:?: Me and some of my newbe friends all have a similar problem, when we go for a swim our paddles go bye-bye as we rip the skirts off. What is up with these paddle leashes? Is it a good idea, or an accident waiting to happen?
Sounds like a bad idea to me. The more stuff you have dangling from your person, the greater the risk of deadly entanglement. When I was learning self-rescue, my mentors stressed the importance of wet-exiting as fast as possible and immediately gathering boat and paddle. Sometimes it's not possible to retrieve your paddle, but most of the time it's right next to you when you pop out of your boat. So don't tie anything to yourself, just be as proactive as humanly possible when you resort to a wet exit. My two cents.
This is only my second season kayaking, and I didn't get my roll till the end of my first season. Before I had a roll one thing I practiced is the wet exit. It might seem silly since it is easy to do, but it helped me remain calm while I did it. I paddled a few times with only one other boater so it was definately important to not loose my gear, practicing the wet exit I think helped a lot.
My roll still isn't bomber, so now that I think about it I should still be practicing controlled wet exits. By practcing I mean just taking that extra moment to collect yourself while upside down before popping your skirt. Trying to be sure to hold on at least to the paddle. Someone sugested to me to tuck the paddle under your arm before exiting. I don't know if that is good or not, I've never actualy done it.
Please dont do this and I will give an example. I was taking a swift water rescue class and we were starting by swimming the Salida play holes. In the eddy above the bridge I watch a dad launch both of his kids with a 12' rope attaching them to the boat. I am sure it seemed like a good idea to him as yours do to you. First kid flips on the eddy line and he almost went to one side of the bridge support and his boat to the other. He would have hung their until he drowned. I had already pulled my knife out to cut the rope but if your paddle hangs on something and you are tied to it, it is not going to go well for you unless you do it in the middle of a SWR class.
Tell ya a little story that happened several years ago on the Shoshone run in Glenwood Canyon.
The wife went into town to do a little shopping and I decided to go run Shoshone by myself. I didn't have a roll, but had a dandy brace, no problem, right?
I was paddling a Dagger Gradient, with a paddle leash. I get into my boat, pop on my skirt, then lo and behold... here comes this beautiful woman on the bike path rollerblading. She had very nice attributes in her short-shorts and tank-top. A sight to die for.
I clip my paddle leash to the boat while staring at this sight from heaven and bump goes the boat. I am pinned horizontally against a big rock with all the might of the Colorado River bearing down against me. Surprisingly, my skirt did not blow off.
Well, there I am feeling like an idiot for getting pinned and I cannot get off this rock, no amount of rocking, pushing, torquing, etc is going to get me off this thing. So I pop the skirt and let the boat fill with water and slowly push myself out of the boat (this took a huge effort). Of course I immediately get push off into the rapid and hole waiting below me.
Only problem is I am holding onto my paddle and the boat is staying put. The boat comes off the rock right about the time the leash breaks (it's only a bungee cord, and a skinny one at that) and whips back at me cutting my neck. Now the rapid and hole really have me as I get sent down into the water. I went about 20 ft. down into the hole and felt my feet touch bottom. It was about this time that I noticed I hadn't cinched up my PFD and it was trying to float up off of me. I looked up and saw light and kicked off the bottom and kicked my legs and feet as hard as I could to get back to the surface. by this time I had let go off my paddle and lost one of my river boots.
When I got to the surface, my boat was headed downstream, as was my paddle and my boot. I made it to shore after swimming through two more rapids and ran a 1/4 mile trying to find my gear.... various boaters found it all and to them I have nothing but love for doing so. If they read this post, they'll probably remember the idiot with the red & yellow Dagger Gradient.
Learn to roll, both sides with or without a paddle, and ditch the damn paddle leash before you lose an eye to it.
p.s. My wife laughed and told me I got what I deserved for window-shopping
get a breakdown paddle that fits in your boat,then you can chase down the stray paddle
a guy in Belize who rents out those sevylor tahiti cheap non bailing duckies on the Mopan River ,was actually recomending to renters to tie themselves to the boat with a cord.The river is onlyy 2-3 most of the time,but has anumber of ledges that are sticky especially sideways in a ducky,most of the clients are clueless tourists with horse collar pfds and no knife.I tried to explain the danger but i think it fell on deaf ears, i wonder if anyone died yet.
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