Type III fun while kayak-diving

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Julius SCHMIDT

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Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro Tw With Werner Camano Paddle - Used | Local Pickup Only! for sale from United States


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Vicko

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Great job thumbing the dive, this way you just had a crappy day and lessons learned in the second best way possible.

As for things you could have done better, don the gear in the water, make sure all your hatches are secured and always have something thats good for getting the water out, manual bilges in sit on top kayaks are bad because you have 0 leverage, you only use your hands. I prefer a 2.5L jug cut in a way that I can still hold the handle and a small 0.5l bottle for the small stuff.
 

Eric Sedletzky

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I have at least 200 dives off a kayak, maybe more, and those are North Coast dives in some swell and nasty conditions that can creep up out of nowhere.
Here is my input on Kayak diving.
1. I would NEVER consider using a drysuit kayak diving especially one that is unzipped. Absolute no no. If you dump it and it floods you’re screwed, as you guys almost pretty much found out.
2. Using a “balanced” rig, as the new wave term has it that all the weight is attached to the rig is sub optimal for kayak diving. It is better to have a weightbelt and have your weight broken up. Not only does it spread the weight out better on the kayak so the back doesn’t “low ride” when you’re paddling, but it also makes getting the rig easier to shove back into the tank well and having a weightbelt on your body when you’re finning around the kayak doing stuff is easier when you’re not like a cork.
3. I have a personal rule that I NEVER open a hatch when I’m out in the ocean period. The anchor and line gets bungeed on top on the front. My fins are bungeed right behind the anchor on top. My weighbelt goes right under my knees layed out on top and latched over the back rest strap that goes forward so in case of a roll it doesn’t get lost. Essentially everything goes on top and gets secured.
The rig goes behind me in the tank well and is strapped down by both straps and snugged up. Mask is around my neck, and compass/computer is always on my wrists and doesn’t come off.
Putting a weighbelt down in a hatch can be a problem in that if you roll it it can hit the hatch from the inside and blow it open or it can slide into a wired spot that you can’t reach.
4. A hand operated bilge pump is a good idea but I don’t have one.
5. Always check all the straps and hatches on your kayak before use it each time just like an aviation check list and keep everything in perfect order. As soon as there’s any signs of wear or cracking replace the affected components.
6. Every kayak should have their own anchor. Never “raft up” kayaks especially in questionable conditions as one kayak that goes sideways van flip another over, or if one anchor fails then you will lose all your kayaks and come up to nothing. Each kayak needs to have their own independent anchor system.
7. Practice the flooded kayak maneuver. If for some reason your kayak gets flooded, you need to know how to get underneath it when the kayak is upside down and push up. This will empty the kayak out of a hatch hole. Then you flip it back over and secure the hatch in place and resume your outing. This is one reason why my hatches never come off once I’m paddling in the water, one less thing that can go wrong.
8. Always have your paddle leashed and make sure the squeeze connection where your paddle fit’s together is in good shape and not corroded or has a broken spring. That should be part of your check list.

The order that I use to perform a dive off a kayak goes as follows:
When you reach you dive spot, straddle the kayak sitting up and scooch forward to get your fins out and on (if you haven’t already). Sometimes I used to have my fins on even before I left the cove. While you’re straddling the kayak and up front, undo the anchor and drop it down giving yourself at least 3:1 scope in windy conditions, less if conditions are benign and you are certain they will not increase.
Slide into the water and unlatch/remove weighbelt and roll it on in the water. Reach up and unclip the rig, slide it off the back and don it in the water.
Dive.
Upon return, do everything in reverse.

Kayak diving is great fun and a super efficient way to dive. Just follow a few rules to be safe and the rest is all fun.
Cheers!
 

Eric Sedletzky

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One other thing I forgot.
It’s the law in California that you must have an approved life vest on a boat for each person, and a kayak is considered a boat.
If you guys got rescued by the authorities or CG you would have been fined.
I put mine down in the hold right in the main hatch, and it’s there only as a technicality. We’re in Wetsuits so a PFD is a little moot. That is the only thing down there along with my otter box with fishing license (if I happen to be out hunting).
 

wnissen

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I just want to thank Brent for posting this. I was fantasizing about cruising out there for urchin culling on a kayak in a few minutes instead of surface swimming for half an hour. Obviously nothing is as simple as it seems.

