Any elderly kayakers with limitations?
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-15-11 8:49 PM (EST) Category: unassigned
What happens to older kayakers when they lose safety skills, especially self-rescue? What adaptations have you made to things like loss of joint function? Have you changed where you paddle, with whom, etc.? Given up sea kayaking? Interested specifically in ***SAFETY*** considerations, not comfort.
Elderly means 65+ and/or have lost critical functions. I know there are plenty of active people in their 70s and 80s. Would like to hear from those who are experiencing critical limitations that have made you rethink how you paddle for reasons of safety.
Classic Freestanding Rack
Touring Kayak Paddles
Touring Kayak Paddles
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Not there yet|
Posted by: old_user on Aug-15-11 9:09 PM (EST)
but hopefully will be. Switch to Greenland paddle - easier on joints. No going out in shoulder season or when there is a chance of increasing wind and waves activity. No going out without full dry suit, unless it's tropical temps in both water and air. Mostly paddling where you could swim to shore. Carrying PLB perhaps.
The only critical function loss has|
Posted by: g2d on Aug-15-11 9:20 PM (EST)
nothing to do with paddling! Mainly, I sink "out of shape" faster at my age (68). So if I'm not sufficiently in shape when a trip opportunity comes, I pass it up. I don't tolerate cold as well, so the longer and more difficult winter trips are "out." Any new (to me) runs are prescouted very carefully for possible difficulties.
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Aug-15-11 9:56 PM (EST)
I am 71 and still active in paddling and teaching. But I have backed off harder WW paddling because my reflexes and strength have diminished. Other things don't seem safety related but are aging related -- increased soreness at the end of a paddle, less stamina, decreased circulation in one leg leading to it going to sleep, all of which I have found fixes for. One of the smartest thing I did was switch to a wing paddle. It is easier on my joints than the GPs I have. Ibuprofen and vitamin C are your friends.
A great question!|
Posted by: Angell on Aug-16-11 1:48 AM (EST)
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-16-11 8:02 AM (EST)
Angell, thanks especially for your comments on rolling. Whenever I bring this up I hear, "I've taught 80-year-old ladies to roll! Anybody can roll! Age has nothing to do with it!" My instinct based on past experience is that it only takes one second to cause a shoulder injury that can be permanent, and that rolling has a high potential for causing such an injury in an older person when the joints are already compromised.
Depends on the approach|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-16-11 8:22 AM (EST)
Let people decide that for themselves|
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-16-11 4:22 PM (EST)
Inevitably there must come a time when a person decides, "I just no longer have whatever it takes to roll a kayak." Strength, coordination, balance, technique, whatever. Or "I have limitations or injuries that make rolling unwise."
My concern with your post...|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-17-11 9:45 AM (EST)
Posted by: slushpaddler on Aug-17-11 3:55 PM (EST)
I got the same impression.
That wasn't my point|
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-17-11 9:58 PM (EST)
"Your post pre-judges the likelihood of someone being able to learn a roll with a GP based on their age and condition."
Is this based on your own experience?...|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-18-11 3:40 AM (EST)
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-18-11 8:23 AM (EST)
My original post is about long-time paddlers who are not relatively healthy now and who arrive at a point late in life where they have LOST former skills. It is about CHANGE in our lives---changes in our health, abilities, and therefore our paddling habits.
OK - a problem of specificity|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-18-11 8:56 AM (EST)
It still doesn't relate|
Posted by: abc on Aug-18-11 9:50 AM (EST)
"rolling has a high potential for causing such an injury in an older person when the joints are already compromised."
one doesn't know what one doesn't know|
Posted by: abc on Aug-17-11 3:59 PM (EST)
Only in my 50s BUT.|
Posted by: old_user on Aug-16-11 1:54 AM (EST)
I paddle with people that I had to learn and re learn alternate rescues. The scoop rescue and the stirrup rescue are great problem solvers. For me, I do a re entry roll.
