Kayak Safety Equipment - Better Boat's Paddle [VIDEO]
Whoa, boy, that was painful to watch. What a bad flip in whitewater. The point of that is the operative word is when, not if. It's when your kayak flips, not if you're ever going to flip. We're all going to flip at some point and we all need to be prepared.
Let me tell you a really stupid story on myself of not being prepared. Back when I was a canoe guide, my wife and I used to fish at Quantico in Virginia on some of the large bass lakes there. One day, we pull up, we drop the canoe in the water, and I realize I'd forgotten the paddles at home. But no big deal, we never used them anyway.
We always had the trolling motor. So we pop that on, head up, get about a mile up the lake, having a great time, and at the end of the day, on the way back, about halfway back to the launch, the battery dies. Holy mackerel. If you've ever been on the receiving end of the look from a woman who's checking out a man who's done something absolutely stupid, you know exactly what I was experiencing, and that look continued all the way back to the launch.
How'd I get back to the launch? Well, I grabbed a bait container, a lure container, and was paddling like this for the quarter mile, third of a mile, whatever it was, back to the launch, and ever since that day, I've always had a backup paddle. Now, when I got my kayak that was paddled, not peddled, I picked up one of these emergency paddles. I've had one of these for years. This one's from Better Boat and they sent it to me to check out the nice color. But you can see that it's about 35 inches long and it's decent enough, when you're in the low position, to get a good grip in the water and get yourself back to a boat launch.
Now, even in a pedal kayak, if you're on a river or someplace else where your drive unit can get damaged, you probably need to have one of these in either your front or your rear hatch because, admit it, when you're in a pedaled kayak, you probably don't strap your paddle down. I mean, look at mine. It's in the back in these paddle clips, it comes out in pieces, and if I were ever to flip in this, if I was on a river without having these things strapped down, I would probably lose them and would need to resort to something like that.
So the question is, will this paddle drive a 120 pound Jackson Coosa FD kayak? Well, let's go find out right now. So if you ever find yourself in this position, put your seat in the low position, extend the emergency paddle, and you can get these from a number of sources. Like I said, Better Boat gave this one to me. You lock it down and then you can go.
It's not as good as having your real paddle, but if you remember the J stroke ... Let me get this phone thing out of the way. If you remember the J stroke from your scouting experience, this is fine for paddling a kayak in an emergency, even in this monster Jackson Coosa that weighs 120 pounds. I'm moving along, against the tide right now, pretty well, just doing the little J stroke.
So, bottom line, if you've got a pedaled kayak, boy, you need to have one of these things somewhere in that kayak, because you never know when you're going to lose your paddle. It might not be you that loses a paddle. It might be one of your buddies who didn't strap it down and flips and off it goes. In either a river or a tidal current, that can be pretty bad.
What about you guys? Do you have any stories about doing stupid stuff like I did, getting up the lake or up the creek without a paddle? Hey, throw it in the comments below. This one works just fine.