How many times have you wet exited?

-- Last Updated: Apr-11-07 9:58 AM EST --

I'm curious how many times paddlers have actually wet exited in their paddling careers for real. I did once from stupidity.

I was practicing rolling many years back and my paddle got caught in the mud. So I decided I would hand paddle in to shallow water so I could push off the bottom and try hand rolling. Never made it. Plus... I had a spare on the back deck I could have easily used.

probably half a dozen times…
Year 1 - Wet exited twice on my 2nd and 3rd whitewater runs ever prior to learning how to combat roll. Also wet exited a couple times when I was learning how to surf a sea kayak and got pitchpoled (again no combat roll).

Year 2 - Got stuck in an extremely sticky hole in whitewater that refused to let me and my boat go. Swam out after about 8 rolls to see the boat still surfing in the hole upside down. I also wet exited in my sea kayak that year practicing balance bracing. I was so comfortable that I fell asleep and my paddle drifted away from me. I didn’t have a sea kayak handroll at the time so I swam out.

Year 3 to current - No wetexits so far but since I’m paddling increasingly tougher whitewater it’s only a matter of time!

I thought that was Inuit folklore
"practicing balance bracing. I was so comfortable that I fell asleep and my paddle drifted away from me."

You expect me to believe this? ;-).

Paul S.

First time in the surf.
First year, first wave I surfed, few weeks ago. Neglected to edge into the wave after the broach. Slapped down. GP flew out of my hand. Pressed against the sand. Didn’t occur to me to pull my storm paddle and roll up, since I was pressed against the sand and not hanging upside down in deep water, and in all the havoc, even though I’ve done it at least 200 times in flat water, mostly failing norsaq and hand rolls.

Wet exited and stood up. Was thoroughly annoyed with myself for the lack of concentration.

Paul S.

About a 1000x before I had a roll.

Not as often as one of the other guys I
Not as often as one of the other guys I paddle with, but last year alone, I pulled the skirt three or four times. Once when I was demonstrating rolling. :slight_smile:

Once on a whitewater run. I landed a six foot waterfall drop perfectly, which surprised me. I flipped, forgot to brace, opened my eyes and looked at all the pretty bubbles in the water, dropped my paddle and swam. This one was captured on video. :slight_smile:

Then a couple times surfing.

And once launching through the surf when a big dumper dumped right on my face.

Many times during rolling practice but only once for real. I was adjusting my seat with my paddle in the paddle park; went right over like that trike rider on Laugh In( if you are old enough to remember that TV show).


First thing this morning
I hate it when people call when you’re in the shower.

I took “for real” in the OP to mean
not counting during a practice rolling sessions, for example. I’m sure I wet exited a few times during some early bracing and rolling sessions.

Paul S.

A few times
Once got sucked out of the boat while setting for a roll. Once cause I was really disoriented because a glasses lens fell out. A few times in whitewater the last being 2 months ago because I dislocated my shoulder.

Lost count a long time ago

– Last Updated: Apr-12-07 8:26 AM EST –

Most of them were in the (long) process of getting a roll.
If you mean just out in regular paddling conditions and didn't mean to capsize let alone have to wet exit - numerous times in the surf off the Narrows, once in the tidal races at Wood's Hole and I think a couple of times in flatter conditions. One was after a dive to grab my goggles that had come off my deck - did think to strip the GP but once I had it I was kinda out of hands to be able to securely use it.

I don’t keep track
but it has been a fair amount. It isn’t something anyone should be too worried about (the number of times you swim). Obviously if you are swimming because you are in conditions beyond your ability to stay up right that is a concern. Otherwise it is great feedback - I wanted to roll and didn’t, now I know something I need to work on.

5 times
All in whitewater.

Last time was three years ago in the last big rapid on the Rapid River in Maine. Epic hole, epic swim. Followed my boat through a quarter mile of washboard rapid. Lost a teva samdal, broke my tailbone (but didn’t discover this fact until I sat down on the hard bench at Sunday River Brew Pub). After running two more rapids and carrying up to the take-out road, ran into this girl who looked down at my one bare foot, and said “Is this your sandal?” holding up the traitorous footwear. Sweet!

Don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but I ran whitewater for 6 years without ever swimming. Then I got married.


a beach roll count? (getting out of Ocean cockpit, with bad timming)

Best Wishes



– Last Updated: Apr-11-07 3:08 PM EST –

I've done it several times, in _keyhole_ cockpits that are short enough that I have to go feet in first, out last. In the beginning, my face would be the color of your user name.

Now I'm practicing getting in and out without any brace assistance. More about balance than wave timing. I just tell people that I'm practicing, and expect to fail sometimes. No more "dear in the head lights" look when I fail. I just fall in the water, sometimes slap the water with my hand, feigning frustration, grin and get up and go again.

Good one though,

Paul S.

Ouch! That sucks!

Wet exits…
Hey Jay,

I’ve only wet exited while teaching myself to roll. I’ve never had to wet exit in a real situation. I’ve never capsized unless I did it on purpose for a roll. Now that I said that, I’ll probably capsize a dozen times next time I go out!

Are you going to the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival? I’d love to try out your Outer Island.

Pedro Almeida

Many, Many, Many
Too many! But not in quite awhile.

Many - many times. If you aint swimming - you aint learning. I was told there were two kinds of paddlers. Those who swam recently and those who will be swimming soon. I would add, “those who lie about not swimming”. The last time I swam (sorta) was back during last winter. I was paddling with a group and was showing a stunt to a guy who is a far better paddler than me. On Big Piney there’s a spot where a row of trees extend from the slot you run on river left, all the way across to river right. Each tree has a small eddy behind it and the object of the exercise is to build a lot of speed as you enter the slot on the left and slingshot around the first tree on the right and do a one stroke high speed ferry across to a rock near the bank on river right. This time the water was a little too low and I hit a rock on my off side with the boat already leaned to my off side and over I went. I was laying there on my left side with my shoulder resting on the bottom of the creek. My head didn’t even get wet. I looked up at my buddy. He wasn’t laughing, but he did have a s#*@ eating grin on his face. I asked him if it counted as a swim if you get out of you boat and don’t get your head wet. Yep, that’s a swim all right says he. I’m headed for Colorado in June. I’ll swim again. Somewhere there is a sticky hole with my name on it.

Like Some Others
Many times during roll practice. Only once for real. Just like Aqua Man it was the first time I surfed a big wave. I had no idea what I was doing and broached.