Paddling w/ a Prosthesis

Bob, an oncology nurse, has contacted me here at NRS. He has a 15-year old male patient who has been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer in his right arm. Recently Bob has gotten him in a kayak for some flatwater paddling. The young man really liked it. Now it looks like the chemo has not been successful and he will loose most, if no all, of his arm.

Bob is wanting to be able to offer his patient encouragement about what he may be able to do in the future. Can any of you give me info I can pass on about paddling w/ a prosthesis, anyone out there who’s making such gear, etc? Thanks for your help.

Some Leads
Go to there is a forum there for disabled paddlers. Another idea is to contact Steve Boehne at Infinity Surfboards (just google for the name and you will find his great webpage. Steve and others have helped lots of folks get out on the water on waveskis who don’t have the use of their legs. I heard there was also a guy with prosthesis on his arm doing it once but I do not know. At anyrate he could put you in contact with paddlers who may know how to help.

Look for "adaptive paddling"
The ACA does adaptive paddling work:

You’ve just got to dive in and try stuff. I went through an adaptive paddling workshop this summer, and we managed to come up with an adaption that let someone paddle(slowly) with one working arm. We made an armrest and grip adaptor that let the “bad” arm act as a fixed pivot, and by using a down-pull-lift-push stroke with the good arm he was able to paddle both sides. Not ideal, but it was the best we could do – we had one morning to design and build it, and only foam and duct tape to build it with.

I’ve also seen devices that support the paddle at a center pivot point.

The Hobie Mirage is a foot-powered kayak that actually works well – it’s light-years ahead of the usual rental paddleboats.

Adaptive rowing is possible too.
You might check out this link to the forward rowing system site. It will bring up a page about how it facilitates outings on the water for many kinds of people who don’t have full strength or motor control over all their limbs. Although I’ve never rowed with this system personally, I think it’s very well-regarded by those who have. Worth a look !!!

PS: You can install it in a variety of commonly available canoes … and it’s reported to be fast and efficient in operation. Good luck … Shawn

I am REALLY proud…
…of the responses to this post…

I joined the paddle club I’m in because of the excellent public service record it has, and the posts here on this thread reinforce the feeling that hanging out here on pnet is another wise decision…

For all the Bicker and Banter type posting, when it really counts, this board comes through and presents responses truely representitive of paddling at it’s best.

Adaptive paddling.
United States Adaptive Recreation Center has a great program for getting people back into what they love after a tragic event. I used to volunteer during the winter teaching the Monoski.

The Monoski enables those with leg amputations, spinal cord injuries etc. to get back on the slopes. They have winter and summer programs. Some of the adative equipment incudes but is not limited to snow skiing, mountain biking, sailing, water skiing, canoeing, and kayaking. The possibilities are limited only to the skills and desires of the individual and the ingenuity of the person designing or adapting the gear. Here is a good link that may give you and your friend an idea of the possibilities. If you contact them they may know of other centers in your area. Best wishes, have fun and be safe.