Huli Recovery

Huli Recovery Training: Mastering Outrigger Capsizes

Welcome to our Huli Recovery training, where we equip you with essential skills to handle outrigger capsizes. A “huli” is an unexpected and often accidental capsizing of your outrigger canoe, which can be triggered by various factors such as big waves, improper changeovers, tight turns, or steering errors. Because hulis happen without warning, it’s crucial to know how to react effectively to ensure your safety and that of your fellow paddlers.

What You’ll Learn

Our comprehensive training covers huli recovery techniques in both OC1 individual canoes and OC6 team outriggers. This way, you’ll be prepared to act in unison with your team members, expediting the recovery process. All users of FLCC OC1s are required to do the quiz and on-water recovery.

We emphasize the importance of huli recovery skills for your personal safety and the safety of your team. To ensure your readiness, we assess your huli recovery abilities annually through a huli quiz and on-water evaluations. These assessments can be completed year-round, but we typically encourage teams and paddlers to undertake their huli tests during the summer, with August being the preferred month for these evaluations.

Join our Huli Recovery training and equip yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond confidently and effectively in case of a huli. Your safety and that of your team are our top priorities, and we’re here to help you master the art of outrigger canoe recovery.

Do the Huli Quiz – We recommend watching the video, reading the material before doing the quiz and then Book Your On Water Huli Test (

Meet Your 2023/4 Huli Training Team

Our Huli Training program is led by a dedicated team of experts assigned by the OCRep (Outrigger Canoe Representative). This team is responsible for establishing the best practices for huli recovery and approving teams for successfully completing the recovery process. Get to know your Huli Training Team for the 2023/4 season:  Joanne Bolam, Bob Anderson, Cheryl Bublitz, Mary Stardom, Jonathan Wilkins.

This capable team is committed to ensuring that you and your fellow paddlers receive the best training and guidance for huli recovery. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the program, guaranteeing that you’ll be well-prepared to handle any outrigger canoe capsize situation. Your safety is their top priority, and they’re here to support you on your journey to mastering huli recovery.

To NOT Huli:

  • Keep centered. Sit up.  Do not lean over gunnels, especially when switching sides to paddle. Keep hips loose and moving with the boat’s movement.
  • It is important NOT to huli close to the dock.  Keep your weight left as you load.
  • While both paddling and docking, seats closest to the iako should watch the ama and lean or push down on the iako if the ama lifts
  • The steers may ask all paddlers to lean left or paddle left to shift weight onto the ama through rough water or when docking.

During the Huli Drill:

  • Hold your paddle.
  • Do not push away from the boat as it goes over.  The ama will be passing over your head and you need to stay close to the boat to ensure you do not get hit.
  • For the purposes of the drill, store your paddle under the seat. In the event of a REAL huli, the assigned person will collect the paddles and then store them under the seats.

After you Huli:

  • Immediately after the huli, the steersperson will ask for a head count and each seat, in order, loudly calls out his or her seat number to ensure that everyone is accounted for.
  • If someone is hