Z Drags and Safety - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-25-2009   #1
They call me Jon
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 65
Z Drags and Safety

Hello all,

Anyone willing to teach me how Z Drags work and how to properly execute this rescue procedure? Boulder/Longmont/Lyons/Golden area anytime after work during the week.

Jon

Thanks Buzzers.

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Old 05-25-2009   #2
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Knowing how to setup a Z-drag doesn't do anything unless you have other related skills. Instead of having some random person teach you one skill in isolation, TAKE A SWIFTWATER RESCUE CLASS! There are a million different instructors all around Colorado and the class is only around $150.
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Old 05-25-2009   #3
 
Buena Vista/Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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Swiftwater Rescue Course

Hey Jon,
I've a got a rescue class I'm teaching this coming weekend, there is still a few spaces available if you're interested. Another class on the 9th and 10th.
Sammer
Sammer Elias Leadership and Rescue
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Old 05-25-2009   #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Just finished Bill Dvorak's course. Great class and really worth the money.
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Old 05-25-2009   #5
 
Palisade, Colorado
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NOC Paddling School Blog: The Mythical Z-Drag
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Old 05-26-2009   #6
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Almost more important than the mechanics of a z-drag, are being able to identify the best angle and way to attach.

The angle in particular is an art form that comes from reading pressure and being able to visualize the forces and how they push on the raft. I have seen very solid z drags set up by competent river folk that didn't work, because the angles were all wrong.

The correct placement of the line on the item to be z dragged is hardly ever the easiest or most convenient attachment.

Sometimes its a matter of looking at the wrap and figuring out one chamber deflate and that can decrease the energy needed on the line.

Then there is knowing how to anchor on the other end. When you think you have a large enough chunk of webbing for an anchor, double it and it will surely not be large enough at some point if you keep doing this.

Always, always put a snubber on the line. We broke an improvised line ( read throw bags) and without the life jacket snubber in the middle I think I would be dead. I was wearing a helmet and turned my head, but still caught the rope upside the head and it nearly knocked my out.

So yes take a rescue class and learn as much as you can.
Another thing I recommend to anyone one who will listen, is to throw your throw bag every time you go to the river - especially during high water.

I have seen so many bad throws annnnnddddd.... bags that only go thirty feet and a was of line prevents it from hitting the swimmer.

Practice. Practice.
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Old 05-26-2009   #7
no tengo
 
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Baytopia, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carvedog View Post
Almost more important than the mechanics of a z-drag, are being able to identify the best angle and way to attach.
good point carve. If possible - angle your line around 45 degrees downstream. this seems to work best. pulling upstream or perpendicular usually doesn't work.

i wrapped a duckie on vallecito last year and since we had good anchors at 90 degree so we tried to z-drag it off to no avail. finally we walked downstream to a 45 and even with no anchor we could just pull the boat off.
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Old 05-26-2009   #8
They call me Jon
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
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Thanks everyone for your comments so far. I am allready looking into a swiftwater course.

justsammer I just sent you a PM.

Thanks again everyone.
Jon
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Old 05-26-2009   #9
 
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demosthenes View Post
Knowing how to setup a Z-drag doesn't do anything unless you have other related skills. Instead of having some random person teach you one skill in isolation, TAKE A SWIFTWATER RESCUE CLASS! There are a million different instructors all around Colorado and the class is only around $150.
I'll second that. A Z-drag takes time to set up. There are some other super fast things to try before you do that. A swiftwater rescue class kind of opened my eyes to a few things I didn't know. For example, in Mike Mathers class he clipped a rope to a "pinned" boat, used a wrap around a tree to pull the rope real tight, and had me pull laterally on the rope to extract the boat. I fell on my ass because I gave it a huge tug but it only took a relatively small lateral pull to pop it. I was amazed.

Another thing he showed me was to keep my pin kit on my body. That worked for me that very same season when my boat got stuffed under a log and I used my pin kit that was in my pocket to get my own boat out... not possible if my pin kit had been behind my seat.

Mike Mathers showed me a lot of things that were new to me that I will never forget and that I think improved safety for me and my partners.
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Old 05-26-2009   #10
 
Cisco, Utah
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Then again... All you guys who have taken a class and say you know how to do it, need to practice... You learn best what you teach. As I recall your class also told you you need to practice these skills to keep them fresh. All'y'all down near Louisville could spend an hour with rope systems then go boating together. Just a thought. Not to replace a class, but a bit of practice. Would also give Chief a bit clue when Ropes come up in class.

As for angles, there is also alot to be said for pulling at an angle upstream. if you can peel a boat back enough to get some water going between the boat and the rock the river can do the rest for you. Not an absolute, just a bit of experience.
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