Paddle Leash-Opinions.

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Tsunami, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    I will be getting a paddle leash and I am wondering whats better, to lash it to the kayak or on to my wrist.
    Whats your preference?
    Is it dangerous to have the paddle lashed to your body?
    I was thinking it might be easier to get back to the kayak with the paddle in my hand-in the event I get separated from the kayak. But it might be more efficient to just have the paddle stay with the kayak.
    I am sure its more personal preference than anything so I am seeking the opinions of those with experience, being that I have none.
    Thanks.
    Tsunami.
     
  2. thief

    thief Paddler

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    my preference it to make use of the lash tab on your PFD. that way it would be easy to release with either hand as it is accessible by both hands.....you can also have a slightly shorter one.....
    i am not a fan of the bungee ones, i prefer a static line for mine (i have a couple of the older style Lendal ones like this [​IMG] and they are easy to quickly wrap up on the shaft out of the way)
     
  3. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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  4. Alana

    Alana Wave Seeker

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    I would avoid paddle leases all together.

    The risk of entanglement is too high, and it's better practice to just simply hold onto your paddle. If you need both hands, then you temporarily store your paddle under decklines and bungies. If you somehow manage to let go of your paddle, then you should have a spare on deck.
     
  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Never use a leash while transiting surf or overfalls. As Alana says, I agree entanglement is a true hazard at times. OTOH, I use a phone cord style leash, attached to the deck, just forward of the cockpit, to a padeye, left side. A decade and a half of use, no entanglements, even when practicing self rescue. Could not find a link to one at retail. Next best thing would be encapsulated shock cord, like this one from Seals. http://www.sealsskirts.com/prod_detect.php?i=53

    Google will lead to some DIY phone cord ones, if you want that style. They do click across the deck, which some find annoying.
     
  6. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    The risk of entanglement must be weighed against the risk of losing your paddle. If you routinely practice self rescues and find that you often lose your paddle, but keep your kayak, you may be a candidate for a boat-to-paddle leash. On the other hand if you have the presence of mind to keep both paddle and kayak, you should do fine without a leash.

    So my recommendation would be to start without a leash, avoid sea conditions that are beyond your level, practice lots of self rescues, and come to your own conclusion. If you then decide you need a paddle leash, continue practicing self rescues and perhaps you'll evolve to going without.
     
  7. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Some good advice here.

    I've tried using paddle leashes but the thought of entanglement always comes to mind so I opt not to use one. I certainly understand their utility but it's just that entanglement thing...

    I've been tossed out of my kayak on a couple of occasions and didn't lose my paddle -- for me, there seems to be some built in reaction to hang on to the paddle -- perhaps it's developed from years of convincing myself that in the event of a wet entry two things are most important -- hang on to boat, and hang onto the paddle. Seems to come almost instinctively now.

    If I did find myself in a situation where a paddle leash would be prudent (solo paddling large open crossings, etc) I would definitely attach it to my PFD (as thief mentions above) as it's much more comfortable and I believe, safer than being attached to the boat. In the event that I did get separated from my boat, having the paddle is still useful for aiding in short, quick bursts when swimming -- perhaps enough to catch up to a drifting kayak.
     
  8. Oldpro

    Oldpro Paddler

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    I'm with Dan and Dave here. I tether mine to my PFD. I once dropped the paddle while fastening my spray skirt and eventually had to get out of the boat to retrieve it. Good thing not too many people were watching. My boat is like a greased pig when I'm in the water next to it. Takes both hands to grab and manipulate, so no spare hand to hold onto the paddle. The leash to me is more benefit than liability.
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    I never had any trouble hanging onto the paddle in conditions or while practicing self rescue at all, and did not use one for the first couple seasons of paddling on the Columbia River.

    I started using the leash when I got interested in waterfowl, and needed both hands to use binoculars. Then the leash, attached to the boat, was very helpful.

    Like many others, I would definitely go leashless in very rough waters, especially surf of any size.