It seemed odd to me that all the Reef Check divers were in wetsuits when they obviously dive enough to make a drysuit purchase. But it's also less to go wrong, particularly with retaining buoyancy in an emergency. Because even without a boat it would have been no big deal to be stuck out there, given the direction of the current. If you could remain above the water for an hour you'd be pushed back to shore. That is a big "if", though.
 

Brett Hatch

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Yep, that's the one. I have a grey one just like that, and a yellow one as well. Bought them off of Craigslist from a really nice guy down in Cambria, who had 14 (!!!) Scupper Pro TW's in his garage. Something of a kayak enthusiast, I guess you might say, him and his wife go kayaking like every other weekend. The post you linked includes a nice carbon fiber paddle too, so a good price for anyone in, or willing to drive to, the Tahoe area.

OK, I give up. What does type III mean in the title?
Whoops, sorry about that, I meant to explain this in the OP, but forgot. @johndiver999 is correct, it basically means a s****y, un-fun, perhaps dangerous time, often defined by errors in judgement / planning, or unforeseen bad events. As opposed to Type II fun, which isn't all that fun while you're doing it, but makes for good stories or feels like it was fun when you remember it later. Sometimes having fun doesn't really have to be fun in the moment, and Type II tries to capture that. Or Type I fun, which is regular-old fun.

I have at least 200 dives off a kayak, maybe more, and those are North Coast dives in some swell and nasty conditions that can creep up out of nowhere.
Here is my input on Kayak diving.
1. I would NEVER consider using a drysuit kayak diving especially one that is unzipped. Absolute no no. If you dump it and it floods you’re screwed, as you guys almost pretty much found out.
2. Using a “balanced” rig, as the new wave term has it that all the weight is attached to the rig is sub optimal for kayak diving. It is better to have a weightbelt and have your weight broken up. Not only does it spread the weight out better on the kayak so the back doesn’t “low ride” when you’re paddling, but it also makes getting the rig easier to shove back into the tank well and having a weightbelt on your body when you’re finning around the kayak doing stuff is easier when you’re not like a cork.
3. I have a personal rule that I NEVER open a hatch when I’m out in the ocean period. The anchor and line gets bungeed on top on the front. My fins are bungeed right behind the anchor on top. My weighbelt goes right under my knees layed out on top and latched over the back rest strap that goes forward so in case of a roll it doesn’t get lost. Essentially everything goes on top and gets secured.
The rig goes behind me in the tank well and is strapped down by both straps and snugged up. Mask is around my neck, and compass/computer is always on my wrists and doesn’t come off.
Putting a weighbelt down in a hatch can be a problem in that if you roll it it can hit the hatch from the inside and blow it open or it can slide into a wired spot that you can’t reach.
4. A hand operated bilge pump is a good idea but I don’t have one.
5. Always check all the straps and hatches on your kayak before use it each time just like an aviation check list and keep everything in perfect order. As soon as there’s any signs of wear or cracking replace the affected components.
6. Every kayak should have their own anchor. Never “raft up” kayaks especially in questionable conditions as one kayak that goes sideways van flip another over, or if one anchor fails then you will lose all your kayaks and come up to nothing. Each kayak needs to have their own independent anchor system.
7. Practice the flooded kayak maneuver. If for some reason your kayak gets flooded, you need to know how to get underneath it when the kayak is upside down and push up. This will empty the kayak out of a hatch hole. Then you flip it back over and secure the hatch in place and resume your outing. This is one reason why my hatches never come off once I’m paddling in the water, one less thing that can go wrong.
8. Always have your paddle leashed and make sure the squeeze connection where your paddle fit’s together is in good shape and not corroded or has a broken spring. That should be part of your check list.

