Basically, I didn’t do anything for a year. I have a pool session scheduled for tomorrow. I’ve re-read the thread and also re-watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIW-rQtqVQ half a dozen times, and I’ll watch it some more before I go tomorrow.
One thing has changed though. I now own a skirt. I’m tempted to ignore it, just to get the Heel Hook down pat. But if I do get that, then put it on and practice wet exits with the skirt. This seems reasonable, but I’d like a check-in just in case it isn’t. I’ve never worn a skirt before.
People who have not done a wet exit are likely hugely the rec boat folks. Of three people I have refused to paddle with, for two of them it was because they refused to even try a wet exit near shore with me standing there. Because they were afraid.
Both were in rec boats. I have zero interest in trying to rescue a totally panicked person in a huge cockpit rec boat out on the water. It was bad enough one time in a class when it was a guy in a proper sea kayak. We had to tow him and the boat in, him holding onto the boat…
The other person was someone who was happy to wet exit and flounder around but refused to learn to swim. That was a rare situation, hopefully, but quite the eye opener.
As above, don’t even think about trying anything with the skirt on until you are comfortable that you can pull it. In case you are someone like me who automatically closes their eyes under water, you can feel along the coaming to get to the loop. As long as it is clear you can get out.
It is a good idea to add something you can feel on your spray skirt in order to remove it. A lot of people use things like a wiffle golf ball. You want to be able to find it quickly even in murky water or turbulent water where you cannot see it. For God sake make sure your cockpit is large enough to easily slide out of even with heavy clothing and a PFD. Never paddle a kayak that is hard to get into, because you may not be able to get out of it.
Oh well, no skirt today. I hadn’t even thought about practicing in the backyard. I’ve had the skirt for a few weeks now. (Scored here in the classifieds!) I had hoped to play with a sculling brace but it sounds like that is part 2. Part 1 being practice getting it off! We’ll be at Umbagog soon and maybe I’ll practice that there at the beach.
Practice with your eyes shut even if you normally keep them open, just not the first time. As ppine says, you can’t always see.
Happens to everyone. A friend who had just gotten their roll decided to pop one off before coming in on an evening paddle. They succeeded but had to do a quick adjust. It was the first time they had ever tried doing it after dark and they had not really thought about not being able to watch the paddle.
For a true sea kayak a spray skirt is an essential part, not an optional accessory unless you only paddle in very protected waters. It does not take much of a wave or wake to swamp a sea kayak, generally rendering it unstable.
At Chesapeake Paddlers we require a spray skirt be worn for all on water activities, if the boat is designed to accommodate one. The only exception is for people that are not completely comfortable with a wet exit. Pretty much all of our members are willing to take the time out to teach this skill for free. If a person shows up for several paddles without learning how to wet exit they may be disqualified from continuing. They also may be disqualified from participating in more advanced trips or depending on conditions.
Whenever my wife or I lead trips, after the on shore briefing when we gather on the water prior to staring out we always ask if everyone has their grab loops out, even when the group is highly experienced.
New kayak & new, tight skirt this year. I made it a point to practice popping the skirt by squeezing/pulling at my hips just in case. First did it upright before I did a full wet exit. The loop was out and I was with a group just in case of failure.
I had a great pool session today. I’m tired. This is hard work. I had 4 flips and 3 successful re-entries. I was tired on the 4th and made 2 attempts, both failed. I did it tired on purpose figuring it would show things I need to work on. I have a lot of video to process, it might take a few days. But #1 I learned a lot. #2 I have more to learn. #3 you guys were so right to leave the skirt at home! #4 the friends dogs were unhappy since they wanted to be in the pool with me!
Glad to learn I’m not the only one who finds it can get tiring after a few practice runs.
The biggest problem I had with my Fathom was keeping the paddle in place. With the Prana it’s not an issue because of its wonderful completely flat back deck and centered day hatch with strong bungees/deck lines on both sides.