/ Buoyancy aids for deep water soloing

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lumu_tit - on 20 Jan 2013
Is there a reason other than fashion and convention why these are not common place in deep water soloing? In most water sports it would be seen as very bad practice not to wear one. The only negatives I can think of other than cost is that they can be quite cumbersome and likely to ride up when entering the water. The later can easily be solved with a strap round the groin.
Dave 88 - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

The same reason people don't wear them cliff diving.
Jack B on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

If you enter the water at speed wearing a standard buoyancy aid, it will hurt you. Badly.
highclimber - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Jack B: balls it does - i've done some rather big jumps into pools of water with one on and it has never hurt me - quite the opposite.
Bimbler - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

No real reason from a hitting the water point of view. They are restrictive when climbing though.
gribble - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:
> In most water sports it would be seen as very bad practice not to wear one.

I'm not sure I would class DWS as a water sport!
Ian Parsons - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

Fairly standard kit - in the form of children's inflatable armbands attached to harness - for at least one notable exponent of "cutting it a bit fine"/shallow water soloing; not so much to keep you afloat once in the water (albeit probably handy for that as well) but to slow you down on entry in the hope of not hitting the bottom. Never having tried it myself I would guess it requires very fine judgement and a precise knowledge of the underwater topography in the landing area.
as646 on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit: Plus, water wings look pretty unfashionable.
butteredfrog - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Jack B) balls it does - i've done some rather big jumps into pools of water with one on and it has never hurt me - quite the opposite.

Might do with a groin strap on, like the OP suggests! :)
marsbar - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit: I'd want a well fitted one, not a groin strap. Something like this is designed not to restrict movement and fit well http://www.brighton-canoes.co.uk/productpages/pfds/palm-helix.htm

mkean - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:
Mainly because they restrict your movement but also because they make impacts with the water more uncomfortable. I've had one break open when hitting the water from 7m and the feeling of having your arms forced above your head is pretty unpleasant. If you go in from a good height you are increasing your chances of the buoyancy aid knocking you out with a surprise uppercut.
ice.solo - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

maybe most people who do it can swim.
lumu_tit - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to gribble: I wouldn't class DWS as a water sport neither. I would expect to spend a lot more time in the water during a day DWS than a day sailing however. With choppy seas and often quite long distances to swim back to there is perhaps a case to question current practices?
Minneconjou Sioux - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to gribble:
> (In reply to lumu_tit)
> [...]
>
> I'm not sure I would class DWS as a water sport!

If it is then yer doing it wrong!
Jonny2vests - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

It's generally done in warm friendly water with well defined exits. As long as you can swim, then that's usually all the risk mitigation you need. Youu could equally ask why do people who swim in the sea not wear one?

I'd rather we invented the underwater mat, I hate being able to see the bottom!
muppetfilter - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to ice.solo:

> maybe most people who do it can swim.

Except of course the ones who drown, one reason people fall is that their arms are fatigued .... Not the best time to be swimming.

LastBoyScout on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

My wife got severe bruising around her ribs from jumping into the sea while wearing a BA on a team-building coasteering outing.

She only jumped in from about 5-6 feet, but the impact was enough to hurt her badly - she thinks any higher up and she would have broken ribs. Damage came mainly from the BA riding up, apparently.

Admittedly, she's very slight and this was a cheap, poorly fitting, centre supplied BA that was a bit big for her - someone with more body mass and a properly fitting BA would fare better.

I'm still not sure I'd want to jump from any height wearing my kayaking BA, which is a very good fit on me.
quiffhanger - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Jack B) balls it does - i've done some rather big jumps into pools of water with one on and it has never hurt me - quite the opposite.

Mmmm, assuming you mean canyoning I think it's very different. You've got a wetsuit & helmet as added protection and you're generally jumping into quite disturbed water. Movement isn't quite so important so you probably also have the BA jacked up really tight. All adds up to quite a different experience.

Compare this to a hot day (probably) so you don't want be wearing much underneath and probably calmer water, I certainly wouldn't be keen on the idea of a big splashdown with some chaffing loose lump of foam strapped to me.