    Twice I have chased down a paddle lost by (the same) forgetful buddy, in one case a half hour search. Naturally, he could not help much because his spare has hard to get to. That guy needed a leash, or maybe a buzzer on the paddle! :D
     
  10. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    Thats what I was thinking. I have a tenancy to hold on to the bike when I go down when motorcycle riding (I fight to save it and sometimes I loose the fight) so perhaps I will instinctively hang on to the paddle. I think I would be in trouble though if my paddle was drifting one direction and my kayak was drifting the other direction. In some situations, windy for example, it might not be possible for me to catch up to a drifting kayak. My experience swimming at sea is the boat drifts away faster than realized and soon their is 100 meters or more between the boat and I. Its an uncomfortable feeling, especially when getting tired. Entanglement is a serious concern, it would suck to die for the sake of convenience. Having it attached to the Pfd is something I hadn't considered. Its not attached to the kayak so if the leash wraps around a person its still not preventing escape from the kayak.
    I do have a spare paddle, its not a kayak paddle its a short emergency paddle to get me over to where my kayak paddle is.
    Tsunami.
     
  11. CRPaddler

    CRPaddler Paddler

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    Here's a different perspective, in very rough water one should definitely use a paddle leash.

    Personally I don't use one, like most people on this forum I don't like the risk of entanglement. During rescues, rolls I found it got in my way.

    However, I just watched the documentary CONGO - The Grand Inga Project. Check out the trailer here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1glN7aZyEQ

    All of the paddlers are using paddle leashes - you can see it clearly at 2:50. Now these would be, arguably, some of the best white water paddlers in the world. They decided the risk of losing their paddle, having it torn from their grasp, was real and too realistic. The consequence of being without a paddle outdid the risk of using a paddle leash.

    Their paddle leashes are much shorter - maybe 10cm, a couple of inches? This would be a way of keeping the paddle attached without much of a risk of entanglement. Mind you, it would then be harder to put it out of the way when doing rescues. I think the purpose of the leash is more if you get thrashed by a large wave and the paddle is ripped from your hands, you can still regain it and roll up again. Something that I could see happening in surf.

    It got me thinking. I can definitely see the advantages of having a very short leash - I don't know whether I'll start using one or not, but I will think about it. Mind you, I'm not going to be paddling down the Congo, or anything similar to that!, any time soon - but it is interesting to see their way of thinking.
     
  12. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    This link: http://seakayaker.us/wp-content/uploads ... ethers.pdf

    Where I read this:
    "The county sheriff’s department found him
    floating upside-down, still seated in his
    kayak".
    Fills me with morbid dread. Its a serious thing that can happen to anyone, to Me... I am not 21 any more and I am no longer invincible as I once thought I was. I am a delicate flower thats past bloom. One day I will die. If I am careless, stupid, or just unlucky out on the ocean I will die soon, and tragically.
    I am an adrenalin junkie but sometimes it hits me, "its just not worth it".
    Thanks to all who have posted, right now I think it would be better attaching the paddle leash to my pfd, this might change-and probably will as my needs and experience develop. Their is so much I don't know in this world its sometimes hard to decide, do I fish, or do I cut bait?
    Tsunami.


    Ps, CRPaddler, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1glN7aZyEQ
    That is impressive and kindles my feeling of "Lets do this". Because if I survive, it will have been worth it :cool
     
  13. dut

    dut Paddler

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    A couple of thoughts on leashes. I used to use one and don't anymore, I thought it created as many problems as it solved.

    No matter how you attach it or to what a quick release is mandatory. A paddler was injured off of Jericho when they became entangled and capsized. Whether it is on you pfd or boat there must be a quick release.

    I have a wrist lease on one of my paddles for desperate situations but I think the more desperate the worse idea it is.

    I tried some really light cord but it tangled too easily. Which brings up the question why spend $100 plus dollars to take off a few grams and put them and more on with a heavy leash.

    Barry
     
  14. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Keep in mind that the folks in this video are in white water boats with the only way to carry spares is break apart paddles inside the boat (so not accessible on the water). Different situation than most of us are in.

    I only use a leash when I need hands free and want to just put down the paddle. Photos, when fishing, etc. I actually don't use a leash for this, but just clip my belt-mounted tow line on to it (so performing the same function as the leash).

    I have seen what lines in the water can do in rescues. Not leashes, but tow lines, painter lines, and the like. Generally best to have as few lines as possible out in the water when you are wet exiting and trying to get back in.

    For a funny situation I caught with my helmet cam and maybe a leash would have helped (or maybe not), check out
    [shortyoutube]http://youtu.be/VWJYnZnGDBU[/shortyoutube].