Frozen Float

Was out on the Hudson yesterday. Had a little time so I figured I’d get 5 or 6 miles in before the sun got too low in the sky. Didn’t really matter for there wasn’t a whole lot of heat in the weak rays filtering through the clouds. Noticed something though. As I was stripping my gear off the kayak, gettin ice out of zippers and off my hat, noticed that the tightly rolled paddle float not only had a coating of ice but also was frozen from the inside quite tightly rolled up. Wondered if I had to use this if it would have impeded progress once in the water. I have a very solid roll and conditions were very calm but made me think, “huh, I wonder?”. Anyone tried a reentry with a frozen paddle float? This was a Wildwasser Multi-Float, btw.

See you on the water,


Best to pre-inflate
I carry a solid float in icy weather, but folks with inflatables usually blow theirs up and stow them on deck for safety’s sake. Cheers!

Precisely why I
switch to a homemade minicell float in the winter season.

Easy to make and fit one’s paddle blade better than the off-the-shelf products.

I like a bit less volume than the mass produced foam floats, easier to store. The size will, of course, be dependent upon the amount of bouyancy one desires.

Pleasant waters to ya.


If I were paddling any distance from…
shore in cold water I would want a solid paddle float.

We almost got them for our Alaska trip and should have, but didn’t.

You know the old saying: “Do as I say, not as I do” !

I wouldn’t worry about not getting in blown up in time. I would worry about the extra few seconds it would take.



of course with good immersion

– Last Updated: Dec-09-05 12:48 PM EST –

protection the few extra seconds are not such a big deal.

I try to store my paddle floats empty of water. Immerson of the float would quickly melt off any surface ice.

Hmm....Maybe I'll pack that foam float on the back deck

I don’t have what you would…
consider “good immersion” equipment.

I use a two piece dry suit when I am in frigid water, so yes the seconds would count for me.



What size did you make it?
And did you test it out in the water to see if it had adequate buoyancy?

I would like to make one for winter paddling. Actually, even in warm water, the slowest part of paddle-float re-entry is blowing up the float.

My float measures
17.5" x 9" x 2". This float is tailored to my Corryvrecken blade. The slab sides are 3/4" foam separated by 1/2" x 1/2" foam side spacers.

The float works great for me as my boats are easy to re-enter and I’m a skinny kid. For a friend, I made a float that was larger in both dimensions and used 1" foam for the slabs. She has to work harder to get in her boat as her decks are nosebleed height.

Here’s a link that illustrates the construction:

I deviated by not lacing the perimetre of my float. I glued the assembly with good old Weldwood adhesive and its not coming apart! Gave all the edges a soft bevel so retrieval is snag free.

I really like these floats even for summer use as you mentioned. Great for outrigger set-up when using the camera or grabbing a bite. I also like the fact that I can paddle with the float in place instead of having to remove it after re-entry before paddling on and past whatever caused me to need the damned thing!

I still carry an inflatible simply in case a fellow paddler needs it and they take so little room.

BTW, I’m iced out now… how about you?


what do you consider your 2 piece suit?
I have a 2 piece drysuit and I definitely consider it excellent immersion protection. I would have no problems taking my suit for a swim in freezing water.

Iced out already
Last week there was no ice. Now it’s all ice. Usually the process is much more gradual, and we get to paddle in partly-iced water for a few weeks before the long winter shutdown.

The freakin’ authorities closed the reservoir already. After the next few days, which are supposed to be “seasonal,” I’ll find out if it’s possible to paddle at some of the smaller ponds around.

I really, really didn’t want to have to make that drive to Pueblo so early in the winter.

I think you are missing the gist of…
my post. I didn’t say I don’t consider the two piece suit adequate, but from a lot of the posts that I read, a lot of other paddlers would only use a one piece one and don’t consider it adequate.

I personaly don’t even wear the dry suit in cold water unless I am going to be a distance of more than a couple of hundred feet from shore. it is way to uncomfortable for me.



get it wet!
If you were in the water and you dunked the float I bet it would defrost fairly quickly. Next time you’re out dunk the float and see how long it takes to thaw out.

Ah back on topic
Thank you Michael.

Was wondering just how far afield this thread was going to wander.

Good suggestion.

See you on the water (after I’m done shovelling out from the snow),


for my life, good immersion equipment

– Last Updated: Dec-09-05 1:46 PM EST –

lets you swim in reasonable COMFORT (not mere functionality) for an absolute minimum of five minutes. More like 15 to speak my real opinion. Ant that would be minimal to me (a sea kayaker of sorts).

Your definition of immersion protection differs (of course). Things go with things. you often advocate use of much less immersion protection that I do, thus you need to have more concern about paddle float inflation time. While anybody would want to get out fast, some need to get out faster than others.

BTW there is a huge difference between a double-skirted dry top mated to a dry bib, and a dry top and dry pants being worn simultaneously. (Not saying this for you, who know this, but for any confused newbies.)


– Last Updated: Dec-09-05 1:33 PM EST –

the miracle stuff that is the answer to about 70% of the kayaking problems... I'm kind of serious about that.

I made a small minicell foam float for my GP, about 12"x4"x1.5"(deep). That was enough to get me back up on a paddle float scramble back into the cockpit on flat water. Probably won't work in rough seas but than just that tad bit of bouyancy is enough to brace me back up with ease on reentry and roll.