Practicing re-entry drills

Now my new drysuit has arrived I’m itching to go fishing. Though to be honest, I really didn’t fancy launching knowing that my last re-entry attempts had failed, regardless of the circumstances. Psychologically that wasn’t a good thing for me so I decided a practice session was in order. There was a bit more to it than that, my new Typhoon PS200 Xtreme drysuit is considerably heavier than my Kokatat Super Nova. It’s perhaps 2-3 times heavier and I wanted to test the watertight integrity of of my new acquisition whilst ensuring that the heavier suit wouldn’t hinder my re-entry.

I had planned to practice my re-entry drills locally at the weekend, though on the day I wasn’t feeling to spritely due the evening of refreshments the night before, plus the weather was plain miserable. I decided to utilise the pool at work where I could play in comfort for as long as I fancied.

The Big Game is certainly a stable kayak, though it does sit high out of the water. This, allied with its width, requires quite a bit of effort to get up onto and across the kayak before rotating into the seat. I practiced for twenty minutes where I capsized a dozen times and I’m pleased to report that all re-entries were successful!. That said, I was a little tired by the end of it!.


I also took the opportunity to experiment by removing the centre hatch before capsizing. I’ve read a lot of forum posts by people who refuse to open a large hatch whilst afloat. The fear of course being that the kayak will flood rapidly should it capsize, resulting in either the loss of the kayak or the inability to right an upturned kayak. I’ve always been of the belief that the kayak would act like a diving bell, the trapped air having nowhere to go hence the kayak shouldn’t flood. It turned out that was indeed the case and two capsizes with the centre hatch open resulted in a 1-2 litres of water entering the kayak. Perhaps in a choppy sea that may be more, though I very much doubt it would be a huge amount.

My new drysuit performed extremely well without so much of a drop of water entering the suit. Its extra weight wasn’t an issue at all, early impressions are very pleasing. I’ll post more details about this suit over the next few days.

I took some video footage whilst in the pool, it’s interesting to see how much air is actually trapped beneath the kayak, a view you wouldn’t normally get to see.

Capsize & re-entry drills


Frank Simón said...

What great video Rob,

For someone who has been thinking of getting a kayak (me) for some time now, this kind of "graphic" information is not only useful but shows what I have to practise and get right before casting off into what can be an evil sea.

please allow me one question. Would you float without the life jacket? I think you wear it to keep tackle etc. correct me if I'm wrong.

Again, great video (I actually found myself holding my breath for some reason) lots of info, very educational.

Thanks very much. Frank

Jose C said...


Once again another great post!

I always enjoy your videos and blogs, thank you for putting in the time and hard work required.


MickMull said...

Nice vid Rob, gave the yak a good clean too. I still don't think that I'll open the front hatch on mine though.

Rob Appleby-Goudberg said...

Hi Frank
depending on the amount of air you had trapped in your drysuit I dare say that you would float reasonably well. However, a PFD guarantees that you will not only float very well (correctly orientated with your head well above the water), it will ensure that if you have air trapped in your legs it wont cause major issues. I would never go to sea without a PFD.

I keep no tackle in my PFD, only my radio, flares, safety knife and a camera.

Frank Simón said...

Thanks Rob,

You see! I hadn't thought about "air trapped in legs" I suppose I would have found out, but not being able to try things in a pool it might have been a little scary! A friend is going to lend me his Kayak so as to try before I go spending all that money. I'm no spring chicken! I let you know how I get on.

Thanks. Frank