After recently purchasing a Native Ultimate and with a couple of posts of late with regards to swamping said kayak, I decided it be best if I try a recovery of my own.
First off, this test was a best case scenario in a controlled environment. Calm pool, no waves, no wind, no extra fishing gear weighing the yak down. The gentlemen in the pictures lent no physical assistance, he just made sure the kayak wasn’t going to puncture the pool liner.
Second, always wear your PFD. It would be unlikely you would able to perform a swamping recovery before exhaustion sets in without one. I tried as part of the experiment.
Test one…I tried a simple re-entry after falling out with the kayak remaining upright. You want to get as much of your body out of the water and across the kayak as possible. Take your time once you get up into the kayak. I did this without my PFD, as a test. It was relatively easy.
Second test…a fully overturned and swamped yak.
Lay your body across the hull and grab the edge of the other side. It turns over quite easily. I made sure as much water as possible was in the kayak for the test. The closed cell foam in the bow and stern will keep the Ultimate from sinking, and keep the gunnels at water level.
You need to try and empty as much as water as possible to try and float the yak before recovery can commence. Grab the side closest to you and submerge it so the Ultimate sits at 90 degrees to the water line.
Now tip the kayak back as fast as possible. This will allow the gunnels to be higher than the waterline. You can now start bailing.
NOTE….the slightest of weight on the edge submerges the kayak and it starts filling with water again. LET YOUR PFD DO ITS JOB AND FLOAT YOU. By floating and lightly hanging onto the edge, you can keep the gunnels higher than the waterline and a recovery can commence.
At this point, without a PDF, you’re done. You’ll be too tired to continue, and you can’t rely on the kayak to float high enough in the waterline to support you and itself to allow for successful bailing.
Don’t rely on your pump either, you can’t get enough water out fast enough. You need a bailing bucket. Take your time, this is not a race. There is a lot of water to get out, and it is going to tire you. You will want to bail until the center section of the kayak is above water. This should take roughly 10 minutes. I tried to re-enter with 3-4″ over the center and I re-swamped it, see below…grrrr.
Lastly find the best re-entry point. With water in your kayak, you need to pick the right spot to get back in. My first try, I was at side about at the front of the seat, as as mentioned above, where I swamped it again. I found the best spot to get back in was where the seat hinges are. Once back in, further water removal can begin.
I would highly recommend this exercise to anyone. Make time with someone to go try this out. What seemed like a relatively easy thing to do, turned into an eye opener. I’m glad I have done this so if needed, can apply what I’ve learned in an environment that may be a little more challenging than my pool.
Stay safe all….