Posted by: clydehedlund on Aug-16-11 3:33 AM (EST)
Posted by: jen724 on Aug-16-11 6:44 AM (EST)
with spinal cancer (a nuisance), but actively paddle every week, mostly ocean, bay, and lakes. As a concession to safety I now paddle my SOTs more often than my SinKs, surf launch in milder conditions, and always wear my PFD and carry a VHF, which I confess I didn't always use to do.
I'm pushig 70|
Posted by: jmyers on Aug-16-11 8:26 AM (EST)
and have had both hips replaced. Looks like I'll soon be selling my excellent paddling, good-for-all-waters Caribou simply because I need something with a more generous cockpit and in the sub-40 pound range. The Epic 16 comes close but I don't like the rudder system. The Placid Boat Works Rapid Fire might be the ticket though I've never paddled it or any other solo canoe.
Posted by: angstrom on Aug-16-11 8:49 AM (EST)
A good composite shop should be able to modify the cockpit on a composite boat. Other lightweight options might be building a skin-on-frame or stich & glue with a custom cockpit.
Don't know about NH, but in the SE,|
Posted by: g2d on Aug-16-11 12:24 PM (EST)
it's not easy to find a "good composite shop." They mostly work on powerboats and Corvettes. I've laid up an entire kayak rim, but it's not easy. It's time consuming, detailed work.
Modifying the 'Bou's cockpit|
Posted by: jmyers on Aug-16-11 12:54 PM (EST)
would change the character of the boat. The Caribou is an excellent sea boat and, with the exception of the Mariner Coaster, the best wind-wave surfer that I've ever paddled. The ocean cockpit with its well-fitted thigh braces helps a skilled paddler control the boat. And the boat weighs 50 pounds; I want some thing 40 pounds or less.Not a huge cockpit, just something where I can pull my knees up now and then.
Posted by: pikabike on Aug-16-11 2:47 PM (EST)
Might be good to plan on using a stirrup for re-entries. I know someone who did this for his not-old-but-pudgy wife.
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-16-11 4:29 PM (EST)
A stirrup reentry requires exactly the same joint flexibility as without a stirrup. It's easier to get up on the deck than to move from the paddle float into the cockpit. Your hip joints have to open wide enough to have one leg in the cockpit and the other over the paddle float. Arthritis causes joint swelling, bone spurs, and frozen joints that can severely reduce range of motion.
Aging and doing anything|
Posted by: old_user on Aug-16-11 7:59 PM (EST)
Rotator cuff surgery on a blown shoulder is a minimum of 6 mos (to get back in your boat) to one year of strength and endurance (paddling effectively). It's a long time to pay for learning to roll, but I did. As we age, we take longer to heal for any injury. It makes sense to choose our risks carefully. But along with choosing risks carefully, it is critical to stretch, lift and do balance exercises on a regular basis--use it or loose it comes to mind. We are all different and make our choices accordingly--exercise, diet, lifestyle, etc--and it all makes a difference. The god of aging knows no favorites. Not for the feint of heart.
Don't have to do that|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-18-11 2:15 PM (EST)
Age and reality|
Posted by: durangoski on Aug-16-11 8:50 PM (EST)
Mobility and flexibility added to a shorter range of motion creep up as we age. Internal problems can also appear as I found out today. I do agree I listen to what my body is telling me now, than when I was a lot younger. I carry sponsons in the kayak. They make getting in and out of the kayak easier than the paddle float and add beam so you won't go over again. I haven't really used them in a real situation, only practice. I watch the weather and the surface conditions more and just don't go if it doesn't look right. There is always tomorrow. Tom
A lot of good points . . .|
Posted by: Angell on Aug-17-11 1:13 AM (EST)
Posted by: okayeh on Aug-17-11 1:49 AM (EST)
If I have a layoff from activity it's very hard to play catch up. I just try to keep moving so I can keep moving.
