Solo Re-Entry from Roll-Over?

I have a Cobra Expedition SOT. I have trained on roll-overs when kayaking with a buddy but not solo. What is the best unassisted SOT re-entry from a roll-over and why? What’s the step-by-step?

Thanks in advance.

Beauty Of SOT…

– Last Updated: Dec-19-05 5:59 AM EST –

is the relative ease of re-entry compared to a SINK (sit inside kayak). A SINK usually fills with water and makes it more unstable for an entry. Therefore on a solo entry, most folks resort to a paddle float to help stablize the kayak and the paddle loom as interim "step" for one leg to get up higher out of the water and then to scamper from there onto the deck and into the cockpit.

SOT's don't take on water. So, once you boat is flipped back over, you want to grab the thigh strap and perhaps the seat strap furtherest away from you (on the other side), or some feature near the center of the boat if that's as far as you can reach. You're basically right next to your cockpit area (SINKers re-enter behind the seat). What you want to do is to "swim", by kicking your legs, back onto the boat. Keep your upper body low and thus the center of gravity low to not re flip the boat. If you can't do this in practice, you may need to get a paddle float and install some straps behind the seat area so you can do a paddle float re entry like SINKers.

Have dealt with your paddle. Some folks leash the paddle to SOT. So if you flip, you need to hang onto your boat to not lose either paddle or boat. If you don't use a leash, learn to flip and exit without loosing hold of both the paddle and boat. Very important in wind and waves because losing either boat or paddle can be very unfortunate (you can also rig straps to keep a spare paddle on the back deck). If you're not using a paddle leash, then you have to stow your paddle safetly in the straps before making a reentry.

Practice your reentries a lot to make it second nature and fast. Again, make sure to keep you center low. This becomes increasingly critical as the water is more textured. Also, with thigh straps, you can actually roll that SOT. But, rolling an SOT is harder than rolling a narrower SINK. So, you may want to take lessons in a SINK to learn. One of the attractions of the SOT for some people is that they can afford to not learn to roll because of the greater ease of reentry for this type of craft.


Look on Ocean Kayak Website

– Last Updated: Dec-19-05 9:55 AM EST –

there is a link for beginners and pictures and instruction for getting back in.

Here's the link

Check out the advice at the website, it's good.

Good Link…

– Last Updated: Dec-19-05 11:11 AM EST –

though I disagree or would caution against the high posture of the last pic. That works on flat water but not so well in textured. I would be pretty flat to deck and then sort of roll over onto my butt while maintaining a low upper body.

But, then, again, I am doing this on a much, much tippier waveski. The technique for me is slightly different in that I grap a footstrap and a rail, swim myself on, face the front, straddle my leg over the back hump and then slowly and carefully sit up in between waves and quickly strap on.


Another link

– Last Updated: Dec-19-05 4:11 PM EST –

… and info on other devices

– Last Updated: Dec-19-05 4:11 PM EST –

... like paddle floats and stirrups:

Depends on the SOT
I own a SOT which is best remounted from directly behind the stern. It has two shallow indentations for my fingers and a very low, flat stern “deck”. I put hands there, push down on the stern, and lunge/slide forward on my belly. Then I sit up straddling the kayak and move into the normal paddling position.

The above-described rear remount will not be doable with a ruddered SOT.

Some kayaks will be more easily remounted from the side. Best thing is for you to read the suggested links and other info, and experiment in a pool or other safe place, to find out what works well for you and your SOT. Maybe you can remount easily from either rear or side.

1 - Your capabilities

2 - Boat configuration

3 - Water conditions

4 - Your gear

5 - Your experience

I’m fairly fit, and coordinated enough to get by. I use a technique similar to that shown on the OK site. But here’s what I consider a better all-round reentry approach (a la Sing’s observation of a high center of mass in a somewhat unstable position leading to more attempts at perfecting your technique if you’re doing in a chop :slight_smile:

  1. Use your PFD (You ARE wearing your PFD, right?) to a) cushion the rubbing and b) add a little buoyancy

  2. Determine which is your strongest upper body “side” -then try and approach your yak with that side of you on the bow side of the boat.

