|· How do I capsize a kayak canoe safely?|
Generally, kayaking is a dry sport, and unless you do a lot of sea surfing or white water canoeing, you can expect to stay on top of the water the vast majority of the time. That doesn't mean you can ignore the possibility of a capsize, however.
Remember - stuff happens, and it's a lot better to train and be prepared for the worst before it happens out on the water.
One of the big fears that most new paddlers have is being trapped in the kayak during a capsize. It's more likely, however, that the novice kayaker will fall out of the cockpit, especially if you're not using a spray skirt.
Before performing your first capsize, you'll want to plan and prepare. If possible, find a swimming pool where you can practice. If not, locate a shallow, relatively calm body of water. You'll need fellow paddlers and a safety boat to assist you, for the first capsize. Dress for immersion, of course. A nose clip is a good idea if you're concerned about getting water up your nose (slowly exhaling through your nose will serve the same purpose). And always wear proper flotation (a buoyancy aid).
You'll want to make it as easy to exit the cockpit as possible, especially on the first few attempts.
Also try the first few exits without a paddle.
Then have your assistants standing by, and roll over. Once under the water, hold your breath and count to five then bang three times on the hull. This will give you the confidence that you'll have time to release the spray skirt when you start to wear one and escape when the time comes.
Then, when it's time to escape, lean forward and place your hands behind you on either side of the boat. Straighten out your legs, then use them to push up and out of the cockpit. A few of these dry runs will show you how easy it is to escape before giving it a try with the spray skirt attached.
Then try it with your gear:
? Hold your paddle alongside the canoe, take a deep breath and roll over.
? Keep hold of the paddle if you can, and hold your breath & count to five again.
? Give three bangs on the side of the canoe
? Eyes open or closed
? Now lean forward and exit as before.
Once on the surface, grab one of the boat's toggles and pull it along before swimming after your paddle if you have let go of it.
A boat can drift away quickly--especially in the wind--and you're better off with a boat (and hopefully a spare paddle) than a paddle and no boat.
This will all seem quite awkward at first, but will become routine with practice, and give you the confidence that you can always escape your kayak, no matter what the situation.
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