I broke the tip of my middle finger (smushed in garage door) 5 weeks ago. It’s getting “better” but still not good. I’ve done a couple of easy paddles with the splinted finger sticking out (hopefully, no one has taken offense). But in less than two weeks I’ll be going to a sea kayaking symposium. For you experienced folks out there, how might this interfere with my ability to learn to roll? I’m also concerned about grabbing the loop of my skirt for a wet exit. I have seen some people with a “wiffle” golf ball or something attached to the loop for something easier to find/grab. Has anyone out there used this modification? How do you attach the golf ball (or whatever)?
I have a whiffle ball attached to mine
with tie wraps. Make sure you get the ones with the plastic locking tab and not metal. It does make it easier to find.
I had a friend put a honking big carabiner on his grab loop. The theory was that the 'biner would hang down while the boat was inverted and be even easier to grab, as well as being something big enough to get a grip on.
I don’t know whether the theory worked out in practice, but I can’t see that it wouldn’t.
I tried a wiffle ball on my grab loop, and it got in the way during self-rescues, especially cowboy reentries (it made moving over the deck very hard, since the stupid ball wanted to catch on everything). So try a self-rescue before you decide. Some people just wrap bright electric or vapor barrier tape over the loop so it’s stiffer and easier to grab.
And a side benefit is the tape can make the loop stick up a bit better, making it easier to grab.
Learning to roll
The wiffle ball will let you slide your hand and and move the grab loop forward between any two finger joints, so as long as it isn't too far away that'll solve the release issue. Or, if the right size wiffle ball is hard to find (the smaller ones) - you can get thick plastic tubing at most full service hardware stores, slice it open lengthwise then wrap it fully around with good duct tape. You get the same effect as the wiffle ball, and I find it actually a bit easier because it creates a clearly open part of the grab loop. (and the opportunity for color coordination.)
As to rolling, if it is on the side that you are most likely to start on, your dominant side, it may actually result in your learning better. One of the usual mistakes people make when learning is to grip the paddle too tightly, thus causing it to dive so they don't make the roll or (for guys) muscle up to a roll that you don't want to make a habit. A little bit of pain could force you to focus better on your lower body and rotation, in sum do it better. It's a little Pavlovian is all - most people are trying to learn the right habits without a huge ouch every time they do it wrong.
Fractured my pinky 3 wks. before paddlin
from Albany , NY to NYC ( about 150 miles ) . The doc had already told me to listen to the messages I was gettin from my body . Which was to loose the splint . I was getting finger cramps in the other digits an tightening wrist . Was hard to hold a knife and fine dice mire piox , as well as a host of other kitchen duties . Became much better after I took the split off . Paddled fine ! BUT that was ME , and my PINKY . There is still tightness in it , an the Doc says it may or may not go away .
Bottom line , your gonna have to play with it to see what you can do with it . Has a doc told ya it may be harder to get it to bend after being straight for so long ?
I hope it gets better , this is intended to be encouragement .
Only partial splint
My “splint” is a little plastic cap that only impedes the top knuckle from bending. I’ve been experimenting with doing more and more without splint and mobility is coming back. Still can’t quite fully grip paddle. I’m hoping Teimac is right about it actually “helping” me learn proper technique for the roll. Thanks to all for advice.
I don’t think on that side of rolling yet…
That’s what I get for posting late at night and trying to keep names straight.
These days I worry if I missed something.