Kayak Wrangling | The Art Form of Self Rescue

Kayaking is such an incredible sport. You glide across water, through lakes, streams, oceans exploring every nook and cranny of the shore line. But if you are going to become serious about kayaking then knowing how to self- rescue is just as important as the kayak you select to use. 

Korrie has been researching a lot about kayaks since her move to Maine and now that we each own a kayak we thought it might be an important time to really learn more about how to use our vessel as well as rescue ourselves in it-- in the event that we lose control. But I mean that would never happen, right?

We watched a handful of YouTube videos on self rescue because every athlete is different in the best way to self rescue. After watching the Muscle Up, Cowbody, Reverse Heel Entry and Paddle Float options several times we decided to take to the water and give each one a whirl. 

Korrie began intelligently and went for the paddle float, a technique that uses an inflatable "tube" around your paddle to counter the weight of the kayak so that you can enter. Very quickly Korrie got into her kayak.

I on the other hand decided as a coach I had to attempt the muscle up variation. To be fair getting up isn't the hard part, it's not tipping yourself over once you are up on your kayak that is the real challenge. I took in a nose and mouthful of water several times attempting this method before I decided to go for the cowboy. 

Cowboy has the kayaker do a partial muscle up on to the back of the boat then straddle the kayak. From here you scoot yourself forward until you reach the cockpit and then enter with your butt first. Then pull in your legs. This was actually a lot more fun... Tell that to my inner thighs haha. Still, it required balance, strength and focus to ensure that you don't get too ahead of yourself. 

Korrie and I tried all of the self rescue options except for flipping from under water. What we found was Kayak Wrangling is a lot of fun and a lot of work. Holy arms and Core!!!! We had so much fun out there on the kayaks and learned a valuable lesson in how to self rescue in the event we dump out of our kayaks. 

Tips for Kayak Wrangling:

  • Practice with a partner so you can get assistance in the water. 
  • Never lose contact with your kayak or your paddle.  
  • Try multiple methods of self-rescue-- every kayaker is different in her needs in the water.
  • Have FUN! This can get really silly and if you relax, enjoy yourself and take your time you will learn a lot more.