Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re-enter and Roll--How do they do that?

I just started practicing my re-enter and roll technique at the pool session on Sunday night. It's not quite indicative as real conditions (it's harder) due to the fact that I wasn't wearing a PFD in the pool.

I found that leaving one leg inside the kayak when capsizing allowed me to keep both hands free to attach the paddlefloat to my paddle. I slid, upside down, into the cockpit, and "pulled the boat on like a pair of pants", then rolled back up. Not too bad; I can do it on both sides of the boat, so I now just have to wait for some warmer weather to do it in rough water.

There are some books that recommend re-attaching your sprayskirt while inverted, underwater, to minimize the amount of water that remains in the cockpit when the boat is righted. How the heck does anyone do that?!?!?! I have a fairly snug-fitting sprayskirt that takes 15 or 20 seconds to attach, when I'm sitting upright, and my lungs are allowed free access to air. I like the re-enter and roll as a potential rescue method, but I can't for the life of me see how re-attaching a sprayskirt while inverted is even possible, especially in rough conditions that would have caused me to capsize in the first place!!

By the way, only blowing up the chamber on the back face of the paddle blade gave me enough buoyancy to roll back up, but also allowed me to paddle once upright. It wasn't the easiest paddling, since you can't fully immerse the blade, but at least there was one remaining flat surface to provide some propulsion.