Body Armour - Why do or don't you wear it?

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GlennM

Body Armour - Why do or don't you wear it?

Post by GlennM » Wed Apr 14, 2004 9:51 pm

I'm not anything close to a steep creeker, but I do paddle some shallow rivers and I'm at the point in my paddling where I will consider a roll before bailing out. These two factors translate into spending time upside-down in shallow rocky water. To me, it seems logical that one would water to wear some protective armour (good helmet, cage, upper body protector) when engaging in this activity, but from what I've seen on the local rivers, this type of protection does not seem to be the norm. I'm wondering why? Is it a style thing? Too uncomfortable? Won't happen to me or it's not really that risky? Are there negative safety factors to consider (I've heard some people shy away from face guards because of potential to get them lodged on a rock).

For me, I'm all for protective armour, but I'm a procrastinator when it comes to getting it. Also, I admit that I'm a little hesitant to look like the posterboy for river safety, especially when so few seem to be wearing much of it.

Just wondering what others thoughts are on this?

Glenn

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Post by aldenb » Thu Apr 15, 2004 12:55 am

im thinking about getting one of those motorcross helmets with a chin guard deal. body armour -- for really gnarly stuff i think it's a very good idea, im going to experiment with it, im glad people have brought it up.
AB

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the great gonzo
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Post by the great gonzo » Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:38 am

Glenn, after my recent experience (I think now I am REALLY a pain boater...) i am definitely going to get another Galasport full coverage helmet and I will install the cascade face cage again.
Ad I will definitely, no matter if stylish or comfortable or not, wear some body armour on shallow and rocky rivers.
I just feel my body is worth it, and as I am getting older, my body takes longer to heal.
At this point, I couldn't care less if I am gonna look like a poster boy for river safety and if I am the only one wearing body armour.
As far as face cages are concerned, I feel that the odds of smashing my face onto a rock re far greater than the odds of my cage getting caught on some rocks.
It's all a game of odds and there is no absolute protection, but I want defintely the odds to be stacked in my favor :wink: .

martin
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body armour

Post by Matt Johnson » Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:05 pm

there are these pads made for several sports liek hockey and footballplayers that have pads built into the front and back to protect your ribs in both front and back. they are hard pieces of palstic and dont break easily. they also don't come up high enough to interfere with forward stroke i would suggest these for rib/kidney protection. i am not sure that there is a major concern for the area that they covers but it seems like a good idea to me.

Matt

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Post by James » Thu Apr 15, 2004 3:02 pm

I creek C1 and wear elbow pads and a full coverage helmet with a face guard. Most of the kayakers I paddle with wear the same, but often with smaller helmets (says something doesn`t it). With that protection, and flipping, getting off line more than the kayakers, I feel fairly well protected, knock on wood. I have taken some lumps in the shoulders and PFD while tucked under my boat. I don`t plan to go for further protection myself, as it might add a little too much confidence in the wrong situation.

Think about this, where do you stop with body protection? If you break a paddle and swim a rapid, are you going to wear protective shorts?

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Post by the great gonzo » Thu Apr 15, 2004 9:42 pm

)James, I agree that protection can be overdone, especially if it restricts your body movements, but I think it makes sense to protect at least the body parts that get hitall the time when I am upside down. I used to wear similar protection as you do, but always felt that my shoulders were not protected well enough. Well, unfortunately last Saturday proved me right...
If I am upside down on shallow rivers I usually get hit on my head, shoulders, arms/hands and back. I flip way more often than I actually swim (although I still do once in a while :-? ...), so I hit those body parts probably at least 10 to 20 times more often than than my lower body.
So why would I only protrct my head/face and my ellbows and not my shoulders? I for one have so far taken more and harder hit's to my shoulders than I have to my ellbows for instance.
I haven't tried on those mountain bike protective shirts yet (they are hard to get into with a broken shoulder... :-? ) but I hear good things about them from my hard core biking friends and I will definitely give them a long hard look once I am o.k. again.

martin
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Post by Paddle Power » Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:48 pm

I vote for and wear a full coverage helmet and elbow pads. My PFD provides back protection and I know this from first hand experience sliding over rocks. As for the face cage, I have considered this but I also question how often my face is exposed. The face is usually protected when rolling by facing the deck of your upside down boat or once swung out, it is protected by the paddle shaft (nose to shaft).

The other out of sight protection I always use is ear plugs for cold water.

The shoulder protection is an interesting idea.
Brian
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Post by Ronnie » Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:02 pm

I was looking for lacrosse pads that would protect my precious functioning organs from a well-placed lacrosse stick jab. While I was looking I found a cross between foam and a rash guard that would provide protection from a stick slash or stab could even prevent the occasional impalement. Anyway I thought that someone might find that this could be warn under a dry top during your next hardcore creek run. Which I regrettably will not be able to join because my mom thinks its dangerous or something like that. ':roll:'

This website is having a sale on that stuff and they looks functional enough for the occasional upside-down boating experience

http://www.lacrosse.com/IWCatProductPag ... showcase=t

This one has plastic shoulder protection and foam rib protection. This one is sleeveless for increased movement of the arms.

http://www.lacrosse.com/IWCatProductPag ... _Id=110083

this one has foam shoulder protection and foam upper arm protection. It also has foam rib protection.

I think the shirts are cheaper than a mountain bike shirt but I can’t be positive about that

Ronnie

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under or over

Post by sbroam » Wed Apr 21, 2004 1:09 am

I thought it would make more sense to wear the armor over your expensive dry top/suit - protecting the waterproof membrane from the abrasion. No? Or would that make for a smoother overall outer surface, less likely to snag on stuff?

