Thoughts on rapid air. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-13-2015   #1
 
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Thoughts on rapid air.

So for years I have heard of products like rapid air, and similar products. I have thought for years that on rivers that long swims are possible it may eliminate those near misses or fatalities. It could also benefit you in a pin position. How many AW accident reports do you read about that the person lost consciences then a min later they were free, but could not be revived. There is a down side on those pins that are destined for a fatality it could prolong death which could be an even worse way to go. I know this thread may get blasted. I am being serious, and it is more about trying to be safer on the river. I have yet to have a long swim, and fear it greatly. I have heard many friends that are amazing boaters talking about blacking out while seeing a rope, and knowing they need it, but can't grab it. One friend said he felt like he was falling asleep after a long ride in ocean wave in Golf coarse on the north fork. What if he would have had access to 15 additional breaths would this near miss happened. The swim most certainly would have, but the near death swim might have been a little safer. I do not think this would be the creature craft of kayaking, just one more thing in an arsenal that could save lives. Thoughts???? http://www.rapidproducts.com/catalog/ChooseRA.php

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Old 07-14-2015   #2
 
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I think it's a great idea that seems to need a bit more refinement.

Dan, a pal and I were talking about the lack of progression in safety equipment for whitewater. He's one of the best North Forkers you'd ever meet, and he's also kind of a mad scientist. We spent a night on a recent overnighter talking about little things companies could or should do that would seemingly improve safety. Even something simple like a better system to keep your PFD secured on. Of course, there always seems to be pros and cons to every piece of safety equipment.

We talked about the lack of urgency in developing a Rapid Air type breathing system. It seemed to both of us this is an area where there could be a lot of products, but there doesn't seem to be much. I know DragoRossi had a tube that ran to a water tight part of the stern that you could access in a pin situation.

I've not tried the Rapid Air, but it interests me greatly. I've read discussion about it on this forum, and it seems like it's pretty expensive and has a pretty steep learning curve for the average boater to get one.
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Old 07-14-2015   #3
 
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Dan who? I have been spending a ton of time on the north fork this year, and heading back up this wednesday for another week of learning lines in the upper, and middle.
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Old 07-14-2015   #4
 
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I've spend a fair bit of time contemplating safety gear as well. I think that the rapid air concept is generally a good one that has not successfully been integrated into a kayaking specific format that is truly workable.

I think spare air is closer...
Spare Air - the smallest redundant SCUBA system available with enough air to get you to the surface in an out-of-air emergency.

Main issues are...
1) it has to be accessible, preferably hands free
2) you have to be able to breathe with it while you are working to extract yourself (big ding on the rapid air vest pocket deal)
3) it has to have enough air capacity to provide a meaningful amount of time
4) must be small enough to not be overly heavy, overly bulky, or present entrapment hazards.

I think that there is certainly another level of evolution that could be done. I have envisioned a hybrid between a whitewater rescue PFD and a scuba BCD that would be an integrated vest with holders for small air cylinders, HP regulatory, and LP regulator / mouthpiece. I like the concept of the BCD spare regulator that has a couple ft of reach.. ie enough length for primary user to breath out of, or secondary pinned victim to breath out of.

Really cool design would make it integrated into creeking helmet.

Biggest challenges I see are that 99% of kayakers really don't need this, and would likely not pay for it unless it was pretty cheap. Not a huge market, thus the limited R&D done to date.

If I had a wish list... it would be an expert kayak gear system... PFD with small air tanks and regulator on back, flex hose quick connect connecting to helmet with mouthpiece embedded, perhaps add in helmet to helmet radio connection.

