Handle guard / Arm Guard

McGruderMcGruder Posts: 22 Baller
edited June 2012 in Skis Fins Bindings
I've heard/read a number of comments concerning the potential of a handle guard or Arm Guard creating a worse situation in the event of poking your arm between the handle and the guard and it not coming out very easily because of the restricted opening. I have an Arm Guard and it seems that such a scenario would be tough since getting the fingers through the guard is easy, but getting a hand through it would be tough - not impossible, but much more difficult than a head or arm through a yolk without a guard in place. Is there anyone out there that has caught their hand or arm through a guard and ended up with any kind of injury because you could not get the hand/arm out because of the guard being in place? If so, what kind or guard were you using?

I do feel the zip ties might be better replaced using a bungee type alternative, but I have not done that and don't know how well it would work. Comments on that are welcome as well.
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Comments

  • jedgelljedgell Posts: 301 Baller
    Even if your hand gets in between the handle and guard it won't go past your forearm. At least not on mine. The zip ties are good because that opening can't expand, like it could with bungees. The zip ties break off occasionally, but they're easy to replace.
    Justin Edgell - Bozeman, MT
  • McGruderMcGruder Posts: 22 Baller
    Good point on the zip ties vs the bungee.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,147 Crazy Baller
    @McGruder - whoever is saying that is spouting completely unfounded bullshit. If you've ever put your arm through a handle and had it ripped back out (I have), you (meaning anyone, not pointing a finger at you specifically) would understand the power involved and know that if you had an Arm Guard on our handle, it is going to have basically zero effect on your arm coming back out. That's just some naysayer that doesn't want to put a guard on their handle for whatever lame reason. Yes, it's not 100% certain that you won't put your arm though with a guard in place, but it's a lot less likely than with no guard at all. Getting stuck in the handle because of an Arm Guard is just wrong thinking.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    Action/Reaction.

    If you make the panel more flexible, to make it a little bit easier for your hand to get out, you also make it easier for your hand to get past the panel. Taken to an extreme, a panel that should be deflecting your punching fist could guide your hand through.

    Obviosly, everyone can and should make his or her own decision. I think the possible pitfalls of an Arm Guard are fairly minimal compared to what I am confident it can protect from.
    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,158 Mega Baller
    Second season on a Handle guard. (I don't use the word Arm Guard because that is a patented product, handle guard is a generalization!) I can say that the device I utilize (FM) has saved my ass or extremities a number of times over the last two seasons. I have felt my hand hit the mesh in a tail blow out or have hit the mesh missing the handle and even on my yearly OTF I could tell my head was near the handle maybe even hitting it as I did see stars after that one. The FM product is a softer plastic material that attaches via zip ties. I cut the zip ends close with a pair of nail cutters. I have to install a few new zip's about once a month.
    For me I wont ski with out a handle guard and I also believe for me the pitfalls of going without is far greater then utilizing one. Again my decision!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


  • footloose42footloose42 Posts: 84 Baller
    What I seem to be hearing is:

    "Without a handle guard, injury is unlikely, and if it happens, will result in intense damage to the entire arm; a worth-while risk. With a handle guard, injury is extremely unlikely, and if it happens, will result in intense damage to the elbow and below. So we should stay away from them."

    I'm failing to see the logic here.
    kpickett
  • Brian_MBrian_M Posts: 54 Baller
    To add to what HO 410 said, I see a lot of guys making an econo version with just duct tape. In speaking with TW a long time ago, he made a good point that a flexible handle guard such a one made from duct tape or a material mesh or neoprene, could actually "funnel" your arm right into the handle opening rather than the handle guard bouncing off of you.

    I think a handle guard is like seat belts and airbags. If I'm going to be in a head on collision, I'd rather risk the slight chance of injury from the seat belt and the air bag rather than being thrown threw the front window and all that can result from it.
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    Footloose42,
    We're dealing with cans and mights is both situations. There are skiers that punch though the hande and just get a hefty bruise. Not every skiers breaks an ankle when their bindings should have release but didn't. Not every skier that crashes into the wakes breaks a rib.

    The plastic these guards are made of is more flexible than I would expect in high energy situations. I have tried to punch through and rip out on the dock. Counldn't do it with 41 Tails on, could with a barehand and fingers straight. It doesn't feel great but neither does crahing OTF. I thought the EVA rubber in the Animals was pretty inflexible until I crashed and ejected from the boots. Again, it doesn't feel great but I've never describe crashing as a pleasent experience.
    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • thagerthager Posts: 3,815 Mega Baller
    Maybe a more appropriate name would be "Headguard" since a few people have died over the past few years by getting their head in the handle on a fall. I knew one of these people. I'll take my chances with my hand or arm getting caught in the guard. That's a smaller risk I can probably survive.
    Stir vigorously then leave!
    Ryno
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    With all this recent talk about handle guards I have a question. Are shortline skiers more likely to put thier arm thru the handle then a longline skier? It seems like all the incidents that I have read about have occured to shortline skiers. Obvoisuly the risk is the for all , but as a 15-28 skier am I less likely? Or should I rush out and get one and not ski another pass until I get one on.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,147 Crazy Baller
    @rodltg2. First answer: you should rush out and get something on your handle because it's not worth the risk, because the result of a fall through the handle has a high probability of being BAD. Second answer: speaking only for myself, my arm through the handle falls (I think I've had three over the years, two where I escaped only brushed, scratched, and scared and one that dislocated my elbow, severely stretched my ulnar collateral ligament and put me out for the season) have all come at 35 or 38 off. They happened when I loaded way too hard on the preceding turn, got "snapped" through the following edge change, pulled forward, and missed the handle at the finish of the next out of control turn. There are just too many ways it can happen though. Just get something on your handle. For me it's an Arm Guard.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 1,575
    edited June 2012
    @rodltg2: In your owm words "rush out and get one and not ski another pass until I get one on."

