Outrigger Huli Recovery Procedures
A ‘huli’ is very common and can happen at any time with little or no warning during a practice or a race. A novice crew, a beginner stern, or rougher waters can cause the boat to capsize. Contact with other boats, wake, or extra boat speed and paddler effort may also cause the boat to ‘huli’.
Below are the steps and procedures to right the boat. If a ‘huli’ does happen, it is up to the group and/or the coach to decide whether to continue to paddle or return to the dock. During the winter months, once righted, 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; however, in cold weather, the length of the race and position of the ‘huli’ in relation to the start/finish are all to be taken into account to see if finishing is best or if returning to the dock is the safest option.
The best ‘huli’ procedure is to prevent the ‘huli’ by making sure that all paddlers are:
- sitting up
- not leaning over the gunnels
- not throwing their body weight across the canoe during changes
- being flexible by letting the boat roll under their bodies
1. Know your role
a. Seat 1 – you are in charge of gathering any paddles and personal gear that may be floating away.
b. Seat 2 – you climb onto the canoe using the iako’s (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’. This is the stub end of the iako that projects on the non-ama side of the boat. 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.
c. 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 scissor kick with your legs to help in getting it out of the water.
d. Seat 4 – your job is the same as seat 3
e. Seat 5 – your job is the same as seat 2
f. Seat 6 – you are the captain: check to make sure all paddlers are accounted for; assist in the execution of the ‘huli’ recovery and be able to offer verbal or physical assistance.
2. Taking care of paddlers
a. The steersperson is in charge of the boat. The stern (or next best suited to help) will take control if there are any paddlers in need of assistance,
b. The first step once in the water is to gather your thoughts. There is a major initial shock to the body that often prevents logical, common sense thinking.
c. If you are having a problem, hold onto the canoe. Shift your way down the boat (with the stern’s assistance) and hold onto the stern end of the canoe.
d. Do not climb onto another paddler or the ‘ama’. This will sink the ‘ama’ making it heavier, or possibly injure a second paddler.
e. Do not lose your paddle. Hang on to it! Give it to seat 1 if you cannot perform your job and hold the paddle at the same time. Seats 3 and 4, should be able to maintain their own paddles during the ‘huli’ recovery
3. Getting into position
a. Each seat has a dedicated job (as posted above). Once you and your crew are stabilized, get into position to right the boat.
b. Changes to responsibilities: a taller paddler may exchange roles with a smaller paddler when taking on responsibilities of seat 2 or 5. Due to a longer reach, they can often grab the iako further away and offer more leverage to pull the boat over.
c. Talk! Work as a team. Let everyone know when you are ready, or if you need any assistance.
d. If the waves are big, turn the boat so it is perpendicular to the waves (usually not a concern in our water conditions)
4. 1 – 2 – 3 go!
a. Once everyone is ready to go, count it down. Everyone needs to pull at the same time.
b. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to right the boat, but if not done together, it can be very difficult!
5. Entering and bailing
a. It is important that everyone enter the boat from the ‘ama’ side; entering from the non ama side may cause the boat to flip back over.
b. If you cannot pull yourself into the canoe, use the iako to help you get into position.
c. Do not worry about getting back into the same seat; this is only important for seat 6.
d. The smallest paddler enters the boat first and uses the large bailer and quickly starts emptying the boat.
e. Seat 1 places paddles in the boat, (do not worry about correct paddle distribution)
f. Seat 6 is the second to enter the boat and keep the boat pointed in the right direction.
g. If there is a skirt, the boat will not be full of water and the paddlers can start entering the boat.
h. 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.
i. Do not bail from outside of the boat as this is energy consuming and may make it difficult to pull yourself into the boat.
j. The remaining paddlers get in as quickly as possible.
k. When bailing, rapidly throw the water over your ama-side 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 on the ama side.
During cold weather, enter the boat as soon as it is safe to do so. Get out of the water. Help any paddler who is having a hard time getting in the boat.
6. Start paddling
a. Once everyone is in, seats 1 – 2 – 5 – 6 –start paddling.
b. Seats 3 and 4 continue to bail.
c. Seat 3 starts paddling when 80% of the water out of the boat
d. Seat 4 continues to bail until 95% of the water is out. Any water in the bottom of the canoe will result in a heavy boat and make it hard to both steer and paddle.
Start paddling to warm up, once the boat is underway again, assess the situation: Is it a race or practice? What is the weather? If any paddler is cold and shivering, turn the boat around.
A ‘huli’ recovery can be done in less than 15 seconds; if paddlers are in the water for more than a minute, they have the potential to get hypothermia. A ‘huli’ is common and needs to be considered part of outrigger paddling. All paddlers will huli at some point during their time in a boat. During cold weather, you can paddle in a wet suit if you would like. Lifejackets must be worn during the cold winter months.
Stop; think; react
Take a second to gather your wits and then execute as a team!