Cowboy re-entry?

OK, I’m a newbie and proud of it - please explain.

The image I get is of coming up behind your boat and jumping into it, legs on each side.

How the heck does this work?

Val in CT

a couple of essential skills
You gotta be able to have your paddle ready as you crawl your body forward over the cockpit with torso/ head low, just as you can swing your butt down into the seat and your head/torso go up you pick a side to brace towards as you snake your legs in.

  1. sculling brace,if you don’t have it you’ll go over.

  2. it’s hard with a high aft deck

  3. flexible,long enough cockpit,if you can’t pull your legs in the cockpit after plopping your butt down while doing a sculling brace then you’re stuck.

  4. If you can’t get some of the water out before getting in then you might as well learn a re-entry and roll as it’ll be easier and more effective in rougher water.

Yep, like a horse

– Last Updated: Dec-02-04 10:56 AM EST –

Yep, that is one way depending on your boat, your weight and your athletic ability. Or , throw a leg over near the stern and jump on. Keep weight low, legs in water and wide is one way and scooch forward. Keyhole cockpits help to drop into and do shorter folks with shorter legs to hop in with.

Some profess the abilitiy to do this in rough seas high winds although most would say not a good idea. Like some other posts about what works and what does in rough water.

If you can do it, it can be real fast especially if one is in cold flat water, up and out. Of course best entry into the other world of kayaking is the roll as kayaks were designed to be stayed in by the artic folks and all methods of getting back in involve more energy and risk of failure, at least as explained to me by most here.

Go to

click on “skill of the month”

then on “scramble recovery”

I haven’t been able to do it yet. I need my old legs back.


Not very practical
It’s basically a flatwater trick that’s not terribly useful on anything but. It’s fun to do, but I would never want to rely on it. As was mentioned by Lee, learning to re-enter and roll works better, especially in rough water. Better still is to learn to roll, so you’re less likely to need to re-enter.

Sounds wild.

Have to try it - next year - when the water is warmer. Fraid I’m just about done with anything except very mellow stuff in my Pungo 100 this year.


Only those who risk going too far
-can possibly find out how far they can go.

It can be fun, in flat water, and it had some value for me learning to get knowledge of the balance of my kayak with the center of weight higher, it is like the excercises they had us do on white water years ago, learn to stand up in one’s boat and use the paddle to move along.

But agree, not much use in real world of rough stuff. Word to the wise, you can mark the he double ll out of your boat and if you have a really thin rear deck whack it up as well. Pungo is proabably tough but hey that I’d warn ya.

Yep praying for summer myself, although out in the drysuit in 40 degree water today, quite magical in its own way.

Never dumped the Pungo yet despite the number of hours I’ve logged in it - but I have a Perception Method Aire that is, well, evil.

IE: I don’t know what I’m doing, yet, and in not doing, I do have some adventures of the wet sort.

Looking forward to learning.

Looking for pool sessions this winter, then lots of play next summer.

Limited exception to #3 - and good book
My girlfriend - new to SINKs - managed to cowboy her pintail - WITH ocean cockpit - so it is possible to cowboy small cockpit kayaks.

You go from sitting on rear deck, to feet in, and scoot forward legs first butt last. Low/flat rear deck helps, so does being small and having good balance. I have neither, but could cowboy it too with some determination.

Easier for me to cowboy my higher decked Q700. Modified cowboy actually - belly flop over cockpit, twist and drop hip in. Finish twist and bring legs in as position allows. Even easier of I rig GP as an out rigger. Modified cowboy keeps center of gravity lower and requires less movement on the kayak. Less chances to fall off again, get hung up on gear, or drag sensitive parts over hatch buckles, etc…

Need to work on R&R next. I agree it is a better option in most situations - if already past the option of a roll.

Practice is key. Every boat’s different, so is every paddler. Trick is to find what works, and a few backups.

John Lull’s “Sea Kayaking - Safety and Rescue” is a good resource for many techniques. Just got a copy, wish I’d had it a year or so ago.

Practice rolling your method in the pool
My whitewater boat is also a Method Air, and I find it to be quite easy to roll. As mentioned earlier, it is ALWAYS preferable to just roll back up, and I like re-entry and rolls a whole lot more than a cowboy re-entry. My advice, take some classes this winter in the pool. Learn how to reliably roll your Method Air in the pool, then take it surfing next year. By then, you’ll probably sell your Pungo for something faster and easier to roll. Dosen’t hut to practice a cowboy re-entry though.

Check With Conn AMC
they got a white water group and will probably be doing pool sessions soon. Get the roll down, meet some possible paddling partners, then play hard next summer. :slight_smile:

Oh, Cowboy entry… I admit it… I can barely do it in flat water which means it ain’t any use to me.


I use the rodeo re-entry,…
in calm water when I get out of the kayak to stretch my legs. It’s easier than finding a place to land, and swimming for 1 or 2 minutes gets the circulation going in my lower half much better than just walking around.

It does come in handy when I’m practicing rolls and miss one,…or two,…or three.;-/

Well since you mentioned the pungo
PLease get floatation front and rear in that boat.

Expecially if you plan on doing fun things like cowboy rescues which should be practical anywhere you should be paddling a pungo

At 30 inches wide, I’d be really sore trying a cowboy reentry on a Pungo.


Yeah, but…
… “modified cowboy” should be a snap.

the more
ya know what ya can and can’t do with your boat the better off ya are. It never hurts to know too much. (unless yer brain starts hurtin’)

Valid uses
The cowboy/scramble is more useful than most realise, but I am agreed that it is in no way a substitute, or perhaps not even an alternative, to learning to roll.

I have purposefully practiced the cowboy rescue in good sized surf. The advantages over a re-entry roll or paddlefloat is that the cockpit is relatively empty, and,most important, it is fast enough that it can be performed between breaks.

But, that still may be a party trick (my attitude is if you have a roll, and are in surf, there is very little reason to come out of the boat).

The big value of the cowboy is launching from rock shelfs, pedestals, etc, where a seal launch would not work. Throw the boat in, jump in after (some conditions have warranted a tow line clipped in),and cowboy up.

Extra flotation for the Pungo?
Hi Peter,

I’ve never attempted to roll or anything else in the Pungo - and not interested. It’s strictly for flat water/photo paddles. Stable, hauling stuff.

But, uh, it sounds like if I was gonna doing anything else with it I should add more flotation?

Solid type, or the air bags? It has a couple of solid things in it now, I know that as they worked loose and I had to re-attach them (Gorilla Glue)

The one I want to roll & do exciting things with is the Perception Method Aire. That DOES have float bags. And I don’t plan on using it for camping.


same here, and practice tip
I can cowboy my ocean cockpit without a lot of trouble, even in a chop. Practice a lot and also try sitting on the deck behind the cockpit and paddling around a bit - gives you a good sense of balance. Try it from different distances from the cockpit.

Of course you should also move on to more reliable (rolling or reentry and roll) techniques but IMO they all have their place.

Enough cowboy talk
Lets talk cowgirls