Reflections from the Cockpit

Sin menospreciar el indudable atractivo que tiene el tema de los ataques de tiburones (sobre si son blancos, Carcharodon Carcharias ) a kayaks, - canoas, surfistas, buceadores, pescadores de abalones, windsurfistas….- (por cierto buceando/surfeando/navegando en Google estoy encontrando MUCHAS más referencias de las que esperaba desde Sudáfrica, Australia y nueva Zelanda, a hawai y California... asi que le daremos algo más de atención al tema...), Hay riesgos muchos más reales, más próximos, más inmediatos de los que preocuparse cuando vamos remando –paleando en nuestro kayak… incluso en aguas infestadas de Tiburones.
En posts anteriores ya hemos abordado las variables que definen la gravedad de un riesgo, su impacto potencial, y su probabilidad / frecuencia de que ocurra; El texto a continuación “Reflexiones desde la bañera: las verdaderas criaturas de las profundidades que debemos temer” aborda precisamente este punto.
Está en Inglés, pero es facil de entender, y 100% coincidente con la filosofia de Riesgo bajo Control.

Esta foto, aunque es un montaje.... resulta ilustrativa sobre la comparación de tamaños entre un kayak y un Carcharodon carcharias.

Reflections from the Cockpit

"Real creatures from the deep."

Recently a surfer was attacked off of the California coast and as expected there was a flurry of e-mail postings by the paddling club. In this case the number of postings was much more than usual. I was reminded of how much concern there seems to be toward the threat of shark attack on kayakers.
When I taught classes in Santa Barbara there always seemed to be one or two in the class who were terrified by the thought of a shark attack when we were out in the channel. I vividly remember the look on the faces of the students when a jet skier came over to our class to report a shark sighting off of the pier which was a half mile away and we were just about to do our capsize recovery drills. Even though I loved the movie I have to admit that Jaws did not help the kayak industry or the Scuba industry (I was teaching Scuba diving when the movie was released).
I am not going to go into the statistics of shark attacks vs. getting hit by lightening. The truth of the matter is, if you are afraid of something discussion and statistics seem to do very little to help get rid of the fear. In most cases those that have the fear and go on the water just live with the fear.
What I do find interesting is the focus there is toward the creatures from the deep versus the real dangers that face paddlers on a regular basis. I decided to list the concerns that should be of more importance to paddlers than Mr. & Mrs. Jaws.

* Hypothermia
* Overuse injuries
* Motion sickness
* Blisters
* Shoulder dislocations
* Polluted water
* Submerged objects in surf zones
* Beach debris
* Barnacles
* Boat traffic
* Jellyfish
* Biting insects
* Severe sunburn
* Dehydration
* Kayak in a surf zone
* Big waves
* Drowning
* Driving to and from the launch site
* Back injuries from lifting
* Falling on seaweed covered rocks
* Unprepared paddler as a partner

The list goes on and on.
When I look at the list I can say I have personally witnessed at least one paddler (sometimes more) suffering from each concern on this list save two. I did not witness it but I have a friend who drowned and then was successfully revived after the rescue. During this past summer a jet skier in Mission Bay, San Diego, hit a kayaker. I saw the results of a motor boat cutting through the bottom of a canoe where one occupant was fatally wounded. Yet with all of my years on and under the water I have not known anyone who has been attacked by a shark when paddling.
I have read two stories of close calls in the northern California area but they did not get bitten.
I wish there were a greater awareness on the part of paddlers to the real dangers of paddling rather than the hype created by a Steven Spielberg movie. I am happy to say that dressing for immersion has been taken seriously by the informed public but hypothermia is still the number one cause of fatalities in sea kayaking with the victims usually being the uninformed. When filming the ABC’S of the Surf Zone I actually found an exposed hypodermic needle sticking up through the sand on the beach. If stepped on the potential for disease was real.
There are risks everywhere. We take chances every day whether we are conscious of the risks or not. I wish there were more energy spent on trying to reduce the real injuries experienced by paddlers than the exotic ones that rarely happen. So the next time you encounter one of the common risks paddlers face take the time to post it up on the club e-mail so others can be made aware of the real creatures of the deep. Thank goodness my paddle tomorrow is on a lake because if it were on the ocean a great white shark would probably swallow me.

Wayne Horodowich


....O sea que no hay que estar tan pendiente de las criaturas de las profundidades que acechan más allá del campo de visión......

¿o si?

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