Hobie Forums

Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice
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Author:  Microboater [ Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

Chaz et al, thanks for discussing this topic, which is supremely important for anyone who actually goes somewhere with their kayak. Without the ability to reboard in a reasonable amount of time under difficult circumstances, you could be dead in short order if the water is cold or the waves are sending you onto the rocks.

If you read "Sea Kayaking Deep Trouble" (as I would recommend you all do), you will learn that a high percentage of deaths are caused by boaters' inability to reenter in difficult conditions. Of course, those boats were all sit-inside kayaks, which theoretically are harder to reenter, but the urgency of attaining skill at reentry is the same with a SINK or a SOT, so make sure you can do it—and practice safely in the most difficult conditions you expect to encounter. This is a central principle in all sea kayaking training.

Stobbo, I'm sorry I must take issue with your somewhat simplistic and exclusivist statements about how anyone should be able to reenter just by jumping back aboard or they shouldn't be on the water. Lithe or muscular or athletic people seem to not understand that reentry can be very difficult for more average people, or older people, or people a few pounds overweight, or relatively lacking in upper body strength--so would you really have all of us stay off the water? Roadrunner's excellent video of how to enter his Oasis shows how easy it is for him, but I'm going to hazard a guess that something approaching the majority of people reading these posts would not be able to do that even after practicing. I know I certainly can't because I have tried. I'm 58, of average size and build, 5-10 pounds over my ideal weight, not very strong in the upper body. It's a long way up and over the gunwale of an unloaded Oasis (especially with a good PFD) and it's very easy to pull the boat back over on top of yourself, especially if your legs sink like stone like mine do. My Adventure is a lot lower, but also a lot narrower. In any case, boaters should see for themselves in a safe setting and not assume it will be easy.

Although I haven't tried them yet, I'm betting swim fins would be one of the best things to have to help you reboard, although that's one more thing to carry and possibly lose in a capsize.

On both of my boats I have installed a kind of strap eye about 2 inches long just to the outside of the mesh gear pocket. To this I attach a 9' x 1" NRS cam strap, and I roll it up with a rubber band and store it in the mesh pocket. I won't go anywhere without it. You can use this strap as an already-rigged stirrup so you can use your leg strength to board. As cryder mentioned, arm strength will leave you first in cold water, so it's good to have a way to use your leg (one leg).

You can't simply stand up on the strap like using a ladder; the boat will tip over again. You still have to kick to get your legs roughly parallel to the water, reach across to grab the opposite side of the boat, and KICK HARD with the leg not in the stirrup to propel yourself onto the boat while you simultaneously shove yourself forward with the stirrup, i.e., more horizontal movement than vertical. It is best to keep the strap loop adjusted such that you have to tuck your knee right up tight under the hull (with your instep in the stirrup); this gives you the most horizontal movement, and you can sort of snap yourself back into the boat with practice. (I tie a loose knot in the end of the strap to keep me from accidentally pulling the end out of the buckle.)

The strap can also be used to help right the boat if necessary (righting is not so easy with an Oasis; those of us who can't just pull ourselves back into the boat will have an equal or greater difficulty climbing over the top of a capsized hull to grab the opposite gunwale or handle): throw the weight of the buckle over the overturned hull, move to the other side, and pull on the loop with your feet on the side of the boat. This is the same technique river rafters use with their preinstalled "flip lines."

Even with fins or a stirrup, anything that will help stabilize the kayak will be a welcome, and perhaps essential, thing. The Sidekick Ama will surely work well in this regard IF it is easy to quickly deploy. Paddle float systems, like most SINK users carry, can also work, though they do have their disadvantages. I use Harmony (Voyageur) sea sponsons. These are inflatable tubes (about 6" dia) that I keep clipped to the sides of my boats with two small strap eyelets above the water line. They are light, small when deflated, and inconspicuous when properly stowed, and pretty quick to deploy, but give a lot of peace of mind for reboarding (especially if exhausted), for really bad sea conditions, for stabilizing the boat for an ill or injured person, for relieving yourself at sea, or sleeping in your boat while tied to kelp or mangroves etc. The sponsons don't stabilize as much as the amas will, but on the other hand they are quicker to deploy and not as much to carry around.

