IK: Not Falling Out of the Boat - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-20-2017   #1
 
UriahJones's Avatar
 
Salem, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
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IK: Not Falling Out of the Boat

There was a most excellent thread recently on the buzz where a number of generous rowers offered there advice on how to stay planted in the seat during rapids and not find oneself in the water. I'm hoping to have a similarly valuable discussion centered around the IK.

I recently purchased my first IK and have taken it out a couple of times. It is a ton of fun to paddle, but I am looking for some sage advice on how to stay in the thing more often

I've watch any number of videos on kayaking bracing skills, and it appears that the low brace is more recommended for an IK due to the extreme instability of an IK when it is on edge. But I really want to hear from my fellow buzzards on how they stay in their boats.

FYI: I've got an Aire Lynx with thigh straps and foot pegs installed, and am running mostly Class III-IV in the IK.

In particular I find strong eddies, or crossing strong eddy lines tip the boat over pretty easily. It is very stable while being paddled forward. Though I am having some trouble not stalling out in the larger holes.

Thanks!

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Old 03-20-2017   #2
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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An inflatable is a different animal compared to a hardshell kayak. They pretty much sit flat and have limited ability to edge like a hardshell. They also don't track as well as a hard shell since they sit on top of the water more.

I think its actually harder for an experienced kayaker to figure out an inflatable one then a complete novice. For me, the few times I ran an inflatable it felt very alien because of how flat they are.

Bracing will definitely help, but as as you said, its gonna be a low brace. The technical definition of a high brace according the the ACA books is low brace is elbows above the paddle pushing down, and high brace is elbows under the paddle pulling up. Low brace is for stability, and high brace is for more extreme tips and basically is doing a roll without flipping over fully. Generally, if you get an IK that far over its just gonna go all the way and you'll fall out.

Low braces help keep you stable, but I think you are honestly better off just trying to paddle a bit harder and stay straight with the waves. Forward speed is great for stability, and being able to react to the river with some momentum is key.

Keep the thigh braces pretty tight, and then brace against the floor with your ankles. Having a good back rest that you can tighten helps a ton too. You'll never be as secure as a hard shell, but an IK is inherently more stable then a hardshell. You mostly get in trouble with an IK when you hit stuff sideways, so always try to tee up to waves and holes.

Crossing eddy lines in kayaks is a bit counter intuitive. The best way I've been able to explain it, is you want to introduce the bottom of the boat to the current you are paddling into. So, if you are entering an eddy from the main current, you'll actually be trying to lean the boat upstream. You want to actively be paddling into the eddy, since the eddy line is the most unstable portion. The goal is to transfer from one current to the other and not be stuck in the middle. Here is a good video explaining it...



This is with hardshells obviously, but the technique is similar. You won't be able to edge as much, but the weight transfer is still important and will keep you upright. Not leaning and even more important leaning the wrong way, will often dump you out of the boat or flip you.

I'd say try to get out with someone experienced if you can. Nothing like some on the river teaching rather then reading and watching youtube. At least with the IK, if you mess up you just flip it back over and climb on again. Swimming out of a hardshell is definitely more involved.
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Old 03-20-2017   #3
 
Sacramento, California
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As far as catching eddies go, you need to get on edge as you cross the eddy line. That means you pull up on the leg on the out side of your turn. You can also push down on the inside leg too for added strength. The same applies when you are exiting the eddy. Lift on the up stream edge as you exit the eddy.

This technique allows the current to flow under the raised edge of the IK, rather than grabbing, then flipping you.

You may be tempted to lean to the inside of the turn, and you may do this some, but don't rely on leaning a bunch, but rather focusing on lifting the outside leg in relationship to the eddy you catch, and the upstream edge when exiting (the outside of the turn in both these cases). You control the turn with your paddle on the inside of the turn, which both allow you to more smoothly turn, and can help you brace.

As far as bracing goes, IK's are so stable, it's going to be difficult to brace up. I'd suggest you focus on making sure your paddle is always in the water, and use your paddle strokes to create stability. And like I mentioned on eddy turns, the same applies to any cross currents, holes or waves you hit; always lift on the upstream edge so water can flow under your kayak.

In holes, you'll want to attempt to boof just before you hit a hole, and reach your paddle over the hole and pull yourself through it. That means planting a good paddle stroke before you hit the hole, lift your legs to your chest as you give a good strong paddle stroke into the hole. Immediately after you boof, you plant the paddle over the hole and pull yourself through. This will keep the IK on top of the hole, moving forward and the paddle in the water gives you stability.

Hopefully that all makes sense to you.
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Old 03-20-2017   #4
 
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Salem, Oregon
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Wow, super-awesome and helpful replies! Thanks

I'll have to watch the videos when I get home today, workplace frowns slightly on watching kayaking videos all day
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Old 03-20-2017   #5
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Sounds like you need to fire your bosses :P

Watching whitewater videos should be mandatory.
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