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  A bow rescue vs. a T rescue
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-23-08 1:52 PM (EST)

The following may be "tom-ay-to vs. tom-ah-to" semantics, however, as an ACA certified Instructor Trainer in Advanced Open Water (sea) kayaking as well as a certified WW instructor, and author of the book "Sea Kayak Rescue," I have found that it can avoid confusion if the term "T rescue" is reserved for the standard 2-person sea kayak recovery where the bow of the capsized kayak is lifted across the cockpit of the "rescuer's" kayak so the water can be drained.

That way it doesn't get confused with the "Bow Rescue" shown in Ken Whiting's fine article, where the capsized paddler stays in his/her kayak and grabs the bow of the "rescuer's" kayak.

This was originally called the "Eskimo Bow Rescue" by some, but these days more culturally sensitive paddlers prefer to refer to it as simply the "Bow Rescue" or even better, "Bow Recovery." Why scare timid beginning students, is the thinking with many instructors, with the emotionally loaded term "rescue" just because someone has capsized?

With this thinking, capsizing is something considered positive, implying that students are pushing their boundaries and learning, rather than something they need to be "rescued" from. In this thinking, "rescues" are reserved for when things have gone seriously wrong.

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  dual terminology
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-23-08 5:13 PM (EST)
Roger is spot on! You'll start confusing alot of Newbs when you have dual terminology especially in regards to rescues. If this was a rewrite or second edition this is the kind of thing Ken should have revised. What good does it do to talk about a technique that requires "a special relationship between student and teacher" It makes it seem like only the Dalai Lama can rescue you. I was a junior guide on a Baja Sea Caves trip (Arblitos) where a group got sucked deep into cave and thrashed by incoming waves from another opening. I was positioned perfectly behind a mid-cave rock to watch each paddler enter the chamber and then proceed to capsize from the chaos. I would tap on their upturned hull with my paddle letting them know I'm right there and performed three successful bow recoveries with strangers I'd just met the day before. These paddlers regale my heroic efforts in song to this day, but I had no special prior relationship to them unless it as from past lives.
  It's a whitewater kayaking article.
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-28-08 11:49 AM (EST)

I appreciate where you’re coming from Roger… When I started getting into sea kayaking, I was also confused by the mixed terminology being used. I definitely don't question the use of the sea kayaking terminology. With that said, this is 100% a whitewater article and the terminology used by whitewater kayakers is different. Whether or not it makes sense for terminology to be consistent between sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking is definitely a discussion worth having. Perhaps using the terms differently isn’t a bad thing though, because the rescue is used differently as well—as Hawk has so clearly (and unknowingly) identified through his comments.

On that note… I can imagine the situation you describe, Hawk. It is an understandable sea kayaking situation. I agree that the bow rescue (and T-Rescue) would both work well in those circumstances you describe for both novice and experienced sea kayakers. But this is a whitewater kayaking article! Performing a T-rescue or Bow rescue in big waves, fast current, or while being spun around by the whirlpools that inhabit eddylines is a very different task. Furthermore, I’m guessing you’ve never seen a kayaker lose their front teeth because another kayaker came charging in through the rapids to offer a T-rescue (the sea kayaker’s Bow Rescue) at the same time that the capsized paddler gave the roll one more shot. The bottom line is that for whitewater kayaking, there should be a special relationship (or understanding) between two paddlers, because it is often assumed that the paddler will just roll up.

As for your (Hawk’s) comment, “What good does it do to talk about a technique that requires "a special relationship between student and teacher" It makes it seem like only the Dalai Lama can rescue you.”… This sounds like something you’d hear in the military about information only being shared on a ‘need to know basis’… In my opinion, the more educated paddlers are, the better and safer they will be both in the short term and long term. Furthermore, my book wasn’t only written for newbie whitewater kayakers. It was also written for the benefit of intermediate and advanced whitewater paddlers and instructors, and it should be noted that this ‘special relationship between student and teacher’ relates to both full time instructors, or to intermediate paddlers that are introducing their friends to whitewater kayaking.


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