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  1. #1
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Earth, USA, California

    Near Drowning Experience PLEASE READ (reprinted under permission)

    Near drowning experience, PLEASE READ
    I want to share my story with people in this forum to remind them of one thing, ski safety. This past weekend I had an eye opener experience with my ski. Please read on...

    Getting near sunset, I decided to take one last ride before meeting my friends at the launch to load my ski. They broke down the picnic site while I rode off. Only about 3 other people on the lake at this time and the wind started blowing a bit.

    About 300 yards off shore I was riding some serious chop from the wind when I got tossed off my ski. I must have flown at least 10 feet in one direction while my ski went in the opposite direction. I have fallen off my ski before, so this was not a concern when it happened again.

    As I popped up and located the ski about 20 feet away, I begin to swim towards it. The more I swam to the ski, the farther it seemed to go. The wind was blowing my ski away from me! I swam towards it again but my life jacket seemed to be coming loose. My life jacket is about 3 years old and in somewhat poor condition. I never though much of it since it never seemed to obstruct me until this moment.

    The more I swam, the harder it became with the life jacket. The ski still blowing away from me was starting to get out of reach. I looked around and no one near ear shot in the water. My party had left the site and not sure if anyone on shore was watching me. I made a bad decision and took the jacket off since I figured it was only keeping me from reaching my ski.

    By this time my ski was about 20 yards away and drifting. Out of breath, swallowing water, I began a frantic swim to my ski. The panic began to set in and this is when things got scary. After swimming those 20 yards, I was bushed! Barely able to hlod onto the ski I tried to pull myself up but could not. I looked around shore and still no sign of anyone watching me.

    Thank the lucky stars, a boater about 50 yards out noticed me and I began waiving. He pulled up next to me and pulled me onto his boat. He jumped in the water and grabbed my jacket and then tied my ski to his boat. Exhausted and disorientated, he got me to the launch where my friends took over and helped me out.

    In my 3 years of skiing, never before had I ever felt the panic that set it on me. Had that boater not noticed me, Im not sure I could have kept swiiming and stayed afloat. Here is what I have now learned...
    1. SAFETY first!
    2. Be in some type of physical shape. If you cant pull yourself up onto a ski you shouldnt be riding one.
    3. Try and ski with a partner.
    4. Always let someone know where you will be riding.
    5. Try to stay within visual of shore if you are at a lake.
    6. Make sure life jacket is in good condition. If not, replace it immediately!
    7. Swimming long distances is extremely tiring. You must be in decent shape if you need to get back to your ski.
    I hope riders (especially novice riders) read this and take it seriously! I used to be of the "it wont happen to me" crowd. Never again will I make that mistake.

    Be safe out there!

    2003 Yamaha FX140

    NorCal JetSki Crew
    "You think you know, but you have know idea..."

  2. #2
    Wow, sad to hear, but good eye opening story!...

  3. #3
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Earth, USA, California
    If you fall and have an injury upon impact with the water, its near impossible to swim back to your PWC. Not everybody has the luxury of being on the water with a buddy, although it is wise. I had a situation once where I was in Mexico at a big wave event, lost my ski, the wind was howling and I couldn't catch the boat, and I'm a strong swimmer, once reason I use my swim fin belt w/fins I can fin it...if need be...I even wore my fins on the LB2CAT out of habit, feel more comfortable now as part of my 'kit'. If I got off track and fell, I'd kick on one fin and fin it back, makes it a bit easier, but its what I am used to..

    Also most people are not comfortable swimming in a lifejacket, I am, because I have a different mindset about it than most. If you think of your lifejacket as a small 'body board' placed on your chest, swim with a dip and kick, a nice leisurely pace, it actually planes nicely and its not so bad, its in the mindset and comfort....and lifejackets save lives, but only properly fitted.

    I use a type 5 a swiftwater type that has extra buoyancy. The neoprene ones are comfortable but in the water get a bit heavier, so I dig the extra flotation, makes it alot easier...

  4. #4
    mitch ochoa's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    philippine islands, southeast asia
    Hi Shawn. What type of fins would you recommend? Split fin? single-blade fin? Brand?

  5. #5
    Moderator shawn alladio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Earth, USA, California
    Heya Mitch,

    I have 4 differnet pairs....Vipers, Churchills, Duckfeet and one I can't remember the brand a soft neoprene foot deck...I get to see the different types students are using nowadays in the classes to what's hot...a few are using USDivers splits..
    Just make sure you fit them to size over your booties, so the strap is really important, otherwise you'll cramp or never get them on...

    I'm so used to them I don't mind them at all, and I've seen every kind of fin made, but make sure you have a good fin belt to work with and the fit is right. I like a stiff fin for aerated water..such as the viper...

    If you scan through my accounts K38Shawn I think you will see just about all the fins made!

    Fins are not for everyone, some people will not be accustomed to the movement, and they can if not secured properly on a belt move forward and hit your lanyard, causing it to fall out....

    PS the race pics are from Dave Santos...big thank you.
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