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Swimming, Towing Your Board Home
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fxop



Joined: 13 Jun 1998
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:46 am    Post subject: Swimming, Towing Your Board Home Reply with quote

Recently I had a boom break outside the Lowers reef at Kanaha. I was significantly outside the reef, 3:30pm, sunset 5:50pm. The boom broke just after the outside jibe, and to be honest I forgot about the trick of turning the boom upside down to get home. I admit I was stupidly unprepared for this. In my 30 years I've apparently been lucky with failures and got complacent.

I pretty quickly made the decision to ditch the rig. The two bolt base did its job and let go of the rig. I turned my harness around and got on the board to paddle and realized I needed to break down the foot straps to lie on the board. That helped but paddling the 85L wave board was miserable!

I was going nowhere, had a hard time even staying on the board in the chop, and my shoulders and neck were going to take a beating. I got off the board and started sidestroking in. At that point the lifeguards showed up and dragged my sorry ass (and the rig) in.

And now to my question: I wished I had a line so that I could have towed the board in while swimming normally. I'm a good swimmer and unimpeded could probably get to shore in 20 mins. But you're not supposed to leave the board and besides I love that board.

Sidestroke with one arm on the board, is *slow* and uses a lot of energy.

How would you attach a tow line? The footstraps make a good choice but won't the board plow being towed tail first?

Leave the uni on and attach to that? Board won't stay aligned and rope might slip off the uni.

Remember boards used to have a tow ring on the nose? NSI makes a rubber plate with spectra loop that you could stick on the nose area of your board:

http://www.northshoreinc.com/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=338&idcategory=93

You would probably need to make a small smooth area over the sugar deck so the adhesive would stick. You could also run a redundant line slack to the footstraps as a fail-safe. Maybe attach to the harness hook on the swimmer side. Or around the waist to allow alternating crawl and breastroke.

So . . . would this work? Is the board going to track nicely behind the swimmer?

Maybe you will argue that the board is so important you never want to let go of it or lose sight of it and sidestroke is the way to go if you can't paddle.

Interested in any comments.

fxop
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 589
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once I went to shortboards, I realized the "self rescue" technique used for old school one design boards would never work in heavy wind and chop. Since then, I've broken down more than once. I've always done the the side stroke, backstroke, side stroke on the other side, pray, bargain, enjoy the sunset, monitor the current, wave to passing boats for help, keep your head, jury rig what's left, to get back technique. Being an old school guy, I've always shunned helmets and radios, although I know there are plenty of folks who swear by them. Its a personal choice and I would never fault anyone for their use. Keep hydrated and always wear enough rubber to spend the night on the water. Never expect help, but never turn it down either.

Glad you got back safely. Sail on!
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gerritt



Joined: 06 May 1998
Posts: 589
Location: Redwood City, CA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On turning the boom over. That works great. However, if you use an uphaul, never loop the bottom around the mast foot. If you do, it will require detaching the rig from the board just to get the boom clear of the sail in order to flip it over. Trying to reattach a crippled rig to the board in choppy waters when you are tired and alone might prove impossible. You might lose your board accidentally once its detached.

I simply attach the bottom of the uphaul to the velcro in my mast pad. If your sail doesn't allow that, then figure out a way to use your excess downhaul line to tie it off. that way you can get the boom clear of the rig with rig still attached to the board. It can save your bacon and prevent a night on the water.

Finally, once underway on a jury rigged half-boom, don't sheet in and ride full speed like you would with a full boom, otherwise you risk snapping the remaining half of the boom!
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chophop



Joined: 16 Apr 1996
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you and you equipment mad it in safe.

Thank God for lifeguards.

I don't know of a technical answer to your problem but can attest to the fact that is damn difficult to paddle a modern waveboard in swell and chop. I tried it recently on that kind of day with the boom and mast pieces under me and it was really slow and difficult. Really hard to even stay on top with how short boards are now.

