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Kiwi self rescue


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Still here in New Zealand and paddling a bit: Beth and I camped this past long Labour Weekend with friends and members from two local clubs. Hope to do a write up at some point, but after cleaning boats we had tea with Gerry Maire, one of the godfathers of NZ K1 racing and a long time boat designer. I paddled a prototype of his new boat last year at a kayak symposium in Whangarei and it's now in production : the Star 14. He had one on his roofrack. It's a 14' all purpose boat designed for lakes, downriver travel and the sea. Excels in rough water, excellent for surfing and is surprisingly fast (I had an easy time keeping up with 17'+ boats). Reminds one of the west coast cult boat, the Broze brothers' Mariner Coaster. The cockpit is set up sort of like a surf ski cockpit with smaller pod insert intended to increase safety with less water volume in the case of a capsize and self bailing via a venturi drain.

On his site for the boat, I was intrigued by a video of a self-rescue re-entry technique I had not seen before. Not sure how much depends on the boat and how much is just technique.


On quick inspection, there appears to be several key moves:

1. Strong kick to get shoulders above and over the cockpit.

2. On-side (left) elbow gets inboard of the cockpit rim before much weight is on it, thus putting the downward force closer to the centerline.

3. Soon after, the off-side (right) elbow pops up above (and possibly outside) the other cockpit rim, weighting it before all of the body weight hits.

4. Good timing/sequencing of the above to get the weight over the center of the boat before much weight loads the near side cockpit rim.

A couple of more points on the boat:

1. The cockpit is considerably longer than a standard sea kayak, part of Gerry's racing heritage. This makes it easier to swing the feet and legs in, but does not appear to be essential for the rescue.

2. The beam is pretty standard, about 22," so does not appear to be a major factor in the stability of the boat.

3. The chines are full and rounded, providing high primary stability and good secondary stability, but not out of the ordinary.

Can't wait to experiment this move on a standard sea kayak.


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I (kinda) agree with Lisa, in that it looks very similar to the finish of a "taco" re-entry. The vertical body position with the stiff arms elevating the body enough to drop the butt into the boat is different though. Definitely worth exploring in a pool session.

On a separate note Scott: you need to start posting trip reports about all your NZ paddling to give us cool places to add to the bucket list!



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Thanks Lisa for the link to the earlier thread: I missed that one from June.

Agree the cowgirl self-rescue is similar. The main difference is that in both the cowboy/cowgirl variations, the paddler lands first on his stomach as in the more standard cowboy rescue; the cowgirl variation involves a spin to plant his butt directly in the seat rather than straddle. In the kiwi version, the paddler goes directly to the seat without flopping on the stomach first.

Another difference is hand placement: the kiwi paddler has both hands on the sides of the cockpit, with the onside hand near the front of the cockpit. I guess the near hand placement more forward creates the room to go directly to the butt plant, skipping the flop on the stomach. In the cowgirl, both hands are behind the cockpit and the paddler lands on the rear deck.


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