Reentering W500 Kayak From Deep Water – Tim Kerr, NY (Movie)

Tim Kerr, a W kayak paddler from Buffalo, New York, contributed this movie that shows him practicing deep water reentry with his W500, on the Niagara River, in upstate New York.

Tim is a member of the local kayaking club, and he knows that when it comes to paddling, it’s important to practice everything that’s related to capsize, recovery, reentry and safety in general.

Note how easy and smooth Tim’s getting back in the kayak is: Once he reaches the middle of the cockpit, his legs simply fall into the hulls, on both sides of the saddle, and Tim finds himself ‘back on the saddle’, literally – confidently riding his W500 kayak.

Right after Tim got his W500 kayak he contributed this kayak review ==>

13 thoughts on “Reentering W500 Kayak From Deep Water – Tim Kerr, NY (Movie)”

  1. I never had to climb back into my w, but it’s time I knew how 😉

  2. Nicely done sir! I hope to never have to use that skill. You made it look very simple and fast enough to believe there really might have been a gator looking you over.

  3. Excellent movie!

    The narration adds a lot.

    I measured about 20 seconds from the time Tim touched his kayak’s rear end until he was back on the saddle and touched his paddle.

    Great job guys!


  4. It’s nice to see how an athletic, young guy can get back into a W kayak. I’d hate to see my pathetic, 69 year old carcass trying to do the same maneuver. Something tells me it wouldn’t be as quick or look as pretty. Still – it’s something I’ve thought about (what would be the best way to approach it) and I guess the end entry way would be it. In my case though, it would be more complicated in that I would have a trolling motor, battery, steering cables, steering/control head, etc. to navigate around. I even thought that I’d just try to grab the motor’s steering control and try to motor as fast as I could for shore rather than risk sapping my energy trying to get back in. It certainly doesn’t hurt thinking about worst case scenarios and having a plan in the back of your head. Good subject!
    John Z

  5. Hi John,

    Good point! Since the W500 is symmetrical front and back, you could try to reenter it from the ‘front’, I.E. the end that has no motor attached to it.
    Once you’re back in the cockpit, you could either drive your kayak back to safety in reverse, or try (carefully…) to turn yourself, and face the bow.
    In any case, doing things slowly and carefully is very much recommended.

    Albert Einstein used to emphasize the importance of ‘thought experiments’, and that method could work in this case too, at least partially. The advantage being that water temperatures in upstate NY aren’t high enough now for real-world experiments…


  6. You know Yoav, you got me to thinking: I could probably manage Tim’s re-entry manuever if I had a sturdy, knotted rope or something anchored to the opposite end of the W. I might be able to then inch my way up – hand over hand between the pontoons and into the cockpit. Wish I lived in a warm water location. I’d like to experiment with this idea. It could save a long, cold dunking or even worse.
    I have to give Tim credit for his video: the Niagara river is freezing even in the summer.
    John Z

  7. Outstanding Video!!
    That shows not only how stable the W500 is, not tipping at all
    as you throw yourself out of it, but just how easy it is to get back in.

    I have done this while swimming at Rainbow Res.
    Though my re-entry wasn’t as pretty as Tims, but If I can do it….
    anyone can. 🙂

    Five Stars my Good Man!!

    Safe Paddling all!

  8. Well done, instructive, and fun to watch movie.
    What a useful contribution to this site!
    I’m confident many people would learn from it.

    I’d like to add that keeping cool is the key to a successful kayak recovery, even if the water is freezing…
    Nothing is worse than panicking, because it can lead to mistakes that could be fatal. It’s important to start any recovery by assessing the situation and devising a strategy.

    Also, if you feel you’re capsizing it’s a bad idea to cling to your w-kayak, since it would increase the chances of a bad capsize, that is with the boat taking water in, or overturning.
    In many cases those things can be avoided by simply letting yourself fall into the water, and leaving your w-kayak to care of itself – It has a better chance of doing so on its own than with you clinging to it and making it heavier.


  9. Please expand on your reply to John Z above. I am in his “class” and consider the ability to have a very doable deep water re-entry “system” a mandatory deal maker for a “W”. I am tired of always having to stay within swimming distance of shore with our current traditional kayaks. Waiting for a tow rescue is not acceptable. We like to explore, which often requires going off-shore.

    More to the point: could you offer an accessory (ladder?) to allow non-athletic persons to do deep water re-entry that doesn’t require an assistant or many practice sessions to master??

  10. Ted,
    There is no reentry device for such small boats.
    To reenter the W kayak from deep water, you lean on one end, and that makes the boat tilt in your direction, thus enabling you to crawl back in, taking your time, and balancing yourself and the craft with your legs spread over the two hull tips, in order to provide you with extra balance. Your hands hold the cockpit rim (spray deflector), and pull you up. The further you crawl, the less up and the more forward you go, because the W kayak returns to a more horizontal position.
    Once you’ve crawled forward enough over the cockpit, you let your feet fall into the hulls on both sides of the saddle, and your legs firmly position you over it in the Riding posture.

  11. Thank you for the detailed reply. (You mught consider editing some of the finer points into the appropriate section of your User Manual). Guess I will have to try it myself before deciding if it is acceptably better than traditional “Paddle Float” assisted re-entry – a cruel joke at best for most, including me.

    IMHO, if the W design truly allows for “easier” re-entry than traditional and sit-on kayaks, it should rate a “bullet” item in your list of W advantages. Yes, some will argue that bringing attention to “negative” issues is not good marketing, but your “truth always wins” approach appeals to those with an open mind.


  12. Hi Ted,
    Reentry is simply not part of a W kayaker’s everyday life, and very few W kayakers have ever capsized their W kayaks, or even went overboard, which explains why some believe (falsely!) this kayak can’t be overturned 🙂
    Our focus is on prevention: We offer a kayak that’s stabler than any other kayak out there, and we promote stability as the sensible approach to kayaking safety.

Leave a Reply