  3. Hold the boat with your weaker side’s hand about at where your knees would be, take a big breath, slightly submerge, and then kick hard and rise up as quickly as you can still holding the boat.

  4. Reach across the hull and pull yourself across AT THE SAME TIME you KICK HARD again as you “launch” yourself across the seat area, using your stronger side to reach across and grip the far gunwale and you other hand to assist.

    You may slightly tip boat towards yourself during this maneuver -that’s OK as long as you slide across -the boat will settle down.

  5. Hanging on to the far side, roll over, Beethoven! Turn so that you rotate towards the bow -you’ll be lying face up, now, with your mid- to lower back in the seat area…

    Keep low -keep your back, shoulders, and head down.

  6. Turn yourself -slowly if need be -to align with the boat’s axis -legs towards bow, lifting leading leg low over and across the boat so that when you’ve completed the maneuver, you’re straddling it, more or less lying on your back.

  7. Scoot back into the seat, bracing yourself on your arms as you rise up, legs on either side of the boat.

  8. Voila -you’ve successfully remounted!

    Because I usually carry a basket in the stern tankwell a dry jar and dry bag and perhaps a cooler bungeed in when I’m using the Scupper Pro SOT, a rear entry is out of the question.

    So is throwing a leg over the stern, still face down from your initial swim/vault onto the yak, because of the height of the equipment. I’m not nearly that limber any more!

    However, on my frequent dumps of my Knysna Isthmus, that is exactly what I do -sort of an “American Indian pony mount”: Jump the yak, grab on, throw leg over stern keeping body low and in contact with the boat, lean forward, slide back so butt’s even with seat, slowly sit up…

    For some folks, particularly those who lack the upper body strength to pull themselves ‘up & across’ -and BTW, it’s mostly the quick & powerful leg scissors kick & swim technique, and NOT really arm strength, actually -a step strap or stirrup as Greyak noted will aid in getting the paddler into position. For these folks I would particularly encourage always wearing your PFD: it decreases your body weight, and therefore increases your strength, by giving you lift and decreasing the mass you need to move.

    Then there’s the whole issue of the paddle…

    To leash or not to leash, that is the SOT question. I usually don’t. I try to make sure newbies do, because they’re first reaction to a spill is to shout and let go and thrash. Only problem with that is entanglement –but I don’t take newbies out into surf or choppy conditions, so that’s minimized. As for me, even my heavy paddles will float for a couple of minutes –long enough for me to get it in most conditions. But these days, I usually just hang on the paddle –it comes naturally -because of my fairly regular Isthmus experiences, I think –LOL!

    I strongly suggest you try this first in summer in tolerable and flattish water to get the basics down.

    Then I’d suggest doing it in the same summer conditions but in agitated water to see if you can handle choppy water -perhaps, other then the Gales of November -the more difficult water to remount in. Swells aren’t as bad as a rock-n-roll action brought on by a 2-3’ chop. Try, if you can, to position the boat bow-on to the chop -boarding in a beam chop is more difficult -and it might be the reason you’re re-mounting to begin with!

    Then try it with your boat AND yourself typically configures for your water play: Fishing gear? Diving gear? Wetsuit? Photo equipment? Put it all together and THEN give it a go, and work at it until you’re comfortable doing it, even if it, itself, is uncomfortable to DO all encumbered with gear.

    Because that’s precisely the time when our friend Murphy shows up, tickles you, and at the same time gives the boat a twitch, and you find yourself in the water, needing to remount under these circumstances, so that you can continue to


    -Frank in Miami

Just for reference
A Cobra Expedition was the very first kayak I paddled, in something like the aforementioned 2-3’ chop (in 80 degree water). I dumped it, took a few tries to get back in, but managed it without too much trouble. I’m in reasonably decent shape for a sedentary office type but nobody’s idea of a great athlete. With a little practice and clothing suitable for immersion, you should be fine if you dump.