Monday, June 28, 2010

Fall back part 2 - Rodeo Rescue

Some call it the ladder, some the call it the rodeo, some the scramble. Either way it is a fairly simple method to get back into your kayak, after you have wet exited. In the Fall back scenario for me, it is my first go to after a missed roll, and a wet exit.

Near the rear of your kayak, push down to submerge it, and scramble your chest onto it. As you slide forward you will move onto a wider section of deck, the kayak will be less submerged and more stable. This is a good time to get your legs on both sides of the hull. You can stay with your chest to the deck or you can sit up. Keeping your feet low, they act as a good counterbalance, because you are sitting on top of the deck raising the kayaks center of gravity. then just work your way forward. Here is the trick, at least for me, if you try and put your feet in the cockpit, before your bottom, you will fall over and have to start over. Put your bottom in the seat, and then bring your legs in - similar to the way I enter the kayak in the 'entry' video, this may be harder for those of you with longer legs. Once your legs are in the kayak, skirt up, pump out the kayak, and you are on your way.

I put this as my second option after rolling, because it is fast - if it works - and doesn't require any extra gear. For me it generally doesn't work. The other thing I should point out, is if your kayak has a skeg, you can enter from the rear, which is much easier than if you have a rudder, and have to enter from the side. The reason for this, is that the rudder and it's fittings are metal, and have the potential to cause some damage - to you - which is enough to make a bad day worse. When ever you are in the water, for any reason, in proximity to your rudder be very careful.

The video below is one of my favorites. And it's not one of mine. It is an excellent demonstration of the rodeo re-entry. Even better, it's done in rough water. This brings up a valuable point.

Practice in rough water. Practice rolling, and paddle floats, and edging, practice everything in rough water. When something bad happens, chances are it's going to occur in bad weather. People tend to practice rescues on beautiful sunny days. This is not when your going to need to do a rescue. The practice is still good, but it would be much better if you could throw in a little wave and wind to get the feel of it.

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