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TOPIC: scared woman? help!

scared woman? help! 10 years 3 months ago #15086

  • k.eks
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I have a bit of a kayaking problem with my wife as she's really scared of cold water - it even turned out to cause her a terrible headache after some swimming in a slalom course in spring.

What should I advise her? maybe some one had similar problem(s)? Is it better to paddle first without being able to roll or make her \"drill\" the roll-technique to the automatic level notwithstanding the hypothermia problem?

thanks for any suggestions!
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Re:scared woman? help! 10 years 3 months ago #15089

  • Batayak
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see about trying to get her to learn to roll in a pool or warm lake first, then once she is comfortable with that, getting her the proper cold water gear should work out all right so that she is able to do it in whitewater as well.
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Re:scared woman? help! 10 years 3 months ago #15119

  • taliesin38
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My wife is also quite timid. Really she is a very competent paddler but just is timid. I have found one of the best things to help here is to paddle with other women. She won't listen to me, it just ends up in a fight, but will listen to other girls that we paddle with. I work hard to make sure that we always have a female paddleing partner that we get out with at least once a week out of your 3+ days of paddling.
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Re:scared woman? help! 10 years 3 months ago #15135

  • robmeister
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well, a skull cap should solve the headache thing at least. I dont know much about married life but if it's not to much of a tension builder i would try and teach her to roll in a nice warm pool and then gradually work her into colder water, making sure she understands that hypothermias is a worry, but what you are doing should be perfetly safe. In terms of \" should she learn the roll first or get in the water first\" that really depends. if you live in an area where warm water is abundant, its probably not that big a deal, if you live somewhere that mostly has cold water, i would do what i said to do above.
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Re:scared woman? help! 10 years 3 months ago #15369

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taliesin38 wrote:
My wife is also quite timid. Really she is a very competent paddler but just is timid. I have found one of the best things to help here is to paddle with other women. She won't listen to me, it just ends up in a fight, but will listen to other girls that we paddle with. I work hard to make sure that we always have a female paddleing partner that we get out with at least once a week out of your 3+ days of paddling.

I agree with these comments. Ladies benefit from support from ladies. Men just seem to have a different way about them, especially when it comes to physical/sport stuff IMHO.

Also second the comments about skull cap, warm gear, etc. It's very important that she not actually be physically cold. Beyond that, it is a mental challenge for her to overcome.

I'd suggest gearing her up well (including nose plugs!), and 'throwing her in the river' (!) as it were - do some immersion, some swimming, maybe throw bag to swimmer (you better get in too or this will never work!) practice in an eddy, etc. for short periods, no more than an hour or so (wet). Allow her time to become 'calm' - if not comfortable in cold water. The stress that cold water causes, even when geared up - we get it in the face, etc - causes panic, errors, more trouble, headaches, etc. Make it fun, have a hottub/fireplace/rum bottle/ etc handy, and I'm sure her confidence will build with the 'comfort'.

Good luck:ask:
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Re:scared woman? help! 10 years 2 months ago #15655

  • river chique
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I had the same problem, it's taken me a while to get over it. Here's what I did, maybe it would help your wife. First I spent a lot of time in the pool (indoor heated pool during the winter) learning how to roll and drilling myself over and over. Also, I got outfitting for the coldest water and prepared myself for the worst case scenario-swim in the cold water. I got a dry top, good base layer, good gloves, dry pants, neoprene pants, etc.

Once I got really comfortable with my flat water roll, and got a few combat rolls in less-cold water, I went back to the cold river and rolled in the flat water. It was cold as heck, but wasn't too bad. So I was a lot less scared of the cold water. Just have her dress extremely warm--for the water rather than the air temp.

Good luck!
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Re:scared woman? help! 10 years 1 month ago #16314

  • Beaverman
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Staying comfortable is important to one's mental outlook as well as one's physical self, whether you are male or female. I get headaches as well from really cold water, and toughing through it isn't a valid solution for everyone. Do everything you can to make her comfortable and that will go a long ways. Even consider a dry suit if that is within the budget. One woman paddler I know jokes that she became fearless only after donning her suit of armor. My wife Susan used to tell other women that the wetsuit helped prevent bruising as well as keeping her warm and floating her higher.

A neoprene skull cap works well for the summer in most climates and locales, but come fall, consider having her fitted with a neoprene hood like scuba divers wear. One size DOES NOT fit all. She wants it just loose/snug enough that it does not choke her or cause tension headaches, but still restricts the flow of water in and out some. Fine line of what fits here and what doesn't. If she gets one too loose, she can wear a polypropylene balaclava underneath it. I do this in the winter sometimes, just like you can also add polypropylene underwear under a wetsuit or drysuit. Attached mantle or bib to the hood can also make her warmer and sometimes reduce neck, shoulder, and back aches. Sizing of hoods is unisex with no male or female separation that I have ever seen. Volume of hair going underneath the hood may bump her up a size or two from what a man would wear, per some women scuba divers I used to dive with. I even carry a spare hood as part of my winter survival and rescue gear now, after having had to give mine up to someone who was in worse condition. USCG PJ's in the sea survival and rescue course I took at Elizabeth City NC said if they could only wear one piece of neoprene while in a raft awaiting rescue, it would be a bibbed hood, rather than a shortie or gloves.

USAF, ARC, and ACA Hypothermia classes I took cited that you could lose 50% of your body heat through your head, so this is truely an important area to insulate. Other areas of significant heat loss to consider are wrists, armpits, and then groin. Final reminder is that too tight is worse than nothing at all with insulating areas.
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Re:scared woman? help! 9 years 5 months ago #20598

  • Chrissie
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I had the great joy of learning to roll in the sea off the coast of Scotland in January...even with a dry kag it sucked! If there's any chance of getting into a pool go for it! Pools are so much nicer and means there's no bulky kit to make things that bit more entertaining. The one issue with the cold water is that i started to dread going over so i couldn't realx and let the kayak settle...i just wanted out!
This might be a Scotland thing but a wee dram before contact with really cold water helps...relaxes the lungs to get a better breathe and you don't feel the cold as bad! Well, that's what the doc told me anyway!
Good luck! :grin:
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Re:scared woman? help! 8 years 10 months ago #23550

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I bought myself a drysuit and a pair of doc's proplugs (for the ears). Find out what it is that scares her...for me, I hate water in my ears. The eye thing is no prob, but, oh, the ears! I agree with the comment about paddling with other chicks, and have found some male paddlers are less competitive, so also good. Just take it slow.
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