just be stuck on. Does that ever happen?

Also, I was thinking of just trying to stick to Class II rivers. Do most people not flip on Class II? I'm wondering if I just stick to Class II if I could pretty much expect never to flip, except for unusual circumstances.
One thing I have worked on while sitting upright in my boat is grabbing the skirt itself w/o the handle and I tried to find a place it would come off easier. I have a Rocker and I can easily pull off the skirt on the side of the cockpit rim. I have an old Ego and the front comes off easier at about 11:00 o'clock or 1:00 o'clock. If you do 20 flips in flatwater and practice pulling off your skirt w/o the handle this will definitely diminish your anxiety level. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-13-2009   #7
 
kayaker2010's Avatar
 
Chicago, Illinois
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Thanks for the tips! I also remembered last night that there's some adjustable strap across the spray skirt that I have no idea what it's for but I can pull on it on either side and it lifts the rim of the sprayskirt away from the coaming enough for me to get my hands under it. So I basically have three grab loop options .. plus the fact that I didn't even have to use the grab loop in either of my wet exits so far. So I'm feeling better. I just wonder why they don't put an extra grab loop on them in general.
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Old 09-13-2009   #8
 
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Chicago, Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottsfire View Post
I don't mean this to be rude at all because I know and can understand what its like to be freaked out in a kayak, but it sounds like you might want to consider if this sport is for you..........honestly.
Do I think you will get over your fear and move up yes..........I did, in fact I'm still getting comfortable in Class 3 water. But I face my fears, accept them, plan for them and do my best to not let them cripple me.
If you don't think you can get past this, then its ok to bail on the sport. People will understand.
Scotty V.
I think I'll be ok, especially since I wasn't scared at all when I actually flipped in a rapid and exited. What freaked me out was when I had to exit after I messed up a practice t-rescue. By then I was gasping for air. T-rescues feel very awkward and unnatural to me.

And then I went home and looked up a bunch of accident stories online. So I basically feel like the kind of accidents I'm worried about are unlikely to happen, but are more likely to happen if I flip, so I'd rather just lessen my chances of flipping.
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Old 09-13-2009   #9
 
., Washington, D.C.
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Practice wet exits

Try pulling on your spray skirt at the cockpit rim next to your hip (either side) this is the weakest point of the system. Mine pops off fairly easily and now that I've practiced doing it I'm confident that if I need to get out and can't find the loop, I can just peel the skirt off next to my hip to get out.
Practice at the Anglers put in or the river left eddy below Maryland Chute. Then go practice your rolls surfing in Maryland Chute. If you need to wet exit that is the great place to do it. I've only wet exited about a dozen times there.
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Old 09-13-2009   #10
 
3, Colorado
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Virginia Paddler,
I think your going to be just fine. The guys that worry me on the river are the ones that don't have a healthy fear of what they are doing.
Sounds like to me, you are in the same frame of mind I find myself in and that is a little fear makes your practice safety that much more, which is something that is important to me as a lieutenant in the fire service.
Practice practice practic......."Luck favors the prepared"!
See ya on the river,
Scotty V.
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