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 Post subject: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 10th, 2021, 5:56 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
So, in following a brainstorm I had (they happen, I'm old) I've tied a piece of paracord around the shafts of my whitewater paddle, and spare, so that in the event of a dump, I can keep the paddle with me by biting on the end of the cord, while I use both hands to work my way to the back of my canoe to grab a throw-bag that is attached to my painter, so that I can do a Rodeo Rescue, if required. Or just swim to shore and not lose my paddle.

I tied the cord to the paddle using two round turns and a clove hitch, about 5 " down the shaft from the top of the T handles on the paddles. The cords are about a foot long, just long enough to be well clear of my jaw in the water. No knots or end finishings on the cords.

They may take a bit of getting used to seeing them swinging there while I paddle, but I think that will happen quick as my attention will be focused on the river; and I think that they offer a reasonable, feasible way of not losing expensive paddles. Or, it may be a bad idea, but provide good stories about how the teeth went missing.

Has anyone heard of doing this before? Good/bad idea? I think it's brilliant, but I confess to being biased, and not having tried it yet, and not having talked to anyone about it yet. So, maybe not brilliant, but shiny??

What do you think folks?
Thanks all, cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 10th, 2021, 6:45 pm 
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Never heard of this. It might work, but if you have a T grip on your paddle it seems unnecessary as you can do a crawl easily by letting the grip rotate in your hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 11th, 2021, 10:35 am 
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Interesting. But I prefer to use my mouth for breathing!

Over a lot of years of ww paddling I've only lost 1 paddle, and that was trying to throw it to somebody, not from a swim. So for me, I'd ask "what's the problem I'm trying to solve?", because losing paddles actually hasn't been a real problem.

I appreciate the thinking though, and maybe it will be important to some, but I'm not biting.

P.

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 11th, 2021, 1:34 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 2073
Location: Manitoba
Never heard of such before.
I find seeing paddles in water sometimes difficult so:
Is the para bite cord colourful?
Is it floating cord?

If I have a paddle's T grip removed for any reason I always check inside hollow shafts for the cork water stopper. I want my paddle to float.
I've seen and used reflective tape and foam noodle attached around the shaft. When I paddled the Grand Canyon in an OC1 someone warmed me about loosing four paddles in the big water so I brought two, one to use and a spare. Never lost hold of my paddle.
Do you know about paddle leashes for stand up paddle boards? Did you rule them out?

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 11th, 2021, 3:06 pm 
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Just my opinion, but paddle leashes are a bad idea in whitewater. After I have cleaned off all my gear of anything that could be an entanglement hazard, I wouldn't add one to my paddle. I had my share of swims, but have never lost my paddle, although I have intentionally let go a couple of times swimming in rock gardens where it was a serious impediment.


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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 11th, 2021, 6:00 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
I would stay away from a paddle leash myself, for fear of entanglement.

But I'm thinking that a foot of clean cord is unlikely to get wrapped, snagged on anything, and I prefer to have full use of both hands, and so biting on the cord seems like it provides the benefits, or at least a portion of them, of a paddle leash, without the downsides.

Rapids have washed one of my paddles away and gone long ago, and I think the bitey cord might help me from losing another. Time will tell. Cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 11th, 2021, 9:43 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
My personal opinion after having done many swims over the years in big rapids (and even small tiny ones!)......

Not a feasible idea!

As yarnel says, in big water you need to breathe a lot more than you need a paddle!

In most of my swims I use the paddle as an extension of my arm (with greater effect than just one hand) to help me swim and steer (ferry) using the current.

Once you get back in contact with your boat you should be able to grab the throw bag, painter line or just the gunnel with one hand.

If I have the paddle firmly in hand it's staying there and in all my swims I have never let go of the paddle even when I'm in the water by way of a violent and sudden ejection.

Nobody wants to lose a paddle especially if you have invested big money in a carbon stick but you do have a spare in the boat (right?) and properly stowed it should stay in the boat (even somewhat improperly stowed).

Always a good idea to add some bright colour tape to the shaft to make it easier to find if you do lose it, especially with a carbon stick (wood paddles are usually easy to find...from experience looking for other peoples paddles who have not developed the "death grip".

My throw bag is attached to a thwart, if I'm running a big rapid with a long run out where a swim is possible I open the bag and pull out a foot or so of the looped end, in a swim I get to the boat, grab the loop and make for the shore while letting the throw rope play out, at shore or at a location where I can stand I can then reel in the boat.

Of course no two swims are the same, long vs short, a mild class two vs a violent class 3/4, pool and drop vs run of the river. What might work in one might not work at all in the other.

As far as paddle leashes, they are designed for SUP and ocean Yaks where the concern is your paddle will slip away leaving you stranded but neither of those (usually) involve any type of "whitewater" just current. Canoe paddlers on the other hand generally have two hands on the paddle at all times AND they have a spare should one slip away during a break so you pull out the spare and paddle over to the "lost" one that is floating gently away.

I will admit that the idea of some sort of tether has crossed my mind, usually when I have paused for a smoke stop and had it almost slide off the gunnels when I should have properly stowed instead. Remember that in a swim mid-rapid every breath you take might be the one you need when you find yourself suddenly going over a pore-over and into a hole, better may sure your lungs are full at all times. If the water is mostly calm then holding the paddle and dealing with the boat with the free hand should be easy.