A bunch of mates (who aren't hopefully all pumped at the same time) and something that floats to chuck in are a much better bet IMO.

Correct me if I'm wrong but most DWS accidents have been when people are on their own?

-ross
Jonny2vests - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
>
> [...]
>
> Except of course the ones who drown, one reason people fall is that their arms are fatigued .... Not the best time to be swimming.

You make it sound like there's significant history of people drowning from DWS.
Gus - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:
Don't really fancy a 20metre splashdown from the top of Diablo wearing a rubber ring and water wings.

Feel free to volunteer though, I'll bring the camera!
ads.ukclimbing.com
climber david - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

I have had lots of experiance jumping into water from relatively high heights (taking part in and leading canyoning with scouts) and I've never had a buoyancy aid hurt me, although any B.A. I wear is always very well fitting and doesn't ride up on me.

The only reason I could think of for not wearing one when deep water soloing is the restriction of moving, even on the most hi tech expensive ones.

I would always suggest wearing a B.A. if there is a chance you'll be in the water but thats me coming from a kayaking and scouting background

David
highclimber - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to quiffhanger: I'm not denying it would be a major PITA to wear one for DWS but when someone says something catergorically I feel compelled to put the record straight.
Ciro - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

You mean reasons other than stopping you from climbing hard?
Al Evans on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit: A wet suit vest or T shirt can provide quite a lot of buoyancy without being restrictive.
quiffhanger - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to climber david:
> (In reply to lumu_tit)
>
> I would always suggest wearing a B.A. if there is a chance you'll be in the water but thats me coming from a kayaking and scouting background

It's never that simple though. If we were uncompromisingly sacrificing performance for safety we'd all be top roping in full face helmets.

BAs could have there place when introducing an inexperienced group on low-level traverses but the cost rapidly outweighs the benefit in my opinion (this is of course subjective).

However as mentioned above, it's questionable that it's safer. An analogous situation is 18' Skiff Sailors: they don't all wear BAs. These are big fast sailing dinghies that are only handleable by very experienced & fit folk and they still fall over a lot. Some make the call that a BA for them stops them escaping if they get caught underwater when they capsize. This isn't the highest risk for most sailors but may well be for them, esp. if they are very good swimmers. Our could just be Aussie bravado :)

Likewise in climbing, if I'm cranking out a serious, hard & high solo I'd rather maximise my chances of not falling and rely on my mates if it does go tits up.

-ross
lumu_tit - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to quiffhanger: Skiff sailors, similar to surfers do have a large floating vessel to cling to unlike DWS.
Ciro - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:
> (In reply to quiffhanger) Skiff sailors, similar to surfers do have a large floating vessel to cling to unlike DWS.

DWSers however tend to stay fairly close to land. Presumably the benefit to any of the above from a BA would be when incapacitated - and therefore unable to cling to a vessel or the nearest bit of rock. In this scenario, DWSers *should* always have the advantage of mates close to hand.
AndrewHuddart - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

We often take big dry bag with us to use as a floatation aid to throw ato people if they look like they need it and make sure that someone is able to help if someone's in trouble in the water.

This comes after being with someone, originally of this parish, who had a nasty accident at Swanage resulting in helicopter evacation. Thankfully, we had a trained lifeguard there to help...
quiffhanger - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:
> (In reply to quiffhanger) Skiff sailors, similar to surfers do have a large floating vessel to cling to unlike DWS.

That's assuming you end up anywhere near the boat of course :)

http://www.norcalsailing.com/archives/Entries/2009/9/6_Aussie_18_International_Regatta_files/shapeim...
http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/img_lectronic_800/2010-08-23_5365_01davekeane.jpg

And that's not even covering falling when the boat remains upright.
Trangia - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to lumu_tit:

You could wear a Mae West which remains deflated until you activate it by pulling the toggle on the gas cylinder. That way you would only need to inflate it if you get into trouble.
Toby_W on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Or wear one of those commando ones that only inflates when it gets wet.

I remember a mate diving in with a life jacket on once for fun and watching him pretty much reverse out of the water after going in head first to his waist. Pretty comedy really.

Cheers

Toby

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