Author:  Chaz [ Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

Excellent write-up, Microboater. I have heard of the use of the strap as a foothold, but couldn't figure out the technique that was used without pulling the boat over. Your detailed instructions cleared that up nicely. I will have to practice that. Thank you.

Author:  motobob [ Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

This is the most useful thread I have seen on the board. I got my Oasis late in the season in 2012 and have yet to exercise "getting back into the kayak" with my wife but it is prime on my to do list in the Spring when conditions warm. We are sticking to flat calm water for the time being... Great thread. Bob

Author:  stobbo [ Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice


To label my comments exclusivist is over-sensitive and ignores the realities of kayaking anywhere where assistance to reboard your boat after falling in is required but not available.

My comments are simplistic but the realities are pretty black and white - if you can't get back on board under your own steam after you have fallen off what are you going to do? Call up the coastguard? Freeze to death?

I believe that we all have a duty to be self reliant as regards self rescue and this implies enjoying our sport within our limits...

If you are at sea on a SOT kayak which you can't even get back on top of (relatively easily done, if inelegant, and a sight easier than reboarding a SIK - something that I am not sure I could do) then you can't be self reliant because your limitations have already been exceeded; and if help is not readily available then you are in the sh*t and yes, under these circumstances perhaps you might be wondering to yourself if you should have been on the water in the first place...

As to blithely calling up the rescue services: I once overheard an altercation between a coastguard and the idiots he had just rescued for the second time in which the coastguard was saying "...what are you thinking about going out in these conditions? ...if it wasn't for us you guys would have been dead twice by now..." to which the idiots' response was "that's what you get paid for". Wrong on several levels and directly comparable to going out in a kayak if you can't get actually back into/onto it.

Call my comments exclusivist if you like but you'd be just as dead 8)

Getting back on board does not, in fact, require huge upper body strength but it does require some... Heave yourself up across the kayak horizontally like a seal hauling itself onto the ice and then turn over into the seat. Less effort required than pulling yourself out of a swimming pool without steps and very little technique needed. Trying to reboard as though you were climbing stairs or a ladder (e.g. With a foot loop) or trying to get one leg over the gunwale is not the way to go IMO as more strength will be required to lift your weight out of the water (where it is supported) and if not supported centrally by the boat your weight falling off the centre line will have the effect of rolling the boat over.

Author:  Mary Skater [ Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

stobbo wrote:
To label my comments exclusivist is over-sensitive and ignores the realities of kayaking anywhere where assistance to reboard your boat after falling in is required but not available.

My comments are simplistic but the realities are pretty black and white - if you can't get back on board under your own steam after you have fallen off what are you going to do?

But given that a lot of us don't find re-boarding as easy as you do, surely the whole point of this thread is for people to work out techniques, before the emergency happens, that will let us self-rescue?


Author:  stobbo [ Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

Mary, sure it is, and my original point was to contribute to that debate by suggesting that it really ain't that hard if you adopt the inelegant belly flop approach.

My subsequent point was that if you really can't do it there is no point in complaining that you are being discriminated against: the cruel sea just isn't forgiving enough.

By all means someone may be able to come up with some kind of device to help people get back on board. By all means try that if you want to but I strongly suggest that it would be worth thoroughly attempting the belly flop approach before looking into foot loops, rope ladders, inflatable devices etc.

Either way a hard question is implied i.e. If you can't get yourself out of a calm swimming pool unaided (implying that the likely success of the belly flop approach could be questionable) and you cannot come up with a foolproof device for getting yourself back on board in a turbulent sea by other means then it seems reasonable to suppose that some people might question what you were doing setting out to sea in the first place...

Author:  sunday [ Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

I agree with Microboater's strap idea.
IMO, having one is essential, especially if you're kayaking with novices or people of lower upper-body strength (women). As I pointed out in my earlier post, your life jacket can act as a strap in a pinch, but a separate strap is better. A bowline can also become a strap/loop to put your foot into. Something to practice before you need it!

