Author Topic: Long swim  (Read 3539 times)

PonoBill

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Long swim
« on: December 22, 2021, 10:07:47 AM »
My board leash came disconnected yesterday when I was at Kanaha outside the reef. My board got away in a hurry. Swimming in an impact vest is painfully slow, so I couldn't catch it and soon it was out of sight in the swell. Of course, I still had the wing, so I got to practice self-rescue for quite a while, which is certainly a worthwhile skill to work on.

I simply got the wing flying, moved my grip further back--which would get a little more challenging with a wing that doesn't have a boom or a fake boom in my case--and used the pull to drag myself through the water. That worked really well until I ran over the reef and got rumbled by a few waist-high waves. In the excitement, the wing flipped and I struggled a bit to flip it back while swimming. I could have stood on the reef, but long experience told me I didn't need to add coral cuts and vana spines to my troubles. I gave up and just kicked along for a while, but the current and wind was carrying me towards Ka'a.

I finally tried a few different approaches to flipping the wing and managed to do it by holding a wingtip down and pulling on the leash. I was prepared to hang on to the wing tightly if the leash parted. I also thought this would be a shitty time to pop the bladder and came up with a few strategies if that happened. Mostly arrayed around keeping as much air in the wing as I could. Fortunately, the wing finally flipped nicely and I continued my cruise in.

With the aid of the wing, I was able to not only make good speed towards the beach, but I was also able to hold my own against wind and current, aiming towards the lifeguard tower at the edge of kite beach. Several windsurfers checked on me to see if I was okay, I assured them I was and didn't need the lifeguards. One of them told me a winger had retrieved my board and put it on the beach. Whoever that was, thanks, and thanks to the windsurfers who checked on me.

This looks like a better way to self-rescue in many cases. I've done the spinnaker riding the leading edge thing before, but there are some refinements here that I haven't tried. I'm going to practice this next time I go out--which given the current rain in Maui, might be a while. https://youtu.be/V48ZQWRmZwY

When I was about 100 yards offshore I saw a lifeguard on a rescue board paddling out towards me. I thought about waving him off, but he said I should get on the nose of the rescue board and fly the wing to bring us both back to the beach. He apparently didn't realize he was dealing with a clumsy geezer with bad knees, and after flopping around a while I gave him the wing leash, handed him the wing, and crawled onto the back of the board. We made good time to the beach and Chris--the lifeguard--aimed for my board so I only had to walk a few yards to retrieve it.

I took a long walk of shame back to my truck, carrying my gear all the way. I could have stashed it and gone for the van, but it wasn't that far (probably less than half a mile) and everything was pretty sandy. I wanted to use the hose and shower at the entrance to kooks to wash everything off, including me. I stowed my gear and headed to Costco for a restocking expedition, probably the most dangerous thing I did all day. 

Thanks to everyone that helped me out. I'm confident I didn't NEED help, but it's certainly nice to have people care. It's always worthwhile to have something like this happen so you can test your reactions and ability to respond. If I couldn't manage this and/or worse situations I'd have no business wingfoiling anywhere but a kiddie pool.

But I can.
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Foilgeoff

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2021, 11:32:08 AM »
Bill, you have the BEST stories!

Caribsurf

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2021, 12:41:42 PM »
Bill glad you made it back to shore safely. That must have been hairy.

That's a very helpful video as well, and next time on the water I am going to practice it.

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Badger

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2021, 12:47:59 PM »
Super useful info.  I saw a different body drag video a while back but I don't think it mentioned anything about being able to steer diagonally. I'm definitely going to try it.
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juandesooka

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2021, 12:55:39 PM »
Glad you're ok!  Terrible feeling to watch your board sail away in slo-mo, just out of arms reach, and just slightly faster than you can sprint swim, look up every 20 seconds to see the distance increase. UGH. I was that guy once and on a curving beach where the side shore wind became side-off down the way, I was grateful to get my board back.

With leash disconnects a couple times since, I can confirm Gunnar's self rescue technique works!  If there are waves, I doubt you could overtake it, but in flat water you just need to be slightly faster than the board to catch up to it.

These foil sports sure do regularly deal out helpings of humble pie. 

