Inflatable Kayaking Self Rescue Hints

I was going to write a really long article about IK self rescue, but there was just so much to say and it might be boring to a lot of people, so I decided to just give a couple of hints.

I have flipped a lot over the years, and I am not a nimble, athletic person. Getting back in the IK is hard for me, but I have found some things that help.

The main thing I do is to not let go of my boat and paddle. There are two parts to this. First, my thigh straps and footbrace lock me into the boat well enough that when I flip over, I am still in the boat. I have to flex my feet to release them from the footbrace, which allows my legs to come out. Second, when I come out of the boat, I grab my thigh strap in my right hand and hold my paddle in my left. When I come up, I am still holding my boat. I can almost always grab the far thigh strap under the boat, pull with one hand, and push the near tube up with the other. This flips the boat back over quickly, and I’m still holding onto it.

The other thing I do is to practice in rapids. Practicing in flatwater will help you learn some techniques, but flipping in a rapid will teach you how to get in fast and do it right. If you can self-rescue in a class III rapid, you are much more likely to be able to self-rescue in tougher rapids.

In the end, if you have confidence that you can get back in your boat, you can run more challenging whitewater or you can have more fun goofing around on the easier rapids.