Stobbo, I do not agree with your assessment that getting back in a kayak is something a person of avg strength and age can easily accomplish. This is especially true if you're never practiced it, or if you're in cold water that saps your strength, or if you're wearing a life jacket and have a belly.

Author:  islandspeed2001 [ Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

If you are slow on the draw, do you go to a gun fight?

If you can't throw a knife, do you go to a knife fight?

If you can't get back in your kayak, should you be in it in the first place?

It may be your life you are putting into danger, but it also mine when I come to rescue you.

Author:  fusioneng [ Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

This is a very good thread, and your video shows how hard it can be for the average person to get back into any kayak when tipped over.
Sometimes even a pretty fit younger person can have problems, a couple years ago at Ft Desoto, FL (where the Watertribe EC challenges launches from this weekend) a young 30 yr old (pretty fit) kayaker died when a sudden storm hit out of the blue. The water was around 60-65 degrees, he died of hypothermia with his lifejacket on. I was out that day nearby on my TI and am suprised I survived the 4 ft waves and 35 mph winds, there were also a couple younger guys out on a Getaway that day, they capsized twice trying to get back in, when we came back in we were all totally exhausted.
One thing that has not been mentionened is if you do go over, and it's windy at all, the ultra light kayak will blow away out of your reach before you can get your bearings and turn around and grab the kayak. This has happened to me on several occasions (your basically SOL watching your kayak blow away, faster than anyone could ever swim). Plus you can't call for help if your phone (and whistle) is inside the hull in a dry bag, you become bait very quickly especially after dark in the ocean ( and peeing your pants does not repel sharks) .
Another important factor is time, in any water below 75 degrees an average person has around 5 minutes, and 2-3 attempts to get back into your boat before becoming exhausted, this has also happened to both me and my wife on several occasions.
When we first bought kayaks we practiced re-entry in our pool for days before ever going out in the ocean. One thing that we realized quickly is my wife who is a reasonably fit over 50 yr old simply does not have the upper body strength to pull herself back onto any kayak (especially our Oasis) without assistance or some special device for assistance.
I'm not recommending any one technique over another, the important thing is to have a technique worked out and practiced, your life depends on it (even in sunny Key West Florida)
One more thing, never go out without a float plan left with someone you trust who can come and get you (or knows who to call) if you are overdue.
Hope this helps

Author:  olddognewtrick [ Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

I just bought my first kayak/boat (PA) and so take my comment with a grain of salt...

Just watching a lot of videos on reentry, and having been in fresh water lakes, rivers etc... since I was a young boy, skiing and fishing and swimming... it seems to me that reentry is somewhat similar to mounting the high bar, or side mounting parallel bars, in a gymnastics way. It's mostly about getting your center of gravity to the right spot with minimal movement (ie...energy expense) and thus requiring less strength. If you attempt to mount the high bar, or the parallel bars, with your arms only, it's going to be a great deal more difficult. I looks as though everyone, especially the older(me included), and those not in tip top shape, should be familiar with their body's center of gravity and practice getting that part of their body over the edge and into the kayak. Practice that over and over... Once you have that down, then getting seated without dumping again should be that much easier. Panic is your enemy, as others have said, as it will drain your energy quicker than attempting reentry.

Once again, if I am way off base here, let me know. I just thought to try and relate kayak reentry to something else that might be familiar to some. Stobbo's belly flop approach is pretty much right on with how I think of reentry. While his post did seem a little harsh :) , it is the truth. All I think Stobbo meant was "know your limits". Practice, exercise and some muscle workouts, will extend your limits, but there are just some sports where it's too dangerous to push your limits far beyond your comfort zone.

Author:  sunday [ Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

islandspeed2001 wrote:
If you are slow on the draw, do you go to a gun fight?

If you can't throw a knife, do you go to a knife fight?

If you can't get back in your kayak, should you be in it in the first place?

It may be your life you are putting into danger, but it also mine when I come to rescue you.

