Upside Down Re-Entry & Roll


Re-Enter and Roll Your Kayak
While Capsized

Using the Somersault method of Re-Entry

Upside Down Re-Entry and Roll: by Robert Finlay of Kayak Lake Mead

This is a great party trick but, it is also a valid and powerful skill to have in rough and or cold conditions. 
Should you capsize and find yourself swimming, this skill allows you the quickest method of getting underway again. In survival situations, timely, quick, well executed skills equals safety.

​In this video, Druce Finlay is practicing in nice conditions, in a protected cove, near a sandy beach.

Gain confidence with this skill then practice in more challenging conditions. Read the text and refer to the video.

While swimming:
Orientation of the boat: Disregard left and right when looking down at an upturned kayak.  In referring to the left (port) or right (starboard) sides of a kayak; left is always the same side of the kayak regardless of whether the boat is overturned or not. So, when doing a right hand roll; you are of course reaching out to the right and of course you are reaching out from the right or starboard side of the boat.

Since you always want to roll into the seas/rollers/breaking waves position yourself so that you are between the waves and the kayak. If your right hand roll is your strongest, then position the right (starboard) side of the boat to the waves.

Re-Entry and Eskimo Roll:
This method of re-entry into a capsized kayak uses the backward flip or somersault method.

The boat is capsized, (1) first spear/move your paddle under the boat so that the paddle will be oriented properly to your hands when facing to the rear, (2) duck/swim under the boat facing to the rear and as an option get up into the cockpit to take a couple of breathes and orient yourself to the situation, (3) look back over your head and with your hands holding the paddle grasp the front edges of the coaming, execute a reverse roll (the somersault part) sliding the feet into the cockpit, arrange your feet, hips, and knees into the cockpit securely, finally...roll up by your preferred method.

Another method:
In this video, I'm practicing in nice conditions, in a protected cove, near a sandy beach, in water just deep enough to roll, wearing a GoPro Head Cam. This is practice being under the boat, orienting yourself, and gaining experience re-entering. However, the Somersault method explained above is the easier and more efficient method of re-entry. 

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Kayak Skills - Somersault Re-entry and Roll
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