In the comments of my The Paddle Float Rescue: Why is Everyone Down on It? Jeremy Vore of The Art of Paddling wrote about using the heel hook during the paddle float rescue. I’ve tried the paddle float rescue with heel hook before using Sea Kayaker’s Magazine’s version, which has an awkward start that involves stretching your arms across the paddle shaft. It also locks the paddle under two decklines which makes it hard to get out. Jeremy’s version of the heel hook paddle float rescue is much simpler, uses fewer moves and doesn’t put your arms in an awkward position (and what looks to me, puts your shoulders at risk), although it may require a bit more flexibility. Check out Jeremy’s post on his website.
Basically, the heel hook paddle float reentry works like this:
- Exit the kayak and get onto the upwind side.
- Stick your feet into the cockpit to hold the kayak while you grab your paddle float.
- Put the paddle float onto your paddle and secure it and inflate it.
- Stay about even with the cockpit and in front of the paddle shaft.
- Stick your paddle blade under the far deckline of your kayak directly behind your cockpit with the float away from the kayak and the paddle shaft perpendicular to the kayak.
- Turn towards the cockpit.
- Grab the paddle shaft and the near deckline with your aftward hand.
- Grab the coaming with your other hand.
- Put your bow-ward heel into the cockpit.
- Use your heel and leg to leverage yourself into the kayak just as you would when doing the heel hook t-rescue. You move your bow-ward hand to the other side of the coaming while you do this.
- You’ll be face down on the back deck as you put your second leg into the cockpit.
- Spin your body towards the paddle float and switch your hands on the paddle shaft while keeping your weight on the float.
- Finish the rescue as you would with the standard paddle float reentry.
This is Jeremy’s video.
The paddle float rescue with heel hook is a slick variation on the paddle float rescue. Have you tried this? Thoughts?