Rescue Technique

14 years 6 months ago #2433 by Rob94
Rescue Technique was created by Rob94
My wife and I recently purchased a pair of V10s as we were interested in a new challenge and taking our kayak skills to a new level. While we are both experienced traditional kayak paddlers, and I am proficient in rolling and some rescue techniques, I was a bit concerned as to how to perform a rescue or assist should one of us flip over and have trouble re-entering our surf ski via the straddle or side entry method. Reading some of the posts on re-entry, a number of paddlers seemed to indicate that after several failed attempts, they may not have the strength to get in their ski. (My wife and I are both over 50 yrs. of age, and as she does not have as much upper body strength as I, I was particularly concerned with a way to assist a needy paddler with re-entry into their ski, in a quick and efficient manner.)

After some experimentation, I came up with a rescue which I will describe here in case it may be of value to others. (My apologies if such a technique is already widely known, as I am new to surf skiis.)

Modified Hand of God Rescue for Surf Ski capsize:

1. Have the victim wrap arms and legs around overturned surf ski such that they are hugging the ski from below, i.e., their body should be positioned under and parallel to the ski. Since the surf ski is very narrow, it is easy for the victim to hug the ski with their hands locked together and legs locked around the ski, and also to breath on one side of the overturned surf ski with their face out of the water. Have the victim shimmy forward or backward on the ski so that their butt is positioned in close proximity to the seat of the ski.

2. The rescuer can then perform the hand of God maneuver, i.e., paddle up next to the capsized ski, reach over the ski to grab the coaming on the far side of the ski, and yank this upward and toward yourself with one hand, while pushing down on the side of the ski nearest you, in order to roll the surf ski upright. (see video on U-tube for "Hand of God" assist via traditonal kayaks.)

3. Upon righting the kayak, the victim will be seated in the boat with their legs straddling on the outside. The victim only needs to sit up and place their feet in the boat.

-Fast. Re-entry in seconds.
-Relatively easy to perform.

I'm curious as to whether others have tried this form of assist before, and what other methods of assist paddlers have found effective in helping a capsized paddler re-enter their ski when they are in need of help.



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14 years 6 months ago - 14 years 6 months ago #2436 by garykroukamp
Replied by garykroukamp on topic Re:Rescue Technique
The technique you describe would seem to be rather complicated and difficult especially if the paddler was wearing a flotation jacket. It would be difficult then to hang upside down under an upturned boat without bobbing up next to it.

An easier alternative, if there was someone else available to help anyway, would be for that paddler to steady the second craft by leaning over and holding onto the gunwales and with their paddle across both boats, allowing the swimmer to get onto a now steady boat. Two boats alongside each other like this are stable and there would be little risk of the second paddler falling in too.
Last edit: 14 years 6 months ago by garykroukamp.

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14 years 6 months ago #2438 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re:Rescue Technique
Interesting, Rob, but I guess that I would like to see Youtube video of this technique being done with narrow racing type surfskis. My gut feeling tells me that it would be much more difficult with them compared to traditional kayaks.

Also, I don't think may paddlers have difficulty getting back onto their skis on flat water - like you see on the Youtube videos with traditional kayaks. The times that ski paddlers run into trouble getting back on is in fairly rough water, so the "hand of god" technique would need to be workable and advantageous in those conditions.

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  • Alain Jaques
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14 years 6 months ago #2440 by Alain Jaques
Replied by Alain Jaques on topic Re:Rescue Technique
Gary is right about the 'rafting' of two ski's being a very stable platform for rescue. You cannot easily fall in on the side that you are holding the second ski because you are supported by it. Then if you hook your foot under the second ski this will keep you stable from falling out away from the second ski.

By the way: I find gunwales totally un-grippable with cold, tired and wet hands. I wish someone would make rubberised grips (or just indents) to stick on gunwales to assist with carrying your ski.

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14 years 6 months ago #2441 by [email protected]
I've been involved in several rescues in extreme conditions (ie when my buddy hasn't been able to get back in the ski) and each time all that was needed was for me to hold the other ski steady. The buddy could then flop back onto the ski, taking his time, get balanced and relaxed then set off again.

But heck, why don't you give it a go and give us some feedback.


Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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14 years 3 months ago #2693 by Shaun
Replied by Shaun on topic Re:Rescue Technique
One other method that I have used is to climb up on the back of the ski and slide yourself up to the seat. I found that when I am too tired to do a normal remount, I can shove the stern of the boat between my legs and crawl up to the cockpit area. This isn't going to work very well in bigger water, because you are going to be sitting high for a longer time, but it takes much less effort if fatugue is an issue. This has worked very well for me in the past.

I have used the "hand of God" method in whitewater boats and have seen it used in sea kayaks with great sucess, I don't see why it wouldn't work in a ski if practiced a few times. I would be curious to get an update from the guy who make the origional post, to see if he could really make it work very well.

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