Posted by: gingernc on Aug-17-11 8:09 AM (EST)
Waterbird, about 5 years ago SeaKayaker magazine ran an accident report about a 70-ish guy who died off the coast of Southern California. He'd been a club stalwart but had let a lot of things go -- needed a new wetsuit, a new VHF radio, and a roll if I remember right. Arrived late at a launch site (car trouble as he'd put off doing something it needed), missed his friends, went out anyway, capsized in high winds, couldn't execute a self-rescue with paddle float. And died. It was a very poignant story. (A lot of am-I-my-brother's-keeper sentiments among his friends, I think.) So that's one answer. The guy was losing his skills and his friends noticed but didn't exactly gang up on him and go with him to get him in a new wetsuit and to buy a new VHF radio. So one thing we should think about is how we as paddling friends might help out our older peers.
Very good examples, thanks|
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-17-11 10:08 PM (EST)
I think it's hard to come to the realization that although you can still paddle just fine, if you can't self-rescue and you paddle alone, something has to change.
I weighed in above but feel compelled|
Posted by: jackl on Aug-17-11 8:28 AM (EST)
Every other night! Does Nanci know|
Posted by: string on Aug-17-11 9:50 AM (EST)
Ah's settle fer some...|
Posted by: fatelmo on Aug-17-11 1:20 PM (EST)
mediocre sex at me age....
Anticipatory or actual?|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-17-11 10:45 AM (EST)
It can be hard to draw the line. We tend to pull out the lighter weight boats more often, including when going into conditions that strictly speaking supposed are imperfect for a lighter weight layup. But it is just SO much easier at the end of the paddle to be putting them back on top of the car. We limit back to back days of big paddles more than several years ago and allow for more easy days to recover than before. Etc.
and don't forget the best medicine!|
Posted by: gingernc on Aug-17-11 11:18 AM (EST)
A cold beer at the takeout (or at home, if you're driving). Hmmmmm, good.
Any elderly kayakers with limitations?|
Posted by: robcasey on Aug-17-11 11:26 AM (EST)
The guy on the cover of my SUP book is 63 and in that photo is doing a 5 mile open water race. On a somewhat similar note to your question, I have a blog posting about 'adpative paddling' for disabled folks. there's good info in there on how to stay active despite phyical disabilities..
Posted by: durangoski on Aug-17-11 4:32 PM (EST)
I haven't backed off in my paddling either and did my first open water race on Lake Michigan this year. I think I was the oldest competitor in the long race (22.5 miles). I want to paddle the entire NFCT and someday I still would like to paddle with JackL.
I would be honored|
Posted by: jackl on Aug-17-11 7:03 PM (EST)
come on down to South Florida next March, and join "the bride" and I when we attempt to do the 300 mile Everglades challenge in our "BGD" tandem
Posted by: huntly2 on Aug-18-11 12:13 AM (EST)
I am 68 with a damaged heart. Once I'm in the kayak (Feathercraft Kahuna) I'm fine. My problem is going down to the ground to load up and carrying the boat to the car.The effort leaves me weak for a minute or two. My 35 pound boat has been sitting on my sofa with me afraid of the energy commitment to move it. And no friends around.
Posted by: willowleaf on Aug-18-11 9:37 AM (EST)
My first kayak was a Kahuna and I truly feel for you, being thwarted in using that wonderful boat.
Posted by: abc on Aug-18-11 9:56 AM (EST)
Would having a kayak cart and using a trailer help? The loading and unloading effort should be considerably less with (low) wheels.
Is cart plus Hullavator possible?|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-18-11 10:03 AM (EST)
Or something similar to the Hullavator... I know that's a big chunk of change. But it would solve the lifting issue if you could find your way to it.
ask for help have tip money in pocket|
Posted by: WetSandyFeet on Aug-18-11 9:31 AM (EST)
Arthritis, very severe in my low back makes loading and unloading, difficult. My kayak is not light, but it is one which works for me.
