Huli Recovery Basics

If you're going to paddle on an outrigger canoe, it's in your best interest to fully familiarize yourself with what to do if your canoe capsizes.


Huli Basics
Recovery Steps
Getting Back In
Outrigger Huli Basics

A huli (canoe flip) can happen at any time with little or no warning. A novice crew, a beginner steersperson, or rougher waters can cause the boat to capsize. While a huli can happen at anytime, it is more common for boats to huli during a race. Contact with other boats, wake, or extra boat speed and paddler effort may cause the boat to huli.

If a huli does happen during a practice, it is the decision of the group or coach to continue to paddle or return to the dock. During the winter months, a hulied boat must return directly to the dock and have the paddlers change and warm up.

When a huli happens during a race, the boat is expected to continue the race. In cold weather, length of race and position of the huli are all to be taken into account to see if finishing is best or if returning is the safest option.

The best huli procedure is to prevent the huli by making sure that all paddlers:

  1. Are sitting up;
  2. Not leaning over the gunnels;
  3. Not throwing their body weight across the canoe during a change;
  4. Letting the boat roll under their bodies and being flexible.
Huli Recovery Seat Responsibilities

SEAT 1: You are in charge of gathering the paddles and personal gear that may be floating away.

SEAT 2: You climb over the canoe using the iakos (wooden bars that connect the ama to the canoe). Once out of the water and on top of the boat, turn and face the ama. Place one or two feet on the muku (bottom of the canoe). Place your hands on the iako. If you cannot reach, grab the gunnel of the canoe. When everyone is ready, you will pull the boat towards you as the ama is being lifted, and flip the canoe back upright.

SEAT 3: You will swim to the ama. Once seats 2 & 5 are ready on the muku, you will push the ama up by doing a big scissors kick with your legs to help in getting it out of the water.

SEAT 4: Your job is the same as seat 3

strong>SEAT 5: Your job is the same as seat 2

SEAT 6: You are the captain. You must check to make sure all paddlers are accounted for. You must assist in the execution of the huli recovery and be able to offer verbal or physical assistance.

Once You’ve Recovered, Get in and Get Bailing!

Everyone must enter the boat from the ama side. This is very important. If not done, you may cause the boat to flip back over.

If you cannot pull yourself into the canoe, use the iako to help you get into position. Do not worry about getting back into the same seat. Only seat 6 has to end up back in the stern position.

The smallest paddler enters the boat first and uses the large bailer and quickly starts emptying the boat. Seat 1 places paddles in the boat, (do not worry about correct paddle distribution).

Seat 6 is the second to enter the boat and keep the boat pointed in the right direction. If there is a skirt, the boat will not be full of water and the paddlers can start entering the boat. If there is no skirt, the paddlers must make sure the boat is bailed enough before they enter. If the boat is too full of water, it may swamp if all paddlers were to enter. Watch the gunnels. Make sure that the boat is high enough out of the water.

Do not bail from outside of the boat as this is energy consuming and may make it difficult to pull yourself into the boat.

The remaining paddlers get in as quickly as possible.

When bailing, rapidly throw the water over your shoulder. It is a fast swinging motion, do not place the bailer in the water, then pull it out, and then empty it over the side. Rapidly scoop and throw.

Once everyone is in, seats 1 – 2 – 5 – 6 start paddling! Seats 3 and 4 continue to bail. Seat 3 starts paddling when 80%off the water out of the boat Seat 4 continues to bail until 95% of the water is out. Any water in the bottom of the canoe will cause a heavy boat and make it hard to steer and paddle.

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