    Your head or arm can go through the handle at any line length. It happens so fast you will never see it coming. A lot of us who have skied a long time have had many close calls, and know someone who it has happened to, like Chet Raley or Ron Toole.

    The risk is just to great to ignore.
    Loving the Reflex Supershell with R Style Rear !!!
  • thagerthager Posts: 3,815 Mega Baller
    The shorter it gets the more unpredictable the fall due to acceleration, deceleration and the loss of sensibilities caused by those little orange round balls. I missed stuffing my head into the handle three weeks ago by less than a few inches at -28. Got a nice lump on my temple from impact with the rubber handle piece. Scared me a little!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I am one of those guys that asked the question about getting your hand stuck in the handle guard and not getting it out. I admitted up front it was an ignorant question because I have no experience with it. Sounds like the consensus on this forum is handle guards are a must and getting caught in it is a non-issue. We had a tournament in UT yesterday and I only saw one handle guard on 17 different handles.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,632 Mega Baller
    edited June 2012
    Handle guards are getting pretty common in New England. Maybe still below 50%, but if so not much.

    While it's certainly true that it CAN happen at any line length, I'm pretty convinced the probability goes way up at extreme short line.

    I had quite a bit of trouble finding something I could ski well with, but a few strips of well-placed duct tape and I don't notice it at all. (Thanks MS!)

    This does NOT completely prevent the possibility of an arm getting stuck, however. It reduces the chance of that, but the key benefit is that it does make it impossible to get my head in there (and I tried -- including with some "assistance" from my daughter).
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • scotchipmanscotchipman Posts: 3,663
    I have noticed myself falling closer and closer to the handle over the years as I ski shorter and shorter lines. At 38' is where it started to scare me and I started using a arm guard last year.
    - President of the Utah Water Ski Club
    - USI Tech pays for my water ski addiction
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    can someone post the link to the FM arm guard that everyone is saying is the best?
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,807
    It would seem to me that If you fall at 15 off with a bunch of slack, the boat is pulling the handle down course away from you because you're turning way farther back in relation to the boat. If you fall at 38 off with slack, the angle of the rope is such that the boat has to travel farther away before it takes the handle down course.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • scotchipmanscotchipman Posts: 3,663
    @ShaneH, exactly.
    - President of the Utah Water Ski Club
    - USI Tech pays for my water ski addiction
  • dave_ndave_n Posts: 66 Baller
    Skiing in Lacanau, France recently I used a friend's handle a few times. The handle had a guard fitted into it. After using it half a dozen times I realized that I hadn't noticed the guard getting in the way once. I couldn't think of a reason not to use one on my handle so after an hour playing around with an old wetsuit bag, a piece of webbing and a couple of small shoelaces, I've got one. I'm ugly enough already without sticking my head through my handle in a fall. We've all heard of a death or serious injury resulting from getting tangled up with a handle. I don't know why I waited so long to fit one.
  • thagerthager Posts: 3,815 Mega Baller
    Nice kini!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • footloose42footloose42 Posts: 84 Baller
    at $20-30 a piece, I could hardly use the "I don't want to spend the money" excuse in this high cost sport. I ordered mine on Monday.
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @Jim Neely Thanks
  • KlundellKlundell Posts: 432 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @Jim Neely which one do you recommend. The regular $25 one. The $30 one... White flex or black flex. There are a few options there.
  • footloose42footloose42 Posts: 84 Baller
    @dave_n, did you sew the mesh into the rope? It looks like it came from the factory like that!
  • Jim NeelyJim Neely Posts: 291 Baller
    @Klundell I use gorilla duct tape
    68" Vapor
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,147 Crazy Baller
    @klundell - I think it is posted in another thread, but you can order an Arm Guard from Thomas Wayne at twcues@gci.net. That's the one that I think is best.

    @shaneh - i don't get what your point is about a through-the-handle fall at 15 vs. 38. Do you think you are going to have time to do something about it at 38 because you are up on the boat?
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,632 Mega Baller
    edited June 2012
    @jimbrake I'm sure Shane can answer for himself, but MY point (which I think is also his) is the opposite of your guess: At -38 and shorter, that handle is often NOT being pulled away from you, and may even be behind you, giving you all sorts of opportunities to get fouled in it.

    In fact, I believe a main reason this kind of accident has become so much more common in the last decade or so is that a lot more people are challenging deep shortline thanks to improvements in equipment and technique.

    I have my Duct Tape as the final protection against instant death, but I am also extremely conscious of where that rope and handle are, especially at -38 and in, and I don't drop it until I think I've chosen where it's going. (Yes, I understand I do not have complete control in all situations -- but I'm going to TAKE as much control as I possibly can.)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,807
    @jimbrake Like Nathan indicated, at the shorter line lengths the rope and handle will be close to you longer because you are higher up on the boat and it's got to travel downcourse farther before it pulls it away. Has nothing to do with your reaction to it. This increases the likelihood that you can fall into the handle or rope.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

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