Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cold? 1 - NKB Koudwatertraining

Both pictures of floating kayakers in and on the water are taken during the Coldwatertraining organised by Pieter de Haas last week for the NKB Seakayak-program. Despite the sunny images, it was a cold day (Water temp 5 degrees Celsius, Air temp 10 degrees Celsius) with a chilling wind (6 Bft). Perfect conditions to experience the effects of hypothermia. Pieter, Arie and Sien reported me about this event. I couldn't attent myself -> you can't have it all!

The Coldwatertraining began with an extensive lecture of Watze de Vries on "everything you should know about Hypothermia". Afterwards the participants were encouraged to experience the impact of cold water themselves under save and intensively monitored conditions.
For most participants it was an absolute eye-opener how fast hypothermia develops. Some guys thought they were well dressed up! The participants used a wide range of different kayak-outfits: only technical underwear under an anorak, fleece gear, aquashell, chilcheeter, neoprene long johns with anoraks or drytops, drysuits etcetera. After 5 minutes some kayakers couldn't grip anything anymore with their hands, after 12 minutes - just before real hypothermia occurred - the test was stopped. Some swimmers needed more than an hour to warm up... The superior outfits proved to be drysuits (with a warm fleece underlayer) and the extra thick neoprene longjohns in combination with fleece and a drytop. A warm covered head als o made the difference. For many neoprene long-john users (the most common outfit under Dutch seakayakers) cold arms were the weak spot.
Everybody was enthusiast about this initiative of Pieter. It was found highly instructive. As a result we have got lots of requests to do this every year. Some even said an event like this it should be a standard part of the NKB-schooling-program. Thanks to Pieter and Watze for organising this perfect day! It was great to be able to use the facilities of Zeil en Surfcentrum Brouwersdam Let's give it a follow up!

Going to extremes: in the papers this week was an advertisement showing "the Ice Man", Wim Hof preparing for a new expedition to Mount Everest - he intends to climb the mountain in his underwear. Wim Hof is sponsored by a producer of refrigerators... Wim has been swimming naked under pole ice, ran a marathon in Finland without shoes and climbed snowy mountains in his shorts. All activities in the category "don't do this at home". It's not a trick, it's a kind of dealing with cold and hypothermia that's given few of us. You can argue how wise an approach like this is, better prepare and prevent! But Wim shows us that dealing with cold has also a mental aspect....

A more sensible article on hypothermia, with special attention for open water sports is on the site of the American Canoe Association (thanks to Bonnie for this link!)

1 comment:

PaddleDad said...

If you like to read a somewhat shorter account of this shaking event in dutch, see the Nieuws page of the section Zeekajakvaren on the NKB website.