The unfortunate reality of river kayaking is that there are often deadly hazards. Getting pinned is one of the worst of them.
Things can take a turn in an instant when a member of your group finds themself pinned—especially if the pin is holding the boat or the paddler in a position where breathing is impaired. Having a knowledgeable, fast-acting safety team can mean the difference between life and death in these scenarios.
A group of experienced kayakers ran into trouble on Richland Creek, Arizona when one member of the group got stuck in a vertical pin. Watch the video and read the first-hand account below to discover what happened next.
Words By Derek Hankins:
“’Apple Pie Rapid’ has a notorious sieve on the left side, only in play at high water. A member of our crew was pushed off line and happened to find the sieve, and pinned bow first, upside down. Fortunately, he was able to hold himself up on a log that was stuffed under the rock already. The log was also preventing him from being able to pull his sprayskirt, so he was essentially stuck.
I realized he was in a bad situation and tried to get to him as quickly as possible, leaving behind my throw rope in my boat as I was focused on getting to him and stabilizing him. When I got to him I tried to grab him but the water was too deep and turbulent to safely reach him in the sieve.
Thankfully, another member of our crew was right behind me with a rope that we were able to get to him and pull him out of his shoes and through his sprayskirt.
In hindsight, I should have taken the extra couple of seconds and grabbed my rope, something I will make sure I do from now on. We were able to extract the kayak with a z-drag. Swift Water Rescue is an integral part of running whitewater, you never know when you will find yourself in a life or death situation. It is always good to be prepared for whatever may happen, and just hope you don’t need it. Stay safe out there folks.”
Video and words courtesy of Derek Hankins.