 

VB_Foil

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2021, 01:16:26 PM »
A friend recently had a board leash failure in a high current, high wind swell scenario at a pinchpoint on a river and he lost the board immediately.  He hadn't learned self rescue techniques yet, as he was just learning the wing (avid windfoiler).  Luckily a boat down wind saw the board floating down the river with out a passenger and looked up river to see him floating with the wing a few hundred yards away.  It would have been a long swim for him and he likely would have had some trouble given the location.  He was the only one out too.  He thinks he may have failed to properly attached his reel leash.  (Double Check Your Safety Points Before Entering Water)

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juandesooka

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2021, 02:01:04 PM »
He thinks he may have failed to properly attached his reel leash.  (Double Check Your Safety Points Before Entering Water)

And also important to re-evaluate risk assessment based on your situation.  If losing your board could be life threatening, then that easy clip on reel connector may not be reliable enough...can use elastic bands or wire it closed.  Or in big waves where getting tangled in leashes is dangerous, maybe better to use a surf leash instead.  And of course: if you can't paddle or swim a km, don't go more than a km out. 

I believe winging is generally a lot safer than kiting, except that it allows you to get you out in conditions you'd probably opt out of the kite.  I had one of those Hmmm moments recently ... winging solo, just before dusk on a cold day, gusty winds, in a spot with heavy outgoing currents and really bad downwind catchment. I looked down at my gear and realized I would be in deep doo-doo if anything fails...I got the fear and went in.  The mental image I had was alone at sea in the dark in a black wetsuit.  And if I was able to reach shore downwind, then maybe a 5km hike out in pitch black forest/cliffs. Boat rescue is not that far away but they need to find you. At that point you start thinking realistically about things like a cell phone/VHF, signaling device, high viz, flotation, etc. 

We all need to find our happy place for safety preparedness, staying uphill of paranoia but being realistic and ready should things go sour. 

TallDude

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2021, 08:43:26 PM »
Dodged one there Bill;) but it makes you feel alive!
It's not overhead to me!
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red_tx

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2021, 08:00:28 AM »
Epic Bill.
Makes any of my long swim stories seem unimpressive.

Ok, Ill tell one.
In the beginning when I would go out on my 7'4 with the M200, with too little wind, I would flail and flail Trying to get up to wing.

I grew up sailing so I know how to stay up wind. On this day I either forgot or did not care.

I was way down wind hoping to catch a break, get up to foil, then get back to the truck.
NOPE
Main strut in the Sling 4.2(too small) POPPED. I did have the pinch set so the leading edge was still pumped.

Tried to use the kite but I was just getting pushed further downwind.

I am on a lake. Was not going to die or anything. Worst case is I give up and go to the other side and hitch a ride back around. (Too far to walk).

Instead.. I deflate the kite and lay on it. It doesnt lay flat. Its like laying on a wet seal on top of the board.

I prone paddle for about an hour upwind, if I stop I go back.

I kept pretending that I was in the ocean and that death was an option, or that I would get swept out to sea.

No fireworks at the end. I made it.. This was 3 years ago.

Did it again two days ago and ended up doing the shimmy along the dock thing with the wing and board until I could get back to the launch.

Nothing to your epic journey, but I can relate in some ways.

PS: My stories work better one line at a time versus paragraph format. :)

-red

dns

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2021, 07:20:59 AM »
I finally tried a few different approaches to flipping the wing and managed to do it by holding a wingtip down and pulling on the leash. I was prepared to hang on to the wing tightly if the leash parted.

FWIW flipping the wing when you're in the water is super easy if you just let the wind do it for you. I pull the wing around so I'm slightly downwind of it on one wing tip. Then I just push it down under the water. The wind catches the leading edge and it auto flips. I find it much easier to flip the wing in the water than to try and balance on my board and lift the wing high enough to flip it.

surfcowboy

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2021, 01:20:08 PM »
DNS that's a good tip. Does it work by dipping the leading edge? Seems easier with the leash

dns

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2021, 08:59:00 PM »
No leash involved. I just pull the chord (wingspan?) line a bit up into the wind (maybe 20 degrees), and push down on the wing tip a bit past where it bends around from the leading edge. Sometimes a little push up on the leading edge helps, but mostly it just levers the rest of the wing up and it catches the wind and flips right side up on its own. Since it's blowing somewhat over my head the leading power handle is right there to grab and I'm all set up for a stinkbug.

surfcowboy

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Re: Long swim
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2021, 05:22:11 AM »
Thx, I got it. And yeah I didn't mean to pull the leash, sometimes my leash barely makes it to the tip when I'm flipping it so that's what I meant. But I see how pressure on the tip lifts the leading edge. I was thinking you meant flipping tip to tip.

 


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