I agree, if you can't get back in, don't go out.

But what if an accident happens to you? What if Mr Athlete hurts one of his shoulders or breaks his wrist?

As it has been pointed out by many, and shown in the videos, getting back in for the person of average size and strength is NOT easy, and takes practice.

The point is that in all sports, and especially watersports, proper SAFETY equipment is required. And you should have a back-up plan.

For kayakers of all shapes and builds, age and ability, a re-entry device of some sort, --whether homemade, a rope loop, a jacket looped over the drive, or whatever, is without question "required", and should be practiced with.

Author:  Dr.SteelheadCatcher [ Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

The video link below shows how easy it is to re-right a Hobie kayak and re-enter it.

For $20, it's a simple solution for those of you who are not handy in crafting this item.
Disclaimer....I do not have any affiliation with Waterbug's kayak self rescue ladder....I bought one myself and know it will make re-entry easier...especially if you are wearing a "fishing PFD" that is loaded with stuff.
At 71, I still have enough upper body strength and "kick" to re-enter my Outback...but, this simple safety item is a no brainier as it really makes turning over the kayak much easier too......just add wind and wave action to complicate the task. You will be glad to have this tool secured to your kayak!

Author:  Chaz [ Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

Sometimes I regret posting this video. I have come close to yanking it several times. I had another edited version just showing me successfully getting aboard, but I thought more could be learned from my unsuccessful attempts on a kayak so new and different to me that I hadn't even rode on it yet. So new, I didn't know the good places to grab! Each kayak has a different feel (I have 7), and you need to learn them all. The many hours I have since spent on my Revo 11 has proven it to be an excellent, capable and safe kayak.

My video and comments were intended to emphasize safety, not fool-hardiness, irresponsibility, or lack of skill or strength, and certainly not to put someone else's life in jeopardy. The fact is, we do need to practice and the first time, you might not do it. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again". You will eventually figure out a way that works for you. Giving up is a last resort, not the first.

I thank all for the many constructive comments and have learned much from them.
- Chaz -

Author:  MarcNadine [ Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

Thank you for the very informative video. It's at the least a very good reminder to practice the re-entry instead of assuming you will be able to re-enter as easily as many people just assume it will be. We just bought two used 13 foot Revo's and learned a lot from this thread and feel better prepared in practicing how to do the re-entry instead of just assuming we'll be able to without any problem. We planned on practicing this anyway but now we will be better prepared for when we do.

Author:  Joel_T [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Revo 11 Self Rescue Practice

Good thread. The first video’s not available though – I would have liked to see it.

My wife and I just bought a Revo 11 for her and a Revo 13 for me. We’re both 5’5”. She’s an agile and trim 135lbs and I’m a…..well, weight 185lbs. We both have at least average upper body strength. We’re anxious only for fairly calm flatwater cruises – bays, rivers, lakes, but am sure we’ll be in the drink sometime. We’ve only rented a couple times and been out in ours only twice. Last time we tried re-entry near the docks for a bit. What a joke – didn’t happen. Whoever keeps saying reentry’s just as easy as getting out of a pool is overlooking the fact that the side of a pool is cement and does not move. I see vids of people popping up over their kayaks like bobbers – the kayak stays still and the people fly over the top. Well for me, I don’t fly anywhere, the kayak does – usually on it top. The Revos are very easy to turn back over though. I didn’t think the wife would have any problem but she did, just less splashing. My PFD was adjusted loose so I could breath in peddling mode. It took a bit to cinch it up properly so it wasn’t up in my face. It still acted like a retaining wall against the side of the Revo though. Well, that and my belly. I will be using an inflatable from now on to help with that. I haven’t heard anything bad about them except for getting struck by lightning type fears. Tried help from a paddle float but was unable to secure it well enough at all. Not sure how yet but will resolve that. Open to suggestions. Also will rig up a stirrup setup. Then….more practice. We won’t have the luxury of 85deg days with 70deg water though. Procrastination will probably creep in.

Maybe if I eat more beans and tacos I can pop up over the side like a bobber :mrgreen:

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