I've paddled New England Whitewater for some 15 years. I've rolled and swum plenty in spring snowmelt. I've been with plenty more who've done the same. I went to a drysuit early. Lots of others I paddle with wear wetsuits (brrr!). I've seen and experienced mild hypothermia.
But I've never seen or experienced anything remotely resembling a gasp reflex.
I know BNystrom has, in what I would guess were surprising circumstances.
Has anybody else either experienced this or had it happen to someone they were with?
The Kayak Wing
Touring Kayak Paddles
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Yes it happens|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jan-23-13 12:24 PM (EST)
Posted by: pblanc on Jan-23-13 1:27 PM (EST)
One of the first times I went paddling in the northern tier of Pennsylvania counties in early spring snowmelt.
I hesitate to call it a reflex, but |
Posted by: ezwater on Jan-23-13 2:08 PM (EST)
I'm sure it exists and can be elicited in nearly everyone, including me.
Many of those who have experienced it|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Jan-23-13 3:06 PM (EST)
are not going to be around to report on it. As I recall it is the most common cause of drowning in cold water.
Whatever you want to call it............|
Posted by: thebob.com on Jan-23-13 4:05 PM (EST)
Man downed this weekend here in SC|
Posted by: castoff on Jan-23-13 4:51 PM (EST)
On the Saluda River a man fell out of his John boat without a PDF. People onshore saw him fall out and he didn't come back up. I have a friend from Maine who says every year on the first good warm days people will dive in to swim and not come back up. So I agree with you that those who experience this don't always live to discuss what happened.
Dr, Disco, you're the only one who |
Posted by: ezwater on Jan-24-13 6:36 PM (EST)
recalls. The others are dead.
I don't know for sure|
Posted by: Dr_Disco on Jan-24-13 9:11 PM (EST)
But obviously it would depend on data about the drowning incidents themselves. Was the water temp less then 20 degrees C.? Did the victim go under within a minute or two of going into the water? There may also be physiological indications as well but I have not read that literature. If you want to know way more than reasonable about the definitional problems have a look at this AHA article: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/108/20/2565.full
Considering the proportion of drownings|
Posted by: ezwater on Jan-24-13 10:05 PM (EST)
where alcohol is involved, one wonders whether a somewhat depressed nervous system was a factor in response to chilly water.
Yup, I have|
Posted by: leob1 on Jan-23-13 4:34 PM (EST)
But not paddling. It happened to me during my open water SCUBA certification. You have to remove your mask, put it back on, and clear it under water(duh).
none seen here|
Posted by: daggermat on Jan-23-13 4:45 PM (EST)
and I do much of my paddling in the winter. Perhaps the best chance I would've had was flipping my new to me Encore sans drysuit in 35 degree water, midriver. Pushed the boat to the bank which took maybe 2-3 minutes, and then actually stood in the water bailing the canoe out. Legs were prickly.
Posted by: Jackl on Jan-23-13 6:21 PM (EST)
In the Arctic circle in the Noatak river. I decided to test the waters. I knew if I walked in I would never do it, so I ran in and dove. I opened my eyes underwater, and ended up with an eyeball ache and a ice cream headache, but that was all.
Posted by: rjd9999 on Jan-26-13 3:37 PM (EST)
Did this also in Monterey Bay on certification dives. You think you've acclimated to the cold, but once that mask comes off, it is a rude awakening as to how cold the water actually is. Did this at about 35' the first time, so was above the first thermocline which seems to be between 40-50 feet down.
I've done polar plunges |
Posted by: CapeFear on Jan-23-13 4:42 PM (EST)
Posted by: Kudzu on Jan-23-13 4:55 PM (EST)
I once had a wave totally blindside me. Knocked me right over. The air was warm and the water was cool. I was so freaked that I swam. I hung on to my boat and panted like I'd been sprinting for twenty minutes. I did a re-enter and roll and paddled to the take out with no more problems. At the take out I bent over to pick something up and what seemed like a quart of seawater gushed out of my sinuses. I got a real education that day.
I have experienced it|
Posted by: paddlemore on Jan-23-13 6:55 PM (EST)
As you become acclimated to cold water the 'gasp reflex' lessens.
Posted by: pblanc on Jan-24-13 4:14 PM (EST)
I suspect the "gasp reflex" is more or less part of a generalized adult startle response. Many people will gasp when suddenly startled and nearly everyone would if someone threw a bucket of ice cold water on them while they were sleeping.
Well, I was with this assertive girl|
Posted by: spiritboat on Jan-24-13 12:59 PM (EST)
from Philadelphia once...And after jumping in the backseat of my car, we...That is, she...And then she...And then I...GASP!!! (At least I'm pretty sure she was a girl--I was pretty young back then, and had had quite a few.) Nobody's perfect;-
Posted by: kayamedic on Jan-24-13 4:57 PM (EST)
on the Snake River in the Yukon.. Bronchospasm. I was getting washingmachined in class 4 glacier meltwater. I could get air in but not out.. Thought I would explode.
Posted by: ppine on Jan-24-13 5:03 PM (EST)
All I know is when thing go wrong, I end up puking cold water. I don't even remember swallowing it.
Posted by: jerrysmith on Jan-24-13 9:55 PM (EST)
It doesn't happen all the time. In the process of shrink-wrapping boats that were in hoists and surronded by newly frozen ice, I have gone through the ice probably 6 times over a ten year period. Aside from the sudden icy wetness, the gasp was generally just a four letter spoken word and a sudden impulse to get out.
happened to me that way also|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-25-13 12:02 PM (EST)
Jumping into Lake Superior off a rock in midsummer. Just locked my lungs instantly.
Posted by: old_user on Jan-25-13 1:02 PM (EST)
to me while scuba diving.. We were in Florda and I put my 2 mill wet suit on early.. I thought we were just about to the dive site. I ended up over heating alittle.. When I jumped into the colder water, I thought I was going to have a proublem.. Took a few minutes to settle down. Good thing I had my reg in my mouth.
Posted by: PJC on Jan-25-13 4:40 PM (EST)
Jerrysmith's post reminds me of something I read long ago - don't recall where - and I wonder if any of you guys have heard of it.
Nerves and body|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jan-25-13 8:00 PM (EST)
Admit it, Pilgrims|
Posted by: FatElmo on Jan-26-13 5:18 PM (EST)
Foyst time some o' yer suddenly fell inta cold water beside havin' de "gaspin' reflex" yer may have also had a majoor reflex on de other end... sphincter pucker! Ah' know's ah' did.
Posted by: PJC on Jan-26-13 7:08 PM (EST)
Another evolutionary physiological response that keeps us from filling with water and sinking like a stone. But we digress...
It may depend on the individual|
Posted by: old_user on Jan-28-13 7:16 PM (EST)
To hear some tell it, jumping in very cold water is a virtual death sentence.