How to Do a Kayak T-Rescue

VideoApril 29, 2013

The Kayak T-Rescue is a great kayaking technique to master. You flip upside down and a buddy brings their boat up to assist you. By grasping their bow and executing the hip snap you learned earlier you can easily roll upright. It’s excellent practice for learning to roll your sea kayak or whitewater kayak unassisted. In this part of our Kayaking Fundamentals video series, veteran paddler Ken Whiting goes through all the steps for perfecting this valuable skill.

The T-Rescue is the most basic form of kayak rescue and a great way to prepare for rolling. It teaches you to relax under water and how to orient yourself when you’re upside down. It also forces you to use your hip snap from a completely inverted position.

With a rescuer close by you’ll flip yourself upside down. The rescuer will then approach your boat at 90 degrees and offer you the bow of their kayak. You’ll grab the bow of their boat, use it for support and leverage your way upright, just like you learned in the earlier hip snap lesson.

When you’re upside down you’ll reach up with a hand on either side of the boat and slap it with both hands three times, to let the rescuer know you’re ready for their help. Then you’ll define the target area for the rescuer by running your hands along the sides of the boat to guide them in. The rescuer will gently nudge their bow into the target area, right into your hands.

With your hands on the bow of their boat you’re really executing a roll, just without a paddle. You still bring your body up to the surface, and using the other boat for support, you execute your hip snap to pull yourself upright. Practice using good roll form as you swing your body back over the kayak.