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Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts

Part II

I "got to" rescue a dude who paddled outside the bouyed area and capsized in the more exposed waves. He was trying to cowboy rescue and his head would bob back and forth like a metronome until he capsized again and again. I got to him after seeing his two unsuccessful attempts, T-rescued to drain his boat, and rafted up and got him back in quickly. Another guy capsized about an hour later and got a ride back to shore on the back of a double. He left his boat out floating for some other demo'ers to bring back in. Bad idea. I had been talking to one of the local guides at the time, and jumped in one of her boats, and we paddled out to assist. She had a short (6') tow belt and towed the other vendor's swamped boat to shore.

Lessons learned:


  • Note to self: make a tow belt, and leave it attached to PFD at all times when around strange boats. You never know when you're going to need it and not be near your own boat. A paddlefloat in a PFD pocket wouldn't be bad either. Dressing for immersion was a good idea--you never know how long you'll be out there.

  • The Necky kayaks have keyhole cockpits, but short ones at that. I'm spoiled by my long keyhole cockpit, but it's probably the best option for an instructor. Ocean cockpits are probably great for surf kayaking, and bracing if you like your knees together, but not the rest of the time. Sure, a long neoprene deck is easier to get cut up by boat-over-boat rescues, but it's much, much easier to jump in and out of a boat. You don't have the luxury of time when you're paddling with newbies.

  • Most people are ignorant to the hidden dangers of kayaking. The guy I rescued still had good motor function, but wouldn't have for long. The guy who came in on the back of the double bobbed so long he couldn't have done much. I was the only one in the area wearing immersion protection. (To the vendors' credit, they were mostly on the beach, so it was unnecessary for them) People need information, but it's only going to the folks who know they need to seek it. Like we've discussed before, it's an issue of personal responsibility, but the dangers are hidden, so we need to simply say "Kayaking can be dangerous, seek information--it's here, there, and everywhere". Heeding or ignoring the warning is at the discretion of every kayaker, but the statement should be made.

  • FWP had a pontoon boat riding rescue, but it's not as ideal for rescues as a nearby trained kayaker. I spoke to the FWP Officer at length and he mentioned that the vendors were supposed to have at least one employee also out in the water to provide assistance to the demo'ers. Not many of them apparently out there. Seems like a little lack of communication.

  • Next year, I'm going to paddle around all day, and provide rescues and assistance. I figure if I can teach people a little more than the folks who are only interested in selling boats, I can help the overall kayaking climate around here. If I do nothing more than encourage people to buy a wetsuit and practice assisted and paddlefloat rescues, I'll have done a good job. If I can pique the interest of a few people to get lessons, even better. I'll get some waterproof business cards laminated that I can hand out. I'm not going to go with the intention of drumming up business for my own instructing ventures, but I'll provide that resource if anyone asks. There were some people there who had the desire to learn more, but no apparent resources.

  • I like George Gronseth's outlook of providing lessons so there are more people around that he'd like to paddle with. Not just giving lessons and teaching to make a buck. More and more, I'd just like to have a serious (but fun) group to paddle with. I don't want to babysit when I'm out to have fun, but it's good to have a group of peers that you can learn with.

  • I spoke to the FWP officer after the event and volunteered to do some brief assisted and self rescue demonstrations next year. This year, I was busy doing other things all weekend, and only stopped by on the last afternoon. Not everybody is going to be a safe paddler, but if there are folks willing to listen, I'd just as soon give them a solid introduction.

  • I have just moved to the area, and I'm going to attend my first club meeting tonight to scope out what the local climate is. Hopefully good. The Paddlefest was mayhem--maybe experienced local paddlers, as a group, could be a more active participant, rather than only boatsellers. I'm also just judging by what I've seen, so based only on the Paddlefest, there's room for improvement. I see a few paddlers here and there, and most seem competent enough, but it seems like there's going to be more and more paddlers out there, and a sizeable fraction of them can and will be unprepared. They get their little shiny plastic Pungo and have some fun on one of the 15 small, warm local lakes, then start eyeing Flathead. Trouble waiting to happen.

  • No boat is as good as a boat you've built yourself!

Well, this post is already long enough.

Safe paddling,
Shawn

Messages In This Thread

Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Saving people's lives at a demo (long)
Training: a means to an end?
Re: Instructors, clubs, learning time (long)
Re: Instructors, clubs, learning time (long)
My opinion on this
Re: My opinion on this
Re: Training: a means to an end?
Kayaking: a form of swimming (long, sorry)
Some thoughts on regulation
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
I thought this was supposed to be a free country.
Re: I thought this was supposed to be a free count
Re: I thought this was supposed to be a free count
Re: Regulated to the nines
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
Tax on society?
Fines/recue fees
Re: Fines/recue fees
Re: Fines/recue fees
Re: Fines/recue fees
Wall of Logic
Good Points! *NM*
Helmet laws
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
Where to look
Re: a finger pointing at the moon,,topic?
Re: regulations
Really tired of motorboat bashing
Re: Really tired of motorboat bashing
Re: Really tired of motorboat bashing
Re: Really tired of motorboat bashing
Re:Whoa!
Re: vrooom, vrooooommmm, or RATTLE RATTLE
Re: The good and the bad (OT)
Kasten boats are super! *NM*
Re: Really tired of motorboat bashing
response to Tim
Re: regulations
Re: Some thoughts on regulation
regulation - equipment and/or technique
Is Natural Selection Bad?
Re: Is Natural Selection Bad?
Sums it up well
Re: Sums it up well
Re: Some other examples
Choice is a good thing . .
"bosom of the sea"
Education?
Re: It works for SCUBA diving *NM*
Gonna hit the Hot Button
Fines?
No money for Coast Guard.
Re: No money for Coast Guard.
"San Juans=5 deaths"
Re: Saving people's lives at a demo (long)
Re: Saving people's lives at a demo (long)
Re: Saving people's lives at a demo (long)
Re: Saving people's lives at a demo (long)
Re: Warning labels
Celebrities or something?
Re: Celebrities or something?
Re: Sean Penn rescues swimmer in his ....OT
Re: Even better....OT
Re: Saving people's lives at a demo (long)
Re: Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Re: Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Re: Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Re: Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Re: Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Re: Flathead Paddlefest II - Deep Thoughts
Herding cats
Consolation: at least they're not buying PWC's!!!! *NM*
Re: on water monitoring
Re: on water monitoring