Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: I have to agree
In Response To: Re: I have to agree ()

Sea kayaking is kind of a conundrum: when you set out for a hike, you know the terrain is not going to be any more challenging going up than it was coming down. Sure, it may start to rain a bit or snow a bit, but a little weather isn't going to make the ground steeper, or make it roll beneath your feet. In a kayak, a building wind could send you on a ride you'll never forget. Where does this lead the weekend kayaker? I don't know. There are so many glossy airline magazines and other feel-good mags like Outside that make sea kayaking look very easy, peaceful, and tranquil. There is so much that novices don't know. I wish I had an easy answer, but there isn't one. If we tried to scare away novices, then our equipment would cost twice as much. (Less demand, less production, higher r&d, overhead, and fixed production costs) But I digress....

: I absolutely agree with you that for folks who are really into kayaking, and
: have the time, the eskimo roll is a desirable first measure, no doubt
: about it. But for the average paddler who doesn't have much time, but
: still wants to enjoy the sport, assisted rescue or self re-entry provides
: a feeling of security, especially when the sponson deployment is mastered
: in bad conditions. Of course, we all favour anticipation of bad
: conditions, but we have all had some unexpected problems. Now that does
: raise the question of whether rolling should be mandatory, and taught as
: the primary recovery skill, and I know it has its advocates and
: detractors. But I think the student needs to master the fear of coming out
: of the boat. Paddle float and sponsons, with wetsuit, signal devices and
: neoprene gloves to maintain use of the hands in cold water, provides a
: quickly learned rescue system.

Not only does the student need to master the fear of coming out of the boat, they must have hard-wired instincts to get back in the boat. Just getting out of the boat before drowning is not enough. You've gotta stay calm, assess the situation, and effect a rescue. And all this in well under a minute, especially if conditions are bad. Yes, all kayakers (IMHO) must have an effective rescue. However, to be in conditions that would require a rescue, I think one needs to have a roll. You get capsized, you roll back up, you keep going. If you have to wet exit in bad conditions, you've failed in your preparation. Either your skills are not good enough for the possible conditions, or your weather forecasting stinks! Jed and I went around and around on the rolling issue once before. I said that having to roll is a sign of failure. I now agree with him; with a whitewater and traditional Inuit perspective, rolling is just another reflexive move that you do and keep going. Wet exiting is failure. If you swim on a whitewater river, you've failed. I'm not saying that you're an utter failure and you can never do anything right ever again, but having to go for an unplanned swim is a failure, even if it ends up being safe and minor.

: I am much more suspicious of the T-rescue and the H-rescue and the all-in
: rescue, these look frankly impossible in bad conditions. Anyone with
: comments on the T or H rescue and experience seems to advise against them.
: But for unloaded boats, on a day paddle, they make a certain amount of
: sense.

If you have an all-in situation, then everybody failed in conditions forecasting!! T-rescues aren't too bad with unloaded boats. If you've got that many people, though, you could pretty much right the capsized boat, get the paddler in, and do a group pump-out. Especially if the boat is laden and too heavy to tip upside down to drain.

: After having read Deep Trouble and talked to alot of kayakers, I am still not
: sure that rolling, in the end of things, saves any lives. Sorry, but the
: conditions, if bad, defeat the roll, and require measures such as sponson
: deployment, or better things to come in the future, to stabilize the craft
: and to get the hell out of the mess you paddled into.

Or..better things should have happened in the past, and you stay out of those situations in the future!! :)

:Failed rolls result
: in exposure,

But still no more exposure than a wet exit. Statistically speaking, your expectation of exposure is less with rolling skills, even if you don't roll 100% of the time.

: repeated rolls are demoralizing, especially when you have to
: fight to bring them around.

Yes, but yellow rainbows and other failed rescues and re-entries are just as demoralizing.

: Do rolls do anything other than refine bracing
: and hip leveraging skills? I haven't seen a study which compares these
: things scientifically, and perhaps that needs to be done. An analysis of
: the efficacy and reliability of different rescue procedures.....

I think rolling improved my bracing and overall "body english". Better static braces, better sculling braces, better boat feel, better body position. A study like that would be pretty interesting!