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where to buy

Post by Matt Johnson » Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:52 pm

I got my protective shirt from eastbay they also sell lacrosse equiptment
Arm Guards: http://www.eastbay.com/catalog/modelsum ... HighPrice=

Shirt: http://www.eastbay.com/catalog/productd ... de motion http://www.eastbay.com/catalog/productd ... _nbr=48246[/url]

These are a few items that could be of some use

Matt

Longboatin'

Body armor?

Post by Longboatin' » Fri Apr 23, 2004 6:36 pm

Let's take a step back for a moment. Unless one is down with doing some urban paddling, or pimpin the shuttle vehicle in some local rap video, what is the point of wearing "body armor?" I'd have to say that, if someone feels that they need pads to go boating on a particular stream, then that person probably should not be there...maybe? That there should be a bit more work put into wringing out some added understanding of the boat, perhaps.

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Post by the great gonzo » Fri Apr 23, 2004 10:43 pm

longboatin, the point of wearing body armour is to be protected if things go wrong :o .
It has nothing to do with urban culture or attitude at all.
The way your post comes across to me, you never flip and are a perfect paddler who has total boat control and understanding in every situation :wink: .
Well, most paddlers I know (myself included), even the best of them, screw up once in a while :( , and I have seen several potential very ugly injuries happening to experienced paddlers, and several of thenm could have been easily prevented with a little better protection like face guards or pads.
If one flips in shallow creeks, even with a fast and bombproof roll, the danger of hitting rocks and getting injured is very real.

It seems to me that paddlers seem to be a little on the protectin side behind other sports with silmilar injury risks. Or would you go and play full contact hockey or lacrosse Without protection?
Downhill mountainbikers and MX riders wear body armour as well.

martin
Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing - Henry David Thoreau

Longboatin'

Post by Longboatin' » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:17 pm

martin,
The urban culture thing was a joke, you know- bullet proof vests, rappers, etc. .
Anyway, I don't have a problem w/ safety, I do wear a life jacket and helmet etc. and I always wear my seatbelt in a car. However, Mx and downhill mountain biking has one major element that boating does not - speed - so I can understand why people that do that kind of thing want some added protection. In boating though,, I still believe that less is better. I noticed quite a few boaters sporting a face mask on the Stony this past weekend, and I am sure they think that it adds extra protection, but what if that mask catches on something under water? Of course proponents could reply that the chance is slim, and I would reply that the need for a face mask in the first place is slim. I quess I would just hope that boaters don't come to rely on such extras and ignore the safety of technique and practice. If one is tucked correctly under the boat, what is a facemask protecting anyway.
I can quite comfortably admit that I flip and on occasion swim. I have swam some nasty things in fact, like Wesser Falls on the Nantahala, and have never been injured, not even a bruise. Now some my say I am lucky, but I chalk it up again to skills and familiarity. I have spent a lot of time swimming around in the Lower Yough, within the rapids, checking things out, and I believe that being comfortable in moving water, and knowing what to do while swimming is the ultimate in safety. I see many boaters passively floating during a swim, when they should be aggressively moving themselves to shore. I'd like to see more pro-active safety, rather than the passive safety of pads.

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Post by Jan_dettmer » Mon Apr 26, 2004 3:32 pm

Longboating,

I agree with you that agressive selfrescue is good.
I disagree in terms of speed. On steep runs, speed is a factor and rocks are pretty hard. All low volume stuff asks for protection and in fact I know no one going creeking without ellbow pads on low volume runs.

Face mask is especially important for Kayakers if they do backdeck roll.
Some C1-ers do that as well. Also, sometimes, in shallow stuff you just find yourself on your back deck and everything is pretty fast.
I think it all comes down to on what kind of run you are...

Cheers, Jan

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Post by the great gonzo » Tue Apr 27, 2004 4:21 am

Longboatin'

I agree that selfrescue is good, having started out my WW career in 16 ft tripping boats, I am quite familiar with that :) and I think i and usually pretty good getting out of the ugly stuff.
I agree also that practice and technique are important, but I am looking for something that makes running unfamiliar low volume runs just a little safer.
I disagree how ever, as did Jan, with you about the factor of speed. Speed can, as Jan already pointed out, definitely be a factor in steeper drops. And what intensifies the impact, in my opinion at least, is the force of the water trying to smacking you against the rocks :o .

Volume of the river is definitely a consideration in the necessary protection. I do not know the lower Yough , so I don't know wether it is a low volume or a big water river, but on big volume rivers like the Ottawa one is very unlikely to hit anything when upside down or while swimming, so additional protection is definitely not necessary.
However low volume runs like Beaver Creek and the Gull (often lower than 15 cms / 500 cfs) are so shallow that very often one already hits while going over and before being able to properly tuck.

As far as face masks are concerned, I have seen or know friends at least three serious facial injuries in lower volume rivers in the last three years. One friend almost lost an eye when he hit a rock witth his face while flipping, another friend lost teeth hitting a rock while being upside down going down a drop and I witnessed a girl hitting a rock with her forehead while flipping and actually being knocked out for a few minutes! Scary! Since then I have decided that I will personally only paddle with a full coverage helmet with a face mask. From personal experience I consider the risk of getting hit in the face greater than getting caught on the face mask, althouth I am aware of that potential risk.

I have also seen numerous people, including myself, taking hits on low volume runs to the shoulders and back while upside down even when properly tucked.

martin
Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing - Henry David Thoreau

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