The order that I use to perform a dive off a kayak goes as follows:
When you reach you dive spot, straddle the kayak sitting up and scooch forward to get your fins out and on (if you haven’t already). Sometimes I used to have my fins on even before I left the cove. While you’re straddling the kayak and up front, undo the anchor and drop it down giving yourself at least 3:1 scope in windy conditions, less if conditions are benign and you are certain they will not increase.
Slide into the water and unlatch/remove weighbelt and roll it on in the water. Reach up and unclip the rig, slide it off the back and don it in the water.
Dive.
Upon return, do everything in reverse.

Kayak diving is great fun and a super efficient way to dive. Just follow a few rules to be safe and the rest is all fun.
Cheers!

Thank you Eric for conveying your considerable experience here. I had figured it would be easier to keep everything secure inside the hatch rather than lashing it all down on top of the vessel. But I do see the wisdom in simply planning to never open the hatch on open water, since the flip can come any time, and you really don't want the hatch open when that happens. But the only things I was putting in there were fins, mask, gloves, and DSMB, which could all be worn or lashed to the top pretty easily. Agreed that putting the belt inside the hatch is not a good idea, and I like your idea of putting the belt in the middle / bow of the boat instead of back with the tank, which is where I've been putting it. I do have a large mesh duffel bag inside the hatch, which is intended to prevent anything from getting wedged in an awkward place like rear of the seat well. So far it has not been a problem. Do you do something similar to this?

I don't fully understand what you're saying about anchoring the boats separately. I get the point that it increases the chance that both of them disappear while you're under. But I don't get how flipping one might cause the other to flip. I had these roped end-to-end, with one of the two connected to a mooring buoy. If I moored them separately, then the boats would end up side-by-side, which I agree would make 1 capsize likely to lead to 2. Maybe I should have moored one boat with a short rope, and the other with a longer rope. Or use an anchor for one, and either an anchor or the mooring for the other.

By the way, what do you use for an anchor system? I have two setups. One is a 6-foot bungee with a kelp clip on one end, boltsnap on the other, and a float in the middle. The other is a 6-foot bungee with a bolt snap on one end, a reel on the other end, a float in the middle of the bungee, and 3 or 4 feet of heavy chain on the end of the reel. I have found the kelp clip to be super easy to use when kelp is available. The reel + chain one works, but is not nearly as easy. I think the main problem I have with it is that the handle on the reel is not very long, so it provides poor leverage when I to reel the chain back in. I saw a YouTube video on this, where instead of reeling the anchor up, the guy just used his hands to pull all the line plus the anchor into his kayak between his legs, and then used the reel to tidy it up in his lap. That seems like a better approach than what I was doing, but I haven't tried it yet.

Eric, do you use a dive flag? If so, what kind, and how do you attach it to the boat? I tried to jerry-rig something out of a 6-foot piece of stainless all-thread, some nuts, washers, a float, and a flag. I am not happy with it, and would appreciate better suggestions.

I bought a couple of those manual bilge pumps, so far I have only tried them out in my kitchen sink, and I can say that they are very effective at making a mess on the countertop. I think I'll flood the hatch with a hose, and see if they are much more effective than the cut-up water bottle I ended up using. @Vicko 's idea isn't bad either, I could see half of a milk jug being pretty effective. Maybe I'll try that too.

I just want to thank Brent for posting this. I was fantasizing about cruising out there for urchin culling on a kayak in a few minutes instead of surface swimming for half an hour. Obviously nothing is as simple as it seems.

It seemed odd to me that all the Reef Check divers were in wetsuits when they obviously dive enough to make a drysuit purchase. But it's also less to go wrong, particularly with retaining buoyancy in an emergency. Because even without a boat it would have been no big deal to be stuck out there, given the direction of the current. If you could remain above the water for an hour you'd be pushed back to shore. That is a big "if", though.

Eh, I don't know, I still think it's a good idea. Like you said, not as simple as it seems, but probably simply enough. You just gotta avoid butchering it like we did :). I'll be trying it again the next opportunity I get.

I did the training in my drysuit. The prolonged head-down trim did end up kinda squeezing upper body a bit, which was not really a problem, just a little uncomfortable. I intend to try it with a wetsuit next time, I think it'll be a little more comfortable overall. It'll be a little colder of course, but since the water is so shallow and you're working, I don't anticipate it becoming an issue. Other folks were in wetsuits on class day, and I didn't hear any complaints.
 
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