Re: [baidarka] PFD's/ROLLING & GREAT BOOKS

Don and Monica Cook (
Sun, 17 May 1998 17:38:21 -0700

Date: Sun, 17 May 1998 17:38:21 -0700
From: Don and Monica Cook <>
Subject: Re: [baidarka] PFD's/ROLLING & GREAT BOOKS

Philip Wylie wrote:
> Bob Perkins wrote:
> Yesterday I was the only one actually wearing a PFD
> (we were on a fairly shallow river), two paddled without
> spray skirts, and at least two did not have spare
> paddles. We did encounter some boat wakes large enough to surf.
> People like me who don't roll get criticized all the time and I
> understand the reasons for that criticism. On the other hand, I have
> a pretty good grasp of what conditions I can handle and what I can't.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> There is so much that I have learned from people on this list
> server and wavelength (past tense). One of the finest gifts anyone
> gave me was the encouragement build a Dyson Baidarka and to have gone
> out and purchased my own copy of 'SEA-KAYAKER' DEEP TROUBLE- by Matt
> Broze
> and George Gronseth. I wish I could remember who that person was
> (probably was Kevin Whilden). The content of this book exposes the
> risks and or failure of self belief.... "I have a pretty good grasp
> of what conditions I can handle and what I can't."
> RSK (Rich) has preached the imperative of wearing a PFD under virtually
> all circumstances (a tribute to common sense and value of life) and
> advice from one whom I deem to be an accomplished kayaker.
> I am not so self confident that I can extricate my self from
> any situation. My ego would like to think so but my higher self
> says otherwise. It is ironic that someone would criticize (while
> not wearing a PFD) someone else who happens to be out on the water;
> for not knowing how to roll but is in fact wearing a PFD. Gadzooks!
> The experiences written about in 'DEEP TROUBLE'are valuable teachers
> that can save one's life. Such stories certainly should keep one's
> ego in check so as not to think conditions are so simple that nothing
> could likely happen to them. This is an AWESOME BOOK! It has dispelled
> many false perceptions that I once held.
> I also have John Dowds book 'Sea Kayaking'-A Manual For Long Distance
> Touring which I consider excellent. If anyone could recommend one
> or two (all time great books) along the lines of the one's mentioned
> I would love to hear about them that I might be even more enlightend
> Now, I am presently taking rolling lessons (with friends of mine)
> from white water guys who are very supportive. No I cannot roll
> just yet, but getting close (2nd lesson only). My problem is with
> mastery of the hip snap. However, the encouragement received from
> one instructor (who just got back from WW-Kayaking in Patagonia
> and New Zealand) is that there is more than one way to skin a cat
> when it comes to doing a rolls. So I am not beating myself up for not
> being able to hip snap just yet. Moreover, these practice boats we use
> are not the best fitting nor have the best spray skirts but the
> circumstances these boats put me in provide great teaching nevertheless.
> It is not that easy to roll a flooded boat.
> The fact that I have huge upper body strength causes me to be dependent
> on that instead of the imperative of my hips. It's coming, but I am not
> as flexible in the hip area as some (especially the younger guys).
> I am aggressive and determined to master the techniques. These
> white water guys are great and we are having a blast and learning lots.
> Had fun at the end of the last class where I attempted to surf land
> the WW-boat onto the pool ledge. The great speed that I developed
> turned into a sudden crises when I realized at the last second that
> there was no way I was going to get the bow over the pool ledge for a
> surf landing.
> I was doomed to crash into the wall of the pool ledge straight on with a
> full head of steam. I planted my paddle at an instant to brake my speed.
> Sploosh I was now inverted (involuntary roll) and had relized
> (now upside down in the water) that I had a paddle in my hands to roll
> me back up. Yeh, almost did it but ran out of breath after two attempts
> and had to wet exit.
> I can see the value for a breathing tube and lots more practice.
> I understand that the Aleut and the Greenlanders both regarded
> their Kayaks to be their PFD's and that a wet exit was not
> a desired option. The roll enabled them to remain one with their
> craft (life support system). It makes sense to me to be of the same
> mind that my baidarka is my PFD inspite of my wearing a Lotus PFD
> or whatever. Why should a paddler not have the same attitude......
> regard there kayak as their PFD as well as being skilled how
> to wet exit and recover their kayak?
> Best Regards,
> Philip
> Considerably North of the 49th parallel where the forest fires
> are burning rampant the the smoke inversion makes me think I'm camping.
> Less timber for Japanese chop sticks. Oh well they should go for plastic
> anyway and save the next generation of trees.

I heartily second the safety reminders above! I do have a roll, but it
is at best a 50% shot currently. I always were my PFD and wet suit (for
these chilly Puget Sound waters). Even for my short paddle today, in
the shallow waters off of Edmonds, WA, where I could have waded back in
at any point (the biggest risk is bumping your head if you roll over).

Even if you have a good roll, make sure your boat has adequate
floatation, and you know self rescue, and carry a paddle float and other
appropriate gear for self rescue. I have fairly volumous inflatable
bags fore and aft (and I am considering adding a sea sock).