CAVEAT: I'm NOT an expert, just a lot of experience and all my recent swims have been in relatively benign situations totally due to inattention like a recent double swim in what was no more than a long section of fast water. My longest swim was a continuous Class 3 of about 3km, dumped right at the top and held my paddle in one hand and a painter line in the other, used my paddle to "steer" around obstructions and held the end of the painter to ensure the boat was always downstream of me (the boat when floating freely tended to follow the deep water channel which is where I wanted to be as there was clearly no way to get to shore before the end of the rapid).

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 12th, 2021, 12:14 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 2073
Location: Manitoba
Safety Leash
It's for a SUP board in whitewater. Personally, I've had success holding onto my paddle and I'm not a SUP paddler but there might be a crossover use to canoeing. Just thinking outside of the box.

See this link for more information including an informative video:
https://www.soulwaterman.com/products/s ... 6d9d&_ss=r

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 13th, 2021, 9:45 am 
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Joined: August 16th, 2011, 8:02 pm
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Location: Edmonton area
Well, it seems that the consensus is that the bite cord concept, while possibly novel, is unlikely to be very effective, as gulping big breaths of air while keeping teeth clenched to hold a paddle on a string are just at odds with each other. Fair enough, makes sense, and now having been reminded of it, my own experiences bear that out as well. The idea may well be of very limited utility in the real world, after all.

But, I've not heard anything stressing any increased risks of having a short string hanging from a paddle (not a leash), and so I expect that I will leave them on, and perhaps see if there might be some circumstances when they might be value added. Maybe not, but I don't see a downside in continuing the experiment.

I keep thinking of a scenario where I'm swimming for shore as quickly as I can, to be able to belay a long throw bag that is attached to the painter, around a tree or rock to pendulum the boat back to shore. In a situation like that, I would like to be able to use both arms/hands to their best effect, and I'm already out of the washing machine, and not too worried about my next breath, the cord might help.

Dunno.
I do know that I am very grateful for everyone's input in this. I can see that it's not as shiny an idea as I thought perhaps it might be, which was my point in seeking input. Thanks all!

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 30th, 2021, 3:23 pm 
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Posts: 1943
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
guyfawkes041 wrote:
But, I've not heard anything stressing any increased risks of having a short string hanging from a paddle (not a leash), and so I expect that I will leave them on, and perhaps see if there might be some circumstances when they might be value added. Maybe not, but I don't see a downside in continuing the experiment.


Late to this discussion, but the “bite cord” would freak me out as a way to hang onto my paddle in a swim. A longer cord might strangle me, and a shorter one put the paddle so close to my head in a moving water swim that the paddle could bash me in the teeth or smack me in the eye when washing over a wave or plunging into a hole. I think just no to a bite cord.

On swims I have either kept hold of my paddle until rescued, or managed an eddy on my own accord, or thrown it ashore in oh-shit-glad-I-brought-a-spare desperation when nearing land, or (most often) stuffed the paddle in the overturned canoe under gear or float bags to free both hands and deal with the mess I’ve made.

“String” is worrisome; I find it hard to hold onto anything less than ¼” line when flailing about in the water, and prefer 5/16” floating line painter lines in moving water. If I can’t actually keep a grip on the line it is more hazard than it’s worth, whatever the length.

I’d rather not have string attached to the paddle. What diameter “string”? Where and how is it tied on, at the grip flopping under hand, or at the throat, dangling wicking water wet hand water and splattering excess when you switch sides?

There may be no immediate downside in continuing the “short string” experiments. Give it a shot in some no-hazard situation and let us know what you discover.


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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: June 30th, 2021, 6:52 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
That's the plan Mike, it's an experiment. I will dump on purpose in progressively more energetic water until I either realize that the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits, or vice versa.

I was only ever planning on using a bite cord once I have an idea what my recovery plan is for any given dump, and once I'm already through the washing machine, and not going to be washed over by any more waves, nor fall into any holes.

When I end up in area of the river that allows for a pretty straightforward swim to shore, the cord should let me use both hands doing the backstroke then, with little risk of deepthroating the end of the paddle. I will already have a painter or painter/throw bag combination in one hand.

Yes, the length of the cord would be a Goldilocks measurement. I'm using paracord, about 13" long, tied in a round-turn and two half-hitches, about 8" below my top hand.

Anyway, I'll resurrect this post after my fall trip, and report on any spitting of Chiclets or black eyes.
Cheers!

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: July 7th, 2021, 5:15 am 
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Location: Ottawa
Experiment - hold something in your mouth while doing something active (like swimming)....
Can you do it for more than 15 seconds?
Can you breathe enough with your teeth clamped shut?
I think it would be hard to do, based on experience eating or drinking while riding my bike.

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 Post subject: Re: Paddle Bite Cord?
PostPosted: July 7th, 2021, 10:42 am 
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Location: Edmonton area
Yes, that's the plan, and the reason that I called it an experiment.

I'll do it on the trip, I don't need to do an pre-experiment to see if the experiment will work; I will just do the experiment.

If it doesn't work, I will untie the cord.

Either way, I will post my thoughts on it once it is more than theoretical.

Cheers.

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