From Darren McQuoid's Blog:
At Outdoor Retailer I had the pleasure of meeting Dagger's designer, Mark "Snowy" Robertson. Why is the Nomad is so heavy? I had to ask. While (for me) the Nomad lifespan averages four times the length of some other kayaks, it's also apparent that a lot of the weight is in the outfitting. This is a big deal for hiking out here in California, where an empty Nomad 8.5 may weigh as much as other boats while loaded for a summer overnight. The rotomolded seat and front pillar are a big part of the weight. Rotomolding makes them heavy. Are they really necessary? Several manufacturers save weight by using thermoformed seats and pillars (lighter but not as strong). Snowy explained to me that they have chosen to stick with rotomolded outfitting because the interaction of the seat and pillar are key to maintaining not only longitudinal integrity but torsional integrity. In real world use I've seen several brands of kayak fold just behind the seat; just from running waterfalls. Never enough to hurt anyone, but a visible marks have been present.
Then I thought back to the end of the California season. The Devil's Postpile section of the Middle Fork San Joaquin is an incredible wilderness run with challenging whitewater. The rapids are not nice, friendly or forgiving. Two of us were lucky enough to be here for our fifth time. Our group was five and the two of us had been tag-team leading the whole way down, enjoying what had so far been our first problem free trip. Past the infamous Crucible my friend hopped out to scout a rapid that was not so nice at low water. We had plenty of water (at least 1,500cfs) and decided to run it on verbal from his scout. I followed him into the drop, where he got slowed by a small hole that put us side by side. We bumped kayaks and laughed. Then he was gone. A complete underwater pin. The three other team members came though, one thought he saw the stern of his kayak. Too much time passed before he came out swimming. It was a terrible scenario pin, the force of water pushed him forward as he tried to escape. It took dislocating both knees and breaking a leg to escape. As close a call as they come.
At minimum flow I backpacked in to see what happened and hopefully find his kayak. Six months later and the kayak was in the same spot. He pinned bow down where the arrow is pointing. The kayak remained stable for 15-30 seconds while his skirt was pulled but he was unable to exit the boat. Eventually he escaped while the kayak's integrity prevented it from folding/twisting and going into the siphon. Looking back at this I won't be complaining about the extra weight of the rotomolded outfitting. The structural integrity is worth it, as one can imagine what would happen if the boat had folded quickly and slid in.
Hurt Sacramento kayaker rescued from remote Sierra river
Officials say they airlifted a kayaker injured on a remote stretch of river in Central California's rugged High Sierra. Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said Friday that a five-member team sent out a distress signal around noon after a 34-year-old Sacramento man injured both legs escaping from his kayak, which had been sucked under.
The incident took place at the base of Balloon Dome, authorities said. Authorities said the kayaker reached a lower pool below the dome and was sucked under vertically. He tried to ditch the kayak, officials said, and made it most of the way out with his feet still inside.The kayaker was pulled underwater a second time, officials said, but he was able to break free. Authorities have not released the kayaker's name.
The California Highway Patrol sent a helicopter, which Anderson said found the kayakers on the San Joaquin River at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet and miles from the nearest road.
The helicopter lifted the injured man to safety within 90 minutes. He was taken to Community Regional Medical Center. Anderson said the kayakers planned ahead by bringing the emergency device capable of sending a signaling even from remote places.
Search and Rescue distress call update June 6, 2014 Sheriff John Anderson announced the successful rescue of an injured kayaker – hoisted out of the high country this afternoon. The victim, whose identity is not releasable at this time, was part of a 5-man Kayaking Team that started a river journey down the San Joaquin River-Middle Fork near Devils Postpile earlier today. The group made it as far as Balloon Dome when a distress signal through a registered messaging device was sent out by the party. The Madera County’s Office of Emergency Services was alerted at 11:58 a.m.
Knowing how rugged and dangerous the terrain in this area can be, the Sheriff’s Office requested aerial support from the California Highway Patrol. By 1:08 p.m., H-40 located the group and, with the help of a medic on board, was able to hoist the injured kayaker out. H-40 landed at Batterson Station near Highway 41 (just north of Oakhurst) to place the injured man on board, and then transported him to California Regional Medical Center. His injury and condition are not known at this time. Sheriff Anderson says from the moment our office was contacted to the time the kayaker was located and hoisted to safety took roughly 90 minutes. Sheriff Anderson credits the emergency messaging device for the swift completion of today’s Search & Rescue operation. More information about today’s mission will be released as it becomes available. They flew him out via helicopter.
Basically, the Spot beacon worked extremely well and made for an efficient rescue. Subject: Re: Thomas Moore on Devils Postpile hurt but ok. 90 minutes wow. Good things those SPOTs! Glad his team was carrying one. Both legs broken, more after Stacy report back from Fresno hospital.