Posted by: glennr on Aug-18-11 11:41 AM (EST)
Maybe because I'm from a canoeing background, only moving to kayaks lately, I don't really concern myself over rolling. Due to long term arthritis my flexibility, especially cervically isn't good enough to manage a roll. However in all the years I canoed I never rolled successfully once and managed to have a great and safe time for decades. If I can exit my yak, I'm not any worse off than I was in my open boat. In any case I'm not paddling in conditions or waters where I can't save myself by heading to shore in my PFD. Perhaps because I paddle for peace of mind and not thrills, my adventures have been without incident.
rolling as a skill or a safety skill?|
Posted by: abc on Aug-18-11 2:14 PM (EST)
"I'm not paddling in conditions or waters where I can't save myself by heading to shore in my PFD. Perhaps because I paddle for peace of mind and not thrills, my adventures have been without incident."
Horray, Halleluhia, Bless you !|
Posted by: jackl on Aug-18-11 3:07 PM (EST)
Man I couldn't agree with you more, but every time I say anything to that nature I get jumped on by the holy rollers as I am sure you will also
there's a middle ground (water) here|
Posted by: gingernc on Aug-19-11 11:24 AM (EST)
I, too, am a very cautious paddler. But I paddle in winter, alone, as a monitor for local eagle nests. (Nesting starts in Jan.) Rolling is very important to me as one possible self-rescue technique. It is definitely not a way of life or a fitness routine. It is a tool I keep in reserve, like my paddle float.
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-18-11 4:06 PM (EST)
Your post makes total sense to me. My approach is the same as yours and it is working well. I've been on the water my whole life (canoe and kayak) and have never come close to an incident where I needed self-rescue or assisted rescue, due to good judgment and caution. There is just some disappointment at the march of time, which seems to speed up at a certain age. As a young person you set goals and hope to advance a bit each year. At a certain age you're happy to maintain your level. Then you're happy to be able to do the sport in any form.
When I was young, I sometimes took|
Posted by: g2d on Aug-18-11 11:36 AM (EST)
club veterans on easy whitewater runs that they no longer would have tried on regular trips. Once in the canoe or kayak, they were quite reliable, but some help with loading and unloading, and with an occasional portage, made a big difference for them.
Posted by: DCM on Aug-18-11 2:39 PM (EST)
That's OK, I can handle it if you can't.|
Posted by: g2d on Aug-18-11 6:16 PM (EST)
Maybe it's my advancing age...|
Posted by: DCM on Aug-18-11 7:34 PM (EST)
...but I'm a bit confused by your reply.
Posted by: Bubba707 on Aug-18-11 7:15 PM (EST)
WOA! Back up that truck! Elderly just means older, not decrepit. Heck, my GGGrandfather was elderly, age 81, when he remarried and homesteaded in South Dakota.
this forum just got more depressing|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Aug-18-11 5:17 PM (EST)
...but I'm glad to see all those folks out there who are still in the game even though others think they shouldn't be.
Wat happens ta old canooists...|
Posted by: FatElmo on Aug-18-11 5:38 PM (EST)
dat kin not canoo anymore? Dems take up 'yakin'...
Posted by: DCM on Aug-18-11 5:45 PM (EST)
As always, FE, you bring a smile to my face.
NO SMILES HERE, FE!|
Posted by: ScupperFrank on Aug-20-11 9:48 AM (EST)
I started out in a canoe -it was something like my 3rd or 4th merit badge -spent my early teens in a tin tank running all over the non-Park Everglades and upstate on the moss-draped oak-shadowed rivers & streams....
WHAT? OLD??? 65 IS THE NEW 50!|
Posted by: ScupperFrank on Aug-18-11 6:05 PM (EST)
Sixty-five ain't old. It better NOT be -I'm a year and a half away from it!...!
How about 85?|
Posted by: Waterbird on Aug-18-11 8:55 PM (EST)
How about if I change the definition to: "Elderly means 85+ and/or have lost critical functions"?
what do you think happens?|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Aug-19-11 11:53 AM (EST)
People find a way to keep doing the things they love, even if it means compromise. And IMO people in these straits generally don't sweat the details and just grab for what they can get out of life and activities. Some of these folks may not even consider their condition and more limited ability a problem because they've learned to cope. Certainly not only loss of flexibility but also strength can play factors.
