Emergency air

-- Last Updated: May-22-06 10:05 PM EST --

Another recent thread got me thinking...for us less than adequate kayakers who may never master rolling, who may get into weather we should have not gotten into and may flip over...how do we protect ourselves. Here is what I found:



I Don’t Understand?
Certainly there are a lot of paddlers who don’t roll and some that do who miss a roll. However, if capsized and you don’t roll it does not take many seconds to do a wet exit. What is the spare air for?


What’s so hard about, GET OUT OF THE BOAT?

You still have to do a re-entry
in conditions that caused the capsize in the first place.

Problem with “spare air” is that in order to get it filled, you need to be SCUBA certified.

Other alternatives would be to use something like a BackUp Rollaid device or scull up for some air and try another roll.

Prefer the BackUp
I think it’s less fussy to use and serves the same population. If you can’t at least attempt a roll, there’s no reason to stay in the boat long enough to need extra air anyway. At the point that you can do that, the BackUp device will get you up and is pretty easy to use. And as another poster mentioned, within a foreseeable time frame of being close enough to a roll for the BackUp device to be really useful you probably will be able to scull up.

thought and thought and thought
about why…its a one in a million…you roll upside down and get caught on something…maybe just maybe then spairair would allow some breathing while you get the knife off you pfd and begin cutting

Hidden Loop & Popping The Skirt
If the loop is inside the cockpit, you can pop the skirt either pulling the bungee rand, or pinching the neoprene, from the side of the coaming to pop the skirt. If your keyhole cockpit is big enough, you can bring your knees towards the middle and push against the skirt to pop it.

Practice these manuevers and you’ll not worry about spare air because of entrapment by the skirt. Of course, no one has anything around the feet area to cause entrapment, right?


Be prepared
for anything whats so hard to understand? In case you need the air stuck in a strainer ,stuck in the falls whatever you might hazard your way into…

It is for entrapment
Although I would never get one, there have been cases where it would have saved a life of a WW paddler that has been trapped in a hydraulic or other underwater trap, by allowing the extra life saving breaths that are needed.

Most sea kayakers that roll but have never been in a WW river think that rolling is the answer to any mishap, but all the rolling in the world won’t get you out of a class V or VI hydraulic.

If you are an extreme WW boater, this would be a good item to think about.




– Last Updated: May-23-06 6:42 AM EST –

My personal opinion is this is best done by skills development, experience and judgement of the condiitons.

I am not a big believer that reliance on equipment will make up for the above.

The original poster talked of a person who doesn't have a roll. Such a person should not be on waters (white water) where there is serious possibility of being pinned or stuck in a strainer. In any other conditions, s/he should be able to get out of a boat in a capsize, provided care is taken not to have things in the foot area that would cause entrapment.

But, feel free to buy what you want if you think it's gonna help you for whatever contingency you have mind. :)


Yep, You Are Right Jack
I was thinking about open water kayaking and did not consider WW kayaking. I don’t view rolling as an answer to everything, just one of the many things in the quiver. In my mind a wet water exit is more important to be able to do in a capsize than anything else.


An “Extreme” Kayaker Would Have A
roll and not rely on spare air when he goes over and hopes someone will get over to give him/her a bow rescue.

Pinning is a real strong possiblity in upper level class runs and creekin’. However, most of these folks rely on their skills and judgement. I am sure some folks use “spare air” but I personally don’t know any upper level paddlers who use it. Rather, they scout and try to avoid pinning obstacles. Reading accounts of folks who died from pinning, often the rescuers spent hours to free the victim. Way beyond the “window” of survivial that would be provided 6-8 breaths.


No doubt there is a case or so somewhere in the annals of kayaking, sea or WW, where something like the spare air device would have made a critical difference. Taken at large very odd things happen.

But I am also concerned about the implication in the original post that the spare device could be used to make up for the lack of any other alternative like a roll or sculling or a well-practiced wet exit able to handle unforeseen problems. No device should ever be relied on that way.

I agree completely
I was just explaining where it could save a life.

The Extreme kayakers would not use it since they live on the edge anyway.