Renaming Techniques?

Is it just me, or do magazines seem to be recycling rescues and giving them new names and re introducing them through new articles?

I’ve seen so many ‘variations’ of the ‘Eskimo Rescue’, and variations of the scoop, and Hand of God…in numerous articles…but they all still look like the basic rescue technique I was shown on a course.


Whatever they are called learn them and practice them often. We have return students and when we ask them what they want to practice most will say rescues. Vaughn Fulton

yes I understand that
which is why I have used several different methods of the same reentry to put swimmers back in their boats. My question is, does anyone else look through a magazine to see techniques that are taught, and not recognize the name of what they are teaching, but recognize it as a skill or technique that you have used or were shown before? By a different name. Or differences in Paddle Canada vs BCU vs ACA?

I first heard of the recently mentioned leg hook as the rolly-polly, have heard WW folks name the Eskimo rescue/bow presentation something else (makes sense tho’ since Inuits probably didn’t hunt seals in Jackson Fun boats) and the bit of dropping the stern down so someone can climb up from the back of the boat seems to have several names. Also unclear what the critical diff is between what most people actually do as a Scramble rescue and a Cowboy, that kind of thing.

I don’t think it’s a BCU or ACA or other thing, just a general result of a seeming increase in paddle sports. It probably is a pain for people taking trips out if their routine involves a check to make sure what everyone can do - going to need a synonym book soon.

Combined name
The name I was taught was “Cowboy Scramble” which covers both options.

I always thought
the scramble happened over the cockpit and the cowboy was at the stern, but does it really matter?

I have also heard it called the John Wayne, but usually by people who paddle kayaks with rudders and catch the rudder in the wrong place during the rescue (makes you walk like Mr. Wayne I guess).

When teaching a beginners class I sometimes skip the names or let the students come up with names. After they have the strokes down they can memorize all of the name variations later.

When it comes to stroke blending the names can get blended as well and who know what you will come up with.

Scarmble and Cowboy

– Last Updated: Nov-14-07 4:54 PM EST –

My understanding of the textbook definition, if there is one, is also that it was defined by whether the re-entry was at the stern of the boat or predominantly on the side. Cowboy also involves throwing a leg over and sliding up, basically getting on top of the boat in one big move, yes?

But when someone is actually in the water and doing a re-entry, I've seen the terms seem to mix up more.

I suspect that this is partly because so many of our paddling companions have Brit style sea kayaks. And maybe those those elf shoe pointy ends are as dangerous as a rudder...

Less silly, for a shorter person like me the Cowboy requires some scrambling because my leg isn't long enough to really throw over the boat in a smooth move. The times I do manage one of thse, good luck figuring out exactly which it was.

Also, short tow vs contact tow
The way I understand those terms is…

Short tow – towing with a short line attached to a foredeck perimeter line. The short line is also called a “short tow”.

Contact tow – towing with only body-to-boat contact, no tow lines; for example, the towee faces you and leans over on your foredeck, perhaps grabbing perimeter lines, while you paddle her/him out of trouble.

I often hear the term “contact tow” used to describe towing with a short line as well as the short line itself. If you consider it just inconsequential variations in terminology, that’s fine. But then what do you call a lineless, body-to-boat tow?


Funny stuff

– Last Updated: Nov-14-07 6:26 PM EST –

Told this story before here, but I think it applies again. Two friends at Christmas party - both ex-Olympian paddlers, champions etc.. Novice decides to ask them about rolling and which roll they prefer. Out from his enthusiastic mouth came the terms and acronyms describing different rolls he'd read about etc.,
Two friends looked at each other and then me and shrugged in complete confusion. "What's he saying?" They genuinely had no idea and graciously said they simply roll up from whatever position they needed to via paddle / hip / head / body motion. Didn't even know how to label rolls and were authentically baffled by all the names etc.

Recently went for a little paddle with my pal who coached Olympic slalom and another friend who is really having fun with his BCU learnings, assesments etc. Slalom friend was having some fun with him about duffecks etc., draws, you name it. Again, the slaom pal was amused at some of the techniques and names. Not putting it down, just amused at how complex we can make things that are to him so basic.

Another cudo's to Foster who in my mind has a great approach of experiencing how your boat behaves to different inputs. Play with things, experiment, and figure out what works best for you in your boat... How cool is that.

The point in all this for me is "who cares?"
Can you make your boat go all directions easily and safely? Can you roll when you really need to? Can you get someone in their boat fast when you need to? The rest is just word play.

I can through my leg over the kayak in a quick move but it is a real pain. If I am going for a ‘cowboy’ style rescue I go to the stern, climb on sort of like a scramble, straddle the kayak, and ‘cowboy’ my way up to the front. Although the last part looks more like a sea turtle crawling to lay eggs or a walrus with indigestion.

Speaking the same language can cut down on confusion, the problem is when we have multiple definitions for the same phrase. The other problem with jargon is that it excludes people who don’t know the terms. I even know a few people who don’t engage in conversation with others in a particular sport because they don’t want to seem foolish not knowing the ‘cool’ words. Climbers and surfers can be the most jargon oriented in my experience. And when I took up surf kayaking I had to learn a different language - surfer speak instead of kayaker speak.

Someone with separation anxiety?
Seriously - great old chestnut of a music story. Major symphony orchestra in rehearsal, and a guest conductor is describing what he wants by using all the right italian musical terms. After a while of this, one of the violin player asks for clearer direction -

Louder, softer, faster, or slower

As an amateur myself can play it better than I can talk about it, I really appreciate that story.

Well put celia