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We’re All Between Swims…


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  • #3716077
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: We’re All Between Swims…

    Life’s trials are like a paddler’s swims. Other times, you try to roll, and can’t. You try again, and can’t. Your head hits a rock here, a rock there.

    #3716147
    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member

    @kbabione

    Locale: Pennsylvania

    I really hope this photo is pulled from a GoPro video that was left running when your packraft flipped and that you weren’t holding a selfie-stick as you took a little swim…

    The sentiments touched me…Thanks for posting your musings.

    #3716164
    dirtbag
    BPL Member

    @dirtbaghiker

    I know all too well about swimming!! Still trying to nail my combat roll!! I swim often. Hit a few rocks here and there too! Eventually I will nail it and can move up from class 2 and 3 whitewater to play with the big boys in 3 and 4 +

    #3716179
    Marcus
    BPL Member

    @mcimes

    My extreme sport love is Surfski. They are long skinny sit on top kayaks with a molded bucket meant for downwinding open ocean in extreme conditions. The funnest conditions are inherently the most dangerous.

    The #1 most important skill is remounting the ski after a capsize in rough conditions. Last year an advanced paddler died from hypothermia in new zealand after he failed to remount multiple times. Although he had a very high skill level, his remount practice was inadequate that day.

    I take that to heart and practice remounts near the harbor mouth on bad days, as we are all in between swims, regardless of the watercraft we’re on. Its a poignant reminder that often times on the water, you are the only person who’s going to save you. Plan for immersion. Plan for the water temp not the air temp. Have multiple backup plans. Cold water and fast water are extremely unforgiving. Even some elite level paddlers have almost been killed by misjudgement in cold water.

    Looks like Ryan is well equipped in the picture above, as I would expect no less of him.

    Here is an excellent first hand account of Ivan Lawler (5 time gold medalist and renowned kayak coach) almost dying during a race in scottland from an unexpected swim

    https://www.gosurfski.com/post/meeting-the-monster-of-loch-ness?

    and here’s me practicing an extreme remount in 7′ swell with 20kt wind, then having a fun run back into the harbor starting at about 3:30. Whatever conditions you paddle in, self rescue is the #1 most important skill to have.

    YouTube video

    #3716720
    Rex Sanders
    BPL Member

    @rex

    Locale: California

    If you play on moving water, you will swim. Beware the raft guide or paddle partner who boasts they’ve never flipped or swam – when they do, it won’t be pretty.

    In my early years as a raft guide, almost every trip included me swimming. Eventually I learned to stay in the boat almost all the time. And I coached paddlers on every trip: “If you are going to fall, fall INTO the boat.” Made a big difference.

    But swimming doesn’t need to be a disaster. Somehow I survived countless swims with little to no harm. Too much fear of “an in-river experience” creates other problems, and I’ve watched it become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    When we taught new whitewater raft guides, the most-anticipated event was the “flip drill.” After a live demonstration, a boat full of trainees flips a boat on purpose in a Class II-III rapid, then flips the boat back upright, and climbs back in. Definitely a team effort for a 14-foot (4.3 meter) raft. Packrafts don’t need a team, but can still be tough.

    So roll your boat on purpose from time to time, starting in calm water. Learn to flip gracefully, swim safely, and get back on board quickly. It’s not the end of the world.

    And wear a good whitewater helmet and PFD.

    Lots of life lessons.

    — Rex

    #3716753
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    Kevin wrote:

    I really hope this photo is pulled from a GoPro video that was left running when your packraft flipped and that you weren’t holding a selfie-stick as you took a little swim…

    No packrafting here, and yes, there was a selfie-stick involved! This was part of my review of the Alpacka Dry Suit, I figured what better way to review than winter river swimming in 33-degree (F) water! Plus, as a packrafter, pretty aggressive wader (while fishing), and river-crosser (hiking), I practice river swimming regularly. It has elevated my confidence on the water more than any other skill I practice.

    #3716827
    dirtbag
    BPL Member

    @dirtbaghiker

    @ Rex and Ryan.. Have to agree there. Practice swimming in Rapids and moving water.. So when it does happen you will not be petrified and you will have confidence to do the right thing!

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