Paddle Float Stirrup design

Does anyone have any photos and specs for a paddle float stirrup? I want to make one but need to know how long it should be, best rope for the job, etc. Any ideas welcome.

All depends
on how you use it. If you are going to cinch it and pass it under your hull you will need about 15 feet. If you have rear deck bungies or straps and are going to use a coaming wrap you will need less. Some commercially made slings use a buckle for adjustment, something you could make yourself. As for materials, some like rope (5 or 7 mm climbing cord) some like polypro solid braid rope, some like flat webbing. Nylon webbing is way stronger than you need, but is comfortable to use. Of course, it will sink when saturated. If you want a picture, try the Northwater site.


See this article
Paddler magazine online had an article a while ago that offers some ideas:

But you can also use tubular nylon webbing (I think what I used is 5/8" wide), and just sew the ends or knot them together. If you have access to a heavy duty sewing machine, you can make a “step” of sorts by doubling up the webbing for 6" and sewing through all layers. I’ve never HAD to use this sling, but I’ve tried it, and it works like a charm.

Lots of people will say that if you learn proper re-entry techniques, you don’t need a sling. They’re probably right in most cases. But a few yards of tubular nylon weighs little enough and takes up little enough space that I’m just as happy to carry it along for the day when I’m tired enough and the conditions are challenging enough that I need it, or someone else does.

Dislocate a shoulder or
deal with a paddler having such trouble or with a bad strength/weight ratio and technique and you’ll be glad of the stirrup. Yes some of us can use a scoop rescue but then you have to pump the boat out. No fun, especially if the other paddler is having big trouble and you do not have a third.

I’m one of the people…

– Last Updated: May-27-04 7:56 AM EST –

...who preaches technique over bandaid equipment. Stirrups are a bad idea for a lot of reasons, the chief of which is that they require people to use the worst possible re-entry technique, coming straight up out of the water. Whether the sling is wrapped around your paddle or not, it still puts far more stress on the paddle when you haul yourself out of the water this way. Slings don't work well in rough water, as they're hard to control. They are an entanglement hazard. Etc, etc.

A better technique is one that a friend of mine uses. She sets up a standard paddle float system and positions herself as if she was going to use the standard re-entry technique. However, rather than just pulling herself across the aft deck, she hooks her near leg into the cockpit, then pulls herself up on the deck using both arms and the one leg. This does put somewhat more weight on the paddle than the standard technique, but it's not as bad as using a stirrup. Most importantly, it doesn't require any more gear than a standard paddle float rescue and can be done with the deck rigging or by holding the paddle against the coaming.

I agree about technique being better—
but, have you ever tried to re-enter your boat with only one arm? If you were to ever dislocate a shoulder, a sling would give you another option.

It’s also a good idea to carry one in case another paddler in your group can’t get into their boat easily. Sure better technique would be great, but if it’s not there, the sling offers another alternative.

If the the sling is used around the cockpit of a boat, there is no weight being placed on the paddle. It can be very easily used with an assisted rescue.

Don’t dismiss it completely, it’s just another tool to carry in your bag of tricks.

I’d like to see photos
of someone using a sling to reenter a kayak- you never know when I might need one of those due to my shoulders…

prioritzing it,not dismissing it
I’ve been carrying a looped piece of 1/4" poly line forever now but it’s been used as emergency roof tie down a lot. I really don’t think someone with a dislocated shoulder is getting back in their kayak unassisted.

I’m with Brian on this,you have to do rescues a lot to be good at them,most of the time I see someone asking about slings its someone who hasn’t practices rescues much and they’re looking for solutions on something as basic as getting on the back deck since they’ve done it 6times and are having problems. Or they took one class and it was hard.

How would you set up a paddle float…

– Last Updated: May-30-04 9:04 AM EST –

...with only one arm? The sling won't do you much good without the paddle float setup. For that matter, how would you set up the sling? Remember, you're probably going to be in rough conditions and in a lot of pain.

Realistically, self rescue is going to be nearly impossible with one arm, unless you can do a re-enter and armpit roll. Even then, how are you going to remain stable in the type of conditions that would be likely to cause such an injury?

At that point, your best bet is a VHF radio and a call for help. Better yet, don't paddle alone.

What if's are great, but you have to look at the total picture.

Check out University of Sea Kayaking’s
web site— The “skill of the month” is a paddlefloat/sling solo re-entry with photo’s.

It can also be used during assisted rescues for those who can’t get up on their back decks with their arms only.

I agree
that trying to do any type of paddlefloat rescue with one arm is going to be difficult if not impossible.

However, if the paddler with a dislocated shoulder is paddling with others, a sling can be looped around the combing of either boat during an assisted T rescue. This will allow the use of leg muscles instead of that non-working arm.

If the paddler is heavy or large, a scoop rescue may not be possible. Even with good technique, it is possible to just not be strong enough to “scoop” such a paddler.

I don’t think the stirrup is the best rescue device, but I carry one in my day hatch “just in case.”

It’s just another option - and IMHO, the more options you have, the better the chance for a successful recovery.

Hey, learn a reliable roll and
you may never have to deal with this issue.

also make sure you never break anything
arms or legs or become hurt so you cant do that bombproof roll. Or be Maliq who can do about forty different rolls in all conditions, most designed for any potential injury.

The more knowledge you have the better off you are. The need to roll shows you made an error.

I’ll be trying it
The group I train with is scheduled to work on stirrup recovery on Tuesday night. I’ll report back on how it goes.