Posted by: jmyers on Aug-18-11 9:19 PM (EST)
Old happens. It's not so much a mattere of years, that's just part of it. Genetics, maintaining an intelligent level of fitness, diet, prescribed meds and personal attitude are even more important in defining "old". A friend,of mine, a 65 year old avid kayaker living in Sarasota, FL, has noticed that, in the two kayaking groups to which he belongs, there are plenty of active paddlers up to about age 75 and then a precipitous decline; not many 76 or older paddlers to be found.
Not old, just experienced|
Posted by: Bubba707 on Aug-19-11 8:59 AM (EST)
Well, I'm 61 now and just looking to start kayaking. I expect to have my first kayak by next summer, I'm doing some research first. I'll grant that I'm not even close to the shape I was in at 20 but I'm not dead yet and I want to do something more physically active. Since I live close to 2 decent lakes this appeals to me. Unfortunately my wife said the largest body of water she wants to deal with is the bathtub but I'm undeterred.
Posted by: jen724 on Aug-19-11 7:47 AM (EST)
...when you have to get up more than 2 times at night to go to the bathroom.
Replies culled so far|
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-19-11 12:40 PM (EST)
Here are the replies so far that address the question, "What changes have you made to adapt to losing safety skills?" Assuming significant loss of physical function beyond what could be remedied by modifiying technique, here are some adaptations that older people use:
Have you tried it?|
Posted by: abc on Aug-19-11 2:10 PM (EST)
"17. Carry flippers to enhance your swimming. "
Some of the above...|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-19-11 6:03 PM (EST)
to me are always prudent no matter who you are, like carry a radio or similar device to call for help, bring change of clothing, spare food and something like a tarp or bivy for if caught out in bad weather.
Definitely . . .|
Posted by: Angell on Aug-20-11 12:41 AM (EST)
heavier to get there. We use kayak carts when it's any distance . . . or take turns carrying one SOT at a time (one in front, one in back); carrying each kayak 50 - 100 feet before going back the carry the other one for awhile. That way, we keep both boats in sight until we get them to the put-in.
Re: older paddlers|
Posted by: emmagene on Aug-19-11 4:41 PM (EST)
You said "older kayakers" but I noticed some canoers replied so I will too. I am a 72 year old female, paddling mostly solo canoe for over 50 years. My reflexes are not as fast and I am not as strong, especially in my right wrist. I no longer paddle Class III white water by myself. I have an inflatable canoe (a Grabner) that will go anywhere and I paddle it tandem with anybody who will go with me. I wear a wrist support on my right wrist. I carry the inflatable in the back of truck and I have a trailer for the canoes if I am by myself.I mostly paddle with younger people who help me but I try to be as independent as possible. Those are the accomodations I have made and so far they work.
How about elderly drivers ??|
Posted by: jackl on Aug-20-11 9:57 AM (EST)
I have reached the age, while driving where I can no longer take a peek at some hot looking chick strolling along the sidewalk or I'll end up hitting her !!!
Get a canoe|
Posted by: kayamedic on Aug-20-11 10:00 AM (EST)
has not been mentioned. Pack canoe in particular.
Posted by: waterbird on Aug-20-11 2:40 PM (EST)
Got a link to a pack canoe that you recommend?
Here are a few|
Posted by: kayamedic on Aug-20-11 2:48 PM (EST)
I keep forgetting a couple
Canoe and Kayak Magazine|
Posted by: bhmacin on Aug-21-11 3:56 PM (EST)
Check current issue for pack canoe reviews.
Lovely - where in Muscongous?|
Posted by: Celia on Aug-22-11 8:28 PM (EST)
With a pack canoe you might even have an easy time getting up the side of Little Marsh to that 20 sq ft campsite at the top... but the lilac bush site on Black is cushy.
I forgot to say, my memory is shot.|
Posted by: g2d on Aug-23-11 11:13 PM (EST)