From: Norwood Scott To: Charlie Walbridge Sent: Sat, Jun 7, 2014 12:26 pm Subject: Fwd: Thomas Moore on Devils Postpile hurt but ok. They flew him out via helicopter. Click the link below to read the story. I'll keep you posted as I learn more. Basically, the Spot beacon worked extremely well and made for an efficient rescue. @cs.com>@sbcglobal.net>
Functional Fitness… It’s a Life and Death Kind of Thing
Many of our afternoon members know Thomas and Stacey Moore. Travis and I got an email from Stacey a week and a half back letting us know that Thomas had broke both legs kayaking, would require multiple surgeries, and that they were moving away to be with family where a wheel chair would be accommodated better. I let Stacey know we’d take care of their membership cancellation and if there was anything we could help with to let us know. I was wondering how you break your legs in a kayak???
Before I give you the rest of the story, you guys should know that Thomas isn’t your average paddle around the river kind of kayaker most of us think of. He’s into the gnarly hardcore kind of kayaking where you go places that really weren’t meant for humans to be navigating.
Photo by Tom Janney
Here is a video I found of him and his buddies from a couple years ago in the same area where this incident happened.
About a week later, we heard from Thomas via email and got the story. Here it is:
Hey guys, I wanted to take some time to tell you a little bit more about what happened and what’s going on now. I have nothing but time on my hands now so I thought I would share. Last Friday I was kayaking the middle fork of the San Joaquin river below Devils Postpile National Park. This section of river is a multi-day trip that takes about 4 days to complete and this was my fifth year in a row to do this river and is one of my favorite. This stretch of river is rated class V+ and is considered one of the hardest most committing canyons in North America. This river has it all in terms of what I look for in whitewater. Though there is great risk, the reward cannot be described in words. I was with four friends and we put on the river last Wednesday and planned on taking off on Friday. Friday morning we started kayaking around 9 am and shortly after we started things went incredibly bad.
Photo by Darrin McQuoid
While running a rapid I got offline and got pushed in a place I did not want to be. This resulted in getting pinned underwater with the front of my boat pinned in some rocks at about a 45 degree angle. I immediately knew and could feel that my boat would not come free and that I must exit the kayak in order to survive. I pulled my spray deck which is something I wear to keep the water out of the boat. Once I did this I tried to climb out of the boat. This proved to be very difficult with all of the water hitting me from behind and filling the boat. I finally managed to get my legs barely out just past my knee and that is when the most excruciating pain of my life began. I was now trapped just past the knee being violently torn down stream meanwhile still under water. I tried like hell to get free but it felt hopeless. I was in so much pain and I was losing oxygen. It was at this moment that I thought that it was over. I thought of my wife and realized that I would not only drown to death but it would be a violent torturous death. I thought I just can’t go out like this! It took every ounce of strength I had to push, wiggle and tear my legs free. It wasn’t until each one of them fully dislocated sideways that it gave me a better angle to finally get free.
I then floated down stream and was rescued by my friends who gave me a number of pain pills and splinted both of my legs. We hit an emergency beacon and four hours later a
CHP helicopter hoisted me out of the river and took me to Fresno.
As I look back on it now I truly believe the training I have had with you guys helped me prepare to push myself further than I ever imagined possible. Almost every time I come to CF East Sac, I do my best to give it my all. I did join to be fit but what I get the most out of the workouts is finding out just what I am capable of. I enjoy pushing myself to a place physically and most of all mentally that tests something I did not know I had in me. While I am not sure when I can come back I really do want to and am bummed I wont be there for sometime. Quite often I read the hate articles on why people shouldn’t do CrossFit. All I know is that training with you guys has allowed me to get to a place both physically and mentally that I think helped save my life. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart.
So I dislocated both knees, tore three out of four ligaments in both knees, and ripped off the right patellar tendon which resulted in a tibia fracture. I had surgery on both legs last Saturday with plans for future surgery. Currently I have four external metal pins in each leg connected by metal rods that keep my legs straight. Either today or tomorrow I will be transferring from a hospital here in Fresno to UC Davis where I will begin some rehab. Once again, Thank you.
Thomas will be at UCD for another day or two doing some rehab. He informed me yesterday that he has learned to get in and out of his wheel chair and put a pair of shorts on by himself.
We are so glad Thomas had the strength to support his will to survive. We will all be thinking of you and Stacey and wishing you the best recovery. Hopefully we will see you come walking through our doors again ready to start over on rebuilding your invincibility. He’s already doing pull ups again even with his legs literally bolted together with an erector set.
You can find the KCRA news story on Thomas’ incident here with a could photos of the rescue.
Posted by Justin Riley on 6/18/14