Drowning caused by leashing

Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by mick_allen, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Certainly worth thinking about.....
    Aren't SUP leashes the same style as some surfski leashes (and surfboard leashes) with a velcro wrap around the calf/ankle?
    If the current was so strong that she couldn't reach the leash, would a quick release help?

    Some 'ski' paddlers clip the leash to the PFD, but a PFD is not part of the SUP 'style' especially in a yoga class, I guess.
    The picture accompanying the article shows SUP yoga people with the PFDs lying on the boards.
     
  3. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    Why were they doing it in a high current area? "struggling in the strong current under a bridge"
     
  4. JKA

    JKA Paddler

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  5. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    So some random thoughts:
    1) I really don't know - but in current, with leash around leg/ankle - I speculate that one would have great difficulty even swimming backwards against a seemingly insignificant 1/4 knot current.
    2) Whatever the situation, if the leash is attached by velcro or some other similar type of overlapping strap, finding the loosening flap would be extremely difficult in disorientating conditions.
    3) even the situation of trying to find that flap would be an acrobatic maneuver against any kind [and expecially swiftish] of current.
    4) If a quick release of the type that had a 24" [or 60 cm] free end attached to the release [say a ball-type] , that release free-end would wash downstream inline with the victim [under any current conditions] and be within 'easy' [in comparison anyway] arms reach even without visibility.

    so maybe leg/ankle type leashes should have a quick release that can be readily employed in current when the victim held in place backwards against the current.

    And just maybe we could contemplate how one would orient one's body so that the head is raised under simple dynamic water conditions if one was backwards - there's got to be a simple way to use that dynamic pressure to one's advantage.
     
  6. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    Sup leashes are for in the surf to prevent a runaway board from killing someone else, and to a lesser degree for windy open water conditions. NOT for current or near bridge pilings. And the instructor should have known that.

    Standard practice for sup yoga classes here is to do them in shore, away from obstacles and anchor the boards.. this death was sadly entirely preventable.
     
  7. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Really?
     
  8. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    Yes, last thing you want while teaching yoga is to have your students drifting all over the place.. it's usually a single anchor multiple boards setup.

    The instructor sets the anchor system out before the class, and the students just clip in.
     
  9. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Thanks for that explanation. That makes a lot of sense.
    Around Victoria, the SUP folks I see are definitely in the "I wanna be free" mindset - nothing to clip in with, no PFD, usually no neoprene,and often bare feet. Sometimes a leash. The standard 'kit' includes SUP, paddle and cut-off shirt to show off the abs!
     
  10. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Sup leashes are for in the surf to prevent a runaway board from killing someone else, and to a lesser degree for windy open water conditions. NOT for current or near bridge pilings.

    That's an interesting comparison with how kayaks or surfskis would use leashes: the same for current - ie no leashes in current conditions would be safer. It's also interesting to consider why and what and when leashes are good depending on what we are paddling.

    Leashes in surf would be a real no-no for both kayak and surfskis because of abrupt entanglement by the larger [wrt a surfboard or SUP] kayak/surfski hull inertia or natural wave alignment rolling hazard. But in contrast surfski [or unloaded kayak] downwind leashes would be virtually essential to stay in vessel contact as the bigger windaged, light hulls can be quickly blown away.

    So another question might be if the leash system was the same, what could be done for more safety with inappropriate situation use. . . or should the systems be different?
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Leashes in surf zones are pretty much mandatory for both board surfers and SUP devotees. Mainly because there is a pause between breaking waves, allowing the surfer/SUP-er to remount and get out of the impact zone, one way or another. Added in is the hazard to others of a flailing (unleashed) board, and the convenience of not having to swim all the way in to retrieve an unleashed board.

    In a domain of constant current and/or in the water obstacles, the lesser hazard is to get clear of that flailing board.

    I use a paddle leash in my sea kayak in benign conditions, and stow it when transiting surf zones. As a teenager, I was an aggressive body surfer, and still have strong memories of many hold downs and encounters with the sandy bottom. Combining those conditions with a leashed kayak is asking for terminal trouble.
     
  12. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    I differ slightly on this. Leashes are for more than just surf zones. They are pretty common on flat water. One reason is that when people fall off a SUP, they often are in effect running off as they try unsuccesfully to get their balance, and this can shoot the board quite far away from the paddler (now swimmer) if they aren't leashed.

    I do fully agree that ankle leashes should not be used in moving currents. Quick release body leashes can work and provide the leash safety while negating the entrapment concern.
     
  13. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    In my deck bag there is always a paddle leash. It is clipped on whenever I am fishing so I can simply drop the paddle and play a fish on the line. There are many other things to focus attention on when that line " zings" out that it would be too easy to lose a paddle while landing the fish. I must admit that with the tethered rod, pliers, fish bonker and a paddle leash, there are many opportunities to tangle a few lines. Surf landings are not a great place to get wrapped up in a tether so mine stays safely zipped into a pouch.
     
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  14. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Either in correspondence or in one of his videos, Ed Gillette said he tethers to his boat whenever he is out in 20 mph+ winds. If I were making solo crossings - even just a few miles - I think I'd like the security of being attached to the boat. But I also understand the tangle concerns - not as much line as when a sail boat goes over, but still ...

    I figure if the tether is tucked under a back bungee - so it pulls free as I've move away from the kayak, it wouldn't be in the way of any rolling action I might try. And it "shouldn't" interfere with a wet exit.

    I carry a paddle leash. Have never used it - even it situations where I'm thinking, "Maybe I should put that paddle leash on." I do carry an extra paddle. Then there are the leash to the boat vs leash to the wrist options. Opportunities for lots of "over pizza and beer" discussion.
     
  15. jamonte

    jamonte Paddler

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    I habitually use a paddle leash for sea kayaking and really only take it off for surf launches & landings. Rolling with a leash is a non-issue, it simply doesn't get in the way. As for various rescue techniques, I find it does get in the way of a paddle float self-rescue and I usually unclip it prior to sliding my blade on the back deck. OTOH, a leash is really handy when you're doing a TX rescue... simply chuck your paddle on the "away" side of your boat and you never have to worry about crunching your blade while you're emptying the swimmer's boat. Finally, a leashed paddle creates a lot of drag which will prevent an empty boat from sailing away from you should you lose contact with it during a swim in high winds. Since I often paddle solo, this is a plus.

    As others have mentioned, it's also helpful when you're fishing, or taking a pee break, or using your camera. I have used a paddle leash for 20 years now, so it's really just part of my routine. Ironically, I never miss it when I'm paddling WW.

    I will say that I like a VERY minimal leash design. The one by Northwater is so over-built and heavy, it's a joke. All you need is a simple loop of cord around your paddle shaft, a stretch of lightweight plastic coiled line (looks like the old telephone handset cord), and a plastic clip to your deck line or bungee. That's it. Forget everything else.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  16. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I read that Freya Hoffmeister also attaches to her boat - she attaches the grab loop on the sprayskirt to the tether, so avoids the 'not another thing attached to the PFD!' issue. Of course, she doesn't wear a PFD a lot of the time so it makes sense because of that.