Flip side to all this, is that systems fail and can produce chain reaction failures or other problems. There is a really good arguement to keep kayaking simple. Many severe swims, pins etc would not necessarily end differently with another 5 mins of air.
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Old 07-14-2015   #5
 
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Any thing can fail that is true. If something could be made that would aid in long swims or pins where a life could be saved I think it would be worth looking into. Your right about most kayakers not needing it, but pins, and long swims happen all the time on most class IV/V rivers. Having that option would be priceless. I think there are many swims, and pins something like this could help. My biggest fear would be pulling that last breath out of it, and thinking "now you are fucked" after thinking for 10 mins I may survive. I bet it would help in flush drowning situations like the north fork, and this may have went better if he had some sort of help breathing. Marc Cramer the amazing cat boater that ran the Stikine unsuccessfully in a cat, and successfully in a creature craft told me, "It's not going to be fun, but you need to practice swimming. You need to learn how to protect your airway. There is no substitute for swimming." You could have all the safety equipment in the world, but practicing swimming in whitewater is probably one of the best things you can do your safety. With that said I never swim for practice, and rarely swim while boating, and I fear my next swim so maybe I need to swim more. Open boaters are amazing swimmers. I have never met people better at self rescue than an open boater.
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Old 07-14-2015   #6
 
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We sell SpareAir and refill the bottles here in our SCUBA Shop. They've been around since 1979. Anyone who is a diver and run out of air can relate to "If I only had one more breath". When you get certified one drill is to have your instructor cut your air off at depth and then you share air with your buddy. When you take that last breath it can be pretty unnerving to most people.

There's really nothing to do with their system but put the regulator in your mouth and breath "normally" as the flight attendants say. It's always "on" because of the demand type regulator. The 3.0 CF bottle provides about 57 breathes and the holster could be adapted to most PFDs.

Another option might be a 13 CF Bottle about the size of a small fire extinguisher and a first stage with a regulator and hose. The bottle could then be placed remotely in the kayak.

Good discussion.
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Old 07-14-2015   #7
 
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Talking with our Course Director we figure with a 13 CF bottle between your legs in the position of your water bottle or throw bag and a simple first stage and regulator you'd get 15 minutes of air...assuming you remain reasonably calm.

Here's one I threw into a Burn III.

When the bottle is turned on it's ready to deliver air on demand to the regulator. Add another strap with fastex buckles to secure it. Weighs in at 10 pounds.

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Old 07-14-2015   #8
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Rapid Air

I've tested all of the RapidAir products. Drago Rossi used to include the QuickAir hose from Rapid Products. Steve Fisher claims that the RapidAir saved his life on the Congo. He was sucked under water in a huge whirlpool and said that he was about to pass out when he remembered that he had Bart's RapidAir on his chest. He took two breaths off of it before coming to the surface. So, RapidAir has saved at least one life.
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Old 07-14-2015   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying_Spaghetti_Monster View Post
Any thing can fail that is true. If something could be made that would aid in long swims or pins where a life could be saved I think it would be worth looking into. Your right about most kayakers not needing it, but pins, and long swims happen all the time on most class IV/V rivers. Having that option would be priceless. I think there are many swims, and pins something like this could help. My biggest fear would be pulling that last breath out of it, and thinking "now you are fucked" after thinking for 10 mins I may survive. I bet it would help in flush drowning situations like the north fork, and this may have went better if he had some sort of help breathing. Marc Cramer the amazing cat boater that ran the Stikine unsuccessfully in a cat, and successfully in a creature craft told me, "It's not going to be fun, but you need to practice swimming. You need to learn how to protect your airway. There is no substitute for swimming." You could have all the safety equipment in the world, but practicing swimming in whitewater is probably one of the best things you can do your safety. With that said I never swim for practice, and rarely swim while boating, and I fear my next swim so maybe I need to swim more. Open boaters are amazing swimmers. I have never met people better at self rescue than an open boater.

Greats topic and def room for growth. Look at what skiing has come up with for helping in a slide. Granted it's a bigger market but like others have said scuba has all the parts and pieces.

I would put money on a paddle boarding being an above average swimmer. We don't run super manky water (some do) but we are always in and out of water. Swimming is part of the sport.

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