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Huli Drill

Huli Recovery (Canoe Capsize Recovery)

Huli drill video

A huli is an expected and inevitable part of outrigger canoe paddling. Sooner or later, you will experience a huli and each paddler should know how to safely deal with a huli and right the canoe. Always be ready to swim. Do not carry anything in the boat that you are not ready prepared to get wet and tie it to the canoe or you will lose it. There are small differences in the huli drill for unlimited canoes that do not have iakos stubs. At some point you will find yourself in the water. When you do stay calm and do not panic.

Three objectives:

  1. Is the crew safe.
  2. Quickly right the canoe.
  3. Bail and get underway.

The five stages of Huli Recovery
  1. Check up: Seat 6 count heads through calling and getting response from 1 - 5
  2. Set up: Seat 1 push bow into the wind, and seats 2 & 5 collect paddles
  3. Right up: Seats 3 & 4, climb on the iako’s, straddle/bear hug the canoe hull, grab iako’s and pull ama over, seats 2 & 5 assist by pushing the ama/iako's over
  4. Bail up: Seat 2 holds the ama while Seats 3, 4, 5 bail and empty the canoe.
  5. Fill up: Seat 6 instructs who enters the canoe, continues bailing, and paddles (usually 3+4, 2+5, 1+6)

The five stage huli drill above is easier to remember than all the details below but do read the longer version:
  1. Roll with the canoe do not jump out
  2. Come up on the ama side of the canoe with your hands above your head for protection from the iakos
  3. Head count to make sure all OK; seat 3 counts seats 1-2 and reports to steerer. Steerer counts seats 4-5. See Unconscious paddler without aPFD: if a paddler is missing.
  4. Weak swimmers put on PFDs. The PFDs should be strapped to the right hand side of each seat.
  5. Hand paddles to seat 1 or 6
  6. Seats 1 and 6 go to bow and stern respectively to turn boat so that ama is away from the wind/waves. If conditions are particularly rough all crew members may need to help swimming the
  7. canoe’s bow into the wave
  8. Seats 3 and 4 climb onto iakos and straddle the hull
  9. Seat 2 and 5 go to end of iakos by the ama and prepare to lift the iakos
  10. Seats 3 and 4 stand on the iakos stub (non-ama side) and grab iako on the ama-side
  11. On an unlimited without ama-stubs seats 3 and 4 climb over the hull and pull the ama
  12. Seat 6 calls ‘ready to lift. Seat 3 and 4 put weight on iako stub and seat 2 and 5 push the iako up
  13. If possible when the ama is straight above the hull slow the recovery to allow seat 1 and 6 to lift the boat to let some the water out of the boat
  14. Seats 2 holds the ama to reduce the risk of another huli while 3, 4 and 5 get in a bail like crazy towards the ama-side of the hull (there is a risk of another huli if you bail to the
  15. non-ama-side)
  16. Seat 6 instructs seats 2 to enter the canoe when water level is low enough
  17. The seats 1 and 6 enter the canoe. Seat 6 instructs who should paddle and who should keep bailing

Source: Ke Kai O'Uhane Outrigger Canoe (modified)

If the canoe is damaged and cannot be righted then all paddlers should put on PFDs and steers person calls for help.

OC1 and OC2 Huli Recovery Procedures:
  1. Check that you / your partner are okay.
  2. Secure your paddle to your canoe. Ideally, use your bungee. You may also use the elastic that connects your pedals or hold it in your hand.
  3. Flip the canoe over. Be gentle with your canoe so it is not damaged (hull, ama, iako) in the process. Do not slam the ama down.
  4. In a huli you fall to the right non-ama side of the canoe. You need to decide if it is safe to remove the leash and swim to the ama side or climb on the non-ama side. Even in light winds
  5. and waves an OC1s without the weight of a paddler can move quickly resulting in an unleashed paddler be separated their canoe. This particularly series if your safety equipment (PFD, phone, etc) is attached to the canoe. It is recommended that you do not remove your leash and climb on the non-ama side of the canoe. Another option is swim under the canoe with your leash attached then climb onto the ama-side. Once on your canoe leave your left foot dangling to shift weight onto the ama side then remove your leash, pull under the canoe and quickly secure back to your leg.
  6. Remove your leash and quickly secure it back to your leg.
  7. Do a second check of yourself and all your gear. Remove the paddle from the canoe and recover any safety equipment.
  8. Resume paddling. Even the best safety equipment will not save you from all situations. It is therefore imperative that before you decide to take out your OC-1/2, you understand your limits
  9. and the challenges posed by the route you plan to take and by the current weather and water conditions.
  10. Always Think About Your Safety.

(Remarks: click here to get a pdf copy.)