Re-entry & Roll

I have finally gotten around to practicing the re-entry and roll. For those who practice this technique often I am curious about the skirt aspect. I have not yet put the skirt on underwater and I wonder how much of an advantage that will be? I would think that the degree of advantage would vary with boat, loading, and conditions. Thanks.

Don’t bother with the skirt
While it certainly possible to do the “classic” inverted re-enter and roll, it’s not very practical in most conditions that would have caused you to wet exit in the first place. A side entry that doesn’t require inversion or attaching the spray skirt is faster and easier. It also requires less immersion, which is an important consideration in cold water. If you do a paddle float assisted reenter and roll, you can even keep your head above water.

Either method is going to require pumping out the cockpit, regardless what the books tell you, so be prepared for an unstable boat once you get back in.

Paddle float side entry?

– Last Updated: Jul-25-14 11:47 AM EST –

I have never tried a paddle-float side entry. Is there a Youtube of this? Thanks.


I see this...

I don't see the advantage of the paddle float.

leave skirt off
I leave the skirt off. Takes enough time to get myself set up with the boat upside down, can’t imagine also finding the time to skirt up. Just roll up and drain later.

was just going to post that very video
(delete the ‘S’ from ‘https’ to make it a live link, otherwise you have to paste it to your browser)

This is basically how I do my side R&R. It’s fun trying to see how fast you can get back in and upright. I like this video because it shows an example in the pool and also in conditions.

Depends on skirt?
Maybe with a rubber-rand skirt it would be quick enough but my skirt is always a battle anyway. There would have to be a significant advantage.

Not sure how
Not sure how you can get your skirt back on and keep a good hold of the paddle too while upside down in water. Then the hard part is to keep yourself upright with a boat full of water and then pump it out. Another reason I have an electric bilge pump.

After R&R, take a Dump

– Last Updated: Jul-25-14 2:56 PM EST –

The dump, is a quick way to empty the kayak after a R&R. We practice this a few times a year, during pool sessions, and sporadically through out the year. It is very easy, if you have a good roll.

thx for posting that

Not Me
I never even considered putting it on until upright. I’ll add this: I don’t try to grab the boat and the paddle at the same time. I wedge the paddle under the bungies and retrieve it while upside down. Using a GP probably makes this easier than when using a spoon shape; or worse a feathered spoon shape.

The Dump
Oh, I had seen that video before but forgot about it. I want to try that!!! Yes!!!

if you’ve ever compared them side-to-side.

I Sorta Did
A good while back I swam and had to do a re-enter and roll. I had a GP with me and a Euro paddle. I started thinking about rolling up with the Euro:

“Let’s see, this end should be in my right hand and the power face goes this way and if I’m upside down the left side becomes the right…”


“Ken, will you hold this Euro? I’m rolling up with the Greenland paddle.”

The bungie situation wasn’t the real issue. It was the asymmetry that was messing with my mind.

I just tuck the paddle under my arm
and skip the skirt until I am upright.

I have practiced this often enough that placing the paddle and having it properly oriented are automatic. Here is a secret for using a euroblade… it doesn’t matter if it is upside down or backwards :wink:

Optimal use of the paddle float
I can understand why you didn’t see an advantage to the paddle float, as they didn’t use it optimally. The way they show it is only advantageous for paddlers who don’t know how to roll and need the paddle float in order to get upright.

Here’s the optimum method: Once you have the paddle float in place and inflated, put that end of the paddle under your arm. That provides enough buoyancy that you never have to completely submerge in order to re-enter the boat.

That said, taking the extra time and exposing yourself to the increased risk of losing control of your boat in order to install the paddle float would not be advisable in rough conditions. In that case, the first method shown is better unless you have no alternative method of re-entry.

Only someone who uses a GP exclusively could find a challenge to aligning a euro paddle for a roll. It’s down to second nature for me and has been for as long as I can recall.

spay skirt clamps
I made myself some spray skirt clamps because I found it very difficult to re-entry, put the spray skirt on, pump the water and keep the kayak with the bow in the waves. Without the spray skirt closed the kayak made more water than I could pump out. It was a very exhausting experience (70 + Brigade :wink: ). But now I used the clamps on two occasions with good results. The clamps are wrapped around the hand pump when not in use and the hand pump is attached to the front deck inside the kayak just in front of the cockpit.

R & R article
I have an article on my site:

Two things: You certainly don’t need a paddle float if your roll is good.

I showed it because people who can’t roll can actually do it with the paddle float.

2. You can enter the boat with the kayak on it’s side as I showed. You don’t have to flip upside down. This way you have plenty of air until the last period when you body weight pulls you over. It’s a fairly easy method of entering.

Clamps or pre-formed lip
Since I was refurbishing my old skirt I went ahead and cut an experimental hole in it for the pump. I am using a plastic disk as a plug. I would also like to modify that skirt with something that would pre-form it to the coaming or do something to make installation quicker and more certain. Maybe something like your clamp idea could work for that.

Two Words: Foot Pump :slight_smile:
Not that I have one, but a pump makes a lot of sense in situations where having the skirt off lets more water in than one can pump even if they had the balance to pump.

On the other hand, pretty much the only time I’d be swimming would be in surf play or the like. In these situations, I’d just get, put the skirt on with water in the cockpit, paddle away from the surf zone, then empty in relative calm.

The pump is a good idea if you are in a situation where you don’t want or can’t free your hands to pump.