15 - How to kayak - keeping your kayak from capsizing



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High and Low Braces - Staying on top of your kayak.

Ever since the the Inuit invented the kayak, somewhere back in the mists of time, it has been absolutely essential to know how to prevent yourself from capsizing. Capsizing in a dinghy can be tricky, but in a kayak it can be downright dangerous. Apart from anything else you will probably be late home if you capsize, so if you want to get back in time for a cup of hot tea, game of partypoker or evening sitting on the deck, you'll probably not want to capsize. These simple techniques will help.





Sea Kayak High Brace
High Brace


The high brace is the same motion as a draw that is employed while you are in the process of capsizing. As you are going over, extend your paddle out to place the face of the paddle flat on the water surface. Actually smacking the surface of the water will help arrest your capsize motion. Attempt to pull the blade down through the water. Keep your elbow bent at about 90 degrees. Do not reach out too far from the side of the kayak. Doing so will increase the risk of a shoulder separation, particularly in surf. Your arm and elbow should be in line with the paddle. As you pull down on the paddle, toss your head toward the paddle and rotate your hips to rotate the kayak hull back to its stable position. Use the rest of the paddle stroke to return your body to the center line of the kayak. Leaning your body back over the rear deck of the kayak will help this recovery.

A variation of the high brace is the sweeping high brace. A combination of a sweep and a high brace, the paddle skims along the surface of the water at the same time as it is pulled down to counteract the capsize. The blade is angled slightly upward so it will not dive down as you pull down on the paddle shaft. The sweeping high brace may be performed either as a forward sweep or a back sweep. These braces are most conveniently used when you are starting or finishing some other stroke and the need for a brace arises.


Sea Kayak Sculling High Brace
Sculling High Brace


The sculling high brace is a combination of the sculling draw and a high brace. The motions are the same as the sculling draw, except with the paddle nearly parallel to the water surface. With a well developed sculling motion, you should be able to hang from this brace for a long time.





Sea Kayak Low brace
Low Brace


The low brace uses the back side of the paddle pushed down into the water to prevent a capsize. Your forearm should remain in line with the paddle's resistance. Again, head motion and opposite rotation of the hips to return the kayak hull to a stable position aids in a successful brace. The sweeping low brace is a low brace starting from the stern or bow and moving toward the other end of the kayak. The stern sweeping low brace is the most natural and quickest to deploy when the paddle blade on the side toward which you are capsizing is behind you. When the blade is in front of you, most find that the quickest natural brace is the high brace. A stern sweeping brace can be transitioned to a sweeping high brace, and vice versa, if bracing is still required at the end of a sweeping brace.
How to exit your capsized kayak...............


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EVEN THE BEST BOATERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ON THE MILDEST OF DAYS ON THE WATER. PARTICIPATION IN THIS SPORT IS A STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY SUCH ACTIVITY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EACH BOATER TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER OWN SAFETY, AND IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE DANGER LEVEL AND ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPORT.


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