One thing that might help, and this is difficult when it happens; try to think; think checklist-- wait a few minutes and search the memory banks. Had you done this you might have remembered about flipping the boom, it is actually easy and works well. I understand how hard it is to think like that when you are out there in an emergency.
As for your tow in idea maybe just tie a loop around the rear strap and tow it backwards and when you get too tired go back and rest on the board for a while.
Finally carry a radio so that you can call for help. It is lucky that either the lifeguards saw you or someone else alerted them to your situation. Some rugged individualists on this forum will give you shit if you call for help. But they are wrong. There is no shame is getting help in such an emergency. Lifeguards and the coastguard are trained and paid to do just this important job and they are not at all put out for doing their job. Good luck and buy a new boom and a radio! Smile
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dllee



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 4555
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to be a surfer, so take this with a grain of salt.
A wave board, 68 liters, paddles the same as a big old funboard surfboard designed for beginner surfer's. As such, it paddles really well. If you can't paddle that, you're basically helpless in the water.
Swimming in chop, and there's chop when the winds blow enough for windsurfing, is half the speed and half the efficiency of paddling the wave board. Straps you avoid by having your legs outboard of the front and rear straps.
Should you deem to swim it in, attach your oiut, down, up, or inhaul from the mast base to you, and swim alongside. But now, you're trolling for sharks and barracuda.
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scottwerden



Joined: 11 Jul 1999
Posts: 302

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you made it in. If the lifeguard did not get you, you probably would have landed way down past Ka'a point. It gets sharky down towards the treatment and power plants, from what I hear.

I had to swim my gear in from Uppers a few years back when I broke a mast. Did not even try paddling, just one-arm side-stroked all the way to the beach.

I am curious about your boom - fiberglass or Aluminum? Old, new? Any take-aways from this?
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fxop



Joined: 13 Jun 1998
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am curious about your boom - fiberglass or Aluminum? Old, new? Any take-aways from this?


I was hoping nobody would ask, since it exposes more stupidity on my part.

The boom was 5 years old, alloy, lightly used, but had been stored for 3 years in a damp room 40ft from the water. I now learn that aluminum doesn't show typical signs of corrosion, it just gets thinner. There was a white powder in the area of the break, near the head, inside the tube.

So, I bought a MauiSails carbon boom, and had my Neil Pryde X9 carbon boom refurbished. I had been avoiding the NP boom because I didn't trust the extension clips after 10 years of light use. The original clip had rusted out in the damp storage room.

Two days later a friend of mine broke his carbon boom just outside the break on the downwind side of Sprecks. Remembering my story, he knew he should be able to get home since unlike me he broke his boom going out.

He waterstarted and the carbon pins (!) in the boom extension clip sheared and he was a swimmer.

Anyway, now when I leave Maui I spray everything metal with silicone lube which has helped a lot but won't help with hidden surfaces.

fxop
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 5847
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good skill to learn that can come in very handy.
Learn how to do a clew first water start, followed by clew first sailing, it's not that hard. So as long as you have one side of the boom that's good, you should be able to sail back in.
Been there done that, it works.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 19220

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For starters, SEARCH the forum with sidestroke as keyword, isobars as author, and the POSTS box checked.

If you have a week to spare, use swim as the keyword in that search (almost 300 hits).

To tow your gear with a line while swimming, derig, tie the line to the straps or uni, loop and knot the line around the nose to keep the nose pointed forward, attach your end of the line to your harness, and swim.

Gauge your progress by lining up two reference points on land ... one near shore and another in its background. Just looking shoreward ahead of you is not a good reference.

Mike \m/
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jse



Joined: 17 Apr 1995
Posts: 1373
Location: Maui

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nw30 wrote:
A good skill to learn that can come in very handy.
Learn how to do a clew first water start, followed by clew first sailing, it's not that hard. So as long as you have one side of the boom that's good, you should be able to sail back in.
Been there done that, it works.


Now that's a great idea! I don't know why I never thought of that! I learned the clew first water start and clew first sailing a few years ago (finally) and it has saved me a ton of effort in the water when I fall and the sail is in the wrong orientation. Sometimes it's not ideal and a sail flip is easier, but sailing clew first solves the boom having to be flipped in the water

Another good skill that will save you in an outgoing tide is fin first sailing. You can raise the fin out of the water by weighting the nose and get much further than you would with your fin fully engaged.

Steve
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