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Thread: whitewater fail

  1. #1

    whitewater fail

    My most recent trip landed me in the ER. Whitewater rafting the Sevier River starting at my grandma's place near Hoover's cafe. First trip was great fun. So we decided to go again in the afternoon. after launch and hitting the beginner rapids, I realized I had overloaded the boat. I struggled to keep the raft pointing down stream and the newbs along for the ride were not much help either. The first few small rapids were swamping the boat, so we decided to cut the trip in half and get out a little earlier than planned. About 200 yards from landing the raft took a drastic left turn. I was unable to correct it and the other paddlers followed my orders too little too late. the back of the raft dipped into a rapid and was pushed under. This was were I was sitting as the guide. I was thrown backwards into the water with so much force that it pulled my toes of both feet out of my sandals. I then connected the back of my head to a nice soft rock. Many thoughts went through my mind the next few seconds and I'm not real sure what all happened exactly. But I was told that I rolled under the raft and came out the other side. The raft and it's clueless passengers went on to eventually get stuck on some boulders in the middle of the river just before the "Big Daddy" waterfall. I wasn't quite sure exactly what was wrong, but I was hurt bad and out of breath. My heart was pounding and my ears were ringing as I staggered to the bank using my paddle as a crutch. Not sure how I managed to keep a hold of it but I was glad I did. A few minutes later I emerged from the tall grass to find the raft and its hysterical occupants stuck in the middle without a clue. knowing that there were also kids on the boat, I had no choice but to help them. The adrenaline had already started to take over as I made my way through the water to the stranded raft. I managed to push the raft off the rocks and pull myself back into the boat. Still a little loopy we did our best to navigate the waterfall with no problems. at the takeout point, our pickup was not yet there, so i grabbed the rope and jumped ship and pulled the boat to the bank. This took the last of my strength as everyone else also abandoned ship the the safety of dry land. I nearly collapsed in pain and fatigue as the last person stepped to shore. I smiled for the camera as the truck arrived. It was then that I began to realize how bad I was hurt. I had no strength in my left leg and as time passed it got worse. Many scrapes were bleeding, and bruises were growing before my eyes. The bumps on my head were massive and every hair on my head gave me pain. We loaded up and within an hour I was sitting on an xray table. No broken bones but a few torn muscles and a hematoma in my thigh. I was then informed that I had a concussion, therefore the doc suggested no pain meds or muscle relaxers for the constant spasms. After three days of rest and crutches, I can now stand and put some weight on the leg without too much pain. Still have the headache and many bruises to show for it. oh ya, and the ER doc wants to go along with us on the next trip. Sure will be nice to be able to get treatment on site for the next round.

    There are two videos that I made of this trip. one is short and shows me falling out of the boat in slow-mo. The other is longer and shows the fun parts of the trip. (this one is still uploading. I will give the link when it finishes.

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  3. #2
    Moderator jman's Avatar
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    Dude that sucks.

    You are right though, from your vid and your description no one was paddling or doing anything.

    Looks like a fun stretch though.
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  4. #3
    Glad you're ok. I guess a helmet would have been a good idea, kayakers are adamant about head gear but you never see them on rafters? I would love to hook up with you when you go up and paddle along in my packraft or hardshell. I want to paddle the river but would feel better getting some input from someone with knowledge of the layout first.

  5. #4
    I'll usually wear a helmet, it used to be only to mount the camera to, but once i moved on to other camera mounts, I've kept wearing the helmet if it's not flat water.

    Glad to hear you're ok.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  6. #5
    Glad you are ok man!

    From the video I saw little kids and clueless women in walmart special life jackets......a novice mistake?

    A spring time Utah rivers shouldn't be taken lightly and know what you are getting into and know who you have as a crew. The boat went into the hole completely sideways, I am surprised you guys didn't go over. I assume the river is about class 2?

  7. #6
    Never fun when you are swimming. Glad you are ok. It sound like there would have a good chance for more serious problems if the boat had not hung up.

    I've driven by that section a few times and it always looked like it could be a fun strech depending on the water level. Might be a couple of class3's at the right water level.

    +1 to what Alex says.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
    Glad you're ok. I guess a helmet would have been a good idea, kayakers are adamant about head gear but you never see them on rafters? I would love to hook up with you when you go up and paddle along in my packraft or hardshell. I want to paddle the river but would feel better getting some input from someone with knowledge of the layout first.
    We have another trip planned for the week of the 24th of July if the water is good.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

  9. #8
    This trip had many signs of bad luck and we went ahead anyway. We did have 3 kids, a large man with special needs (who has done this river many times), 2 teenagers (newbs), and my wife and myself. Total of 8 bodies in a raft that should have 5 max. One of the kids was very obnoxious the entire trip, her yelling and screaming made it hard for anyone to hear commands. Because of the extra bodies and odd sizes, we had to trade and steal jackets. We were overweight and the water was coming over the sides on the smallest rapids. The one big guy in front (opposite of me) was causing his side to hang up on rocks and spin us around. That's how we got sideways. No one could hear me yell commands over the girl and the water. And they were all so new that they didn't even know we were in trouble. Not even sure they knew I was gone until they were stuck on the rocks. On the way to the hospital we found a helmet on the road. Figured it was a sign that it is time to buy one for myself. No more extra passengers on the whitewater, and absolutely no kids. Done this river hundreds of times and thought I was up for the challenge, that was my first and biggest mistake. From what I've read, most guides get in big trouble when they think they can handle the challenge when the odds are against them from the start.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

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