Sunday, March 17, 2013

Had This Been a Real Emergency

Ah, at last! A nice windy kiting session with no problems. No lost boards, leaky drysuits, gear break downs, Harbor Master rescues, Coast Guard helicopters, Navy Seal teams. No swimming.

But it doesn't seem right. I feel like I'm missing something.

So I go for a self inflicted swim, after my session. My plan is to float around in my drysuit, in winter water, to see how bad the hypothermia gets. I notice, after a 1/2 hour of swimming and floating, that it takes me about 1 minute to recall today's date, and my name. It usually takes me a little longer than that so I think I'm doing O.K.

My hands, however, think differently. They make me get out of the water. They're getting hypothermic, in spite of 5mm lobster claws. They're all tingly and angry. The rest of me is pretty happy.

This experiment is a big confidence booster for me! How long do I think I could have lasted if it had been a real emergency? Based on this experiment? I have no idea. My hands are still a little pissed about the whole thing.

I have a nice 2 hour hot shower when I get home, and I'm writing this with a down vest and winter jacket on. I think everyone should test their drysuits like this. I feel great!

Chapin, Kitesurfed, N, 12-26, 14M Rally/ Flx 138 & Plywood 134, With Frank, Sam, Chris, Kristof, Barak, Ed, Alex, others. Air temp 39 F. Water temp 39 F.


Chriz said...

I had a cold bum. When I got home I found a 1-inch cut in my wetsuit. clam? shell? I spent a lot of time in the water as well yesterday. I'm happy that even with the water coming in on my bum, my body still felt warm. I as well my friend, had the hand limitation at the end of the session. I ride now with 5mm Dakine pre-curved mittens, which are working great for me, but still the weakest link!

scooper said...

You gotta watch out for those cold bums! That's a really bad place to get frostbite. I'm glad you came thru unscathed.

It was good to see you back at the beach.

Bradford Cranston said...

I'm glad you posted this. Hands have been a concern of mine too. For the glacier gloves I wear, it's a matter of flushing...if I have to swim there's no avoiding it and fingers go tingly fast. I've wondered...what if I get washed out...say...for example...into boston harbor while kiting winthrop in a north (although I'm not entirely convinced that would've happened)...would cold hands make swimming impossible? Would you be able to warm them as you bob up and over head high swells?

Hopefully my worries, which come from a lack of experience and information, are more like the kind of a little kid who hears a bump in the night and thinks it's something ridiculous like boogie man.

scooper said...

Hey Brad,

Yeah, my 5mm claw mitts were flushing so badly that I could only swim for a few minutes before I had to stop swimming and hold my hands above the water. So I rolled onto my back and kicked my legs to kinda swim while keeping my hands dry. But then the circulation to my hands wasn't so good with my hands held up high.

For a moderate swim, Hypothermia doesn't seem likely, (with a good drysuit), but frostbitten hands do IMO.

Did I hear you got a new drysuit? I'm shopping for a new one. Soul, Kokatat, or Innovated. Can't decide.

Bradford Cranston said...

Nice...hunting for new gear is so much fun.

My two cents on the soul... It's got bells and whistles but nothing is a deal breaker. Only time will tell if it holds up, it's got a plastic zipper. As far as I can see, after two seshes, the hood is only good for collecting water and preventing you from seeing. The "jacket" is purely cosmetic, unless u like frontal wedgies, which is what u get when harness rides up while hook is through zipper. Both BrianA and I put the harness over the jacket. Also zippered pockets are too small to b useful. Right now the way I see it is they're charging $200 for a pee zip - pyro pro retailed for $650. Btw the construction seems identical.

Hopefully the suit just takes time to get used to. Otherwise I'd wait until the price comes down. But I'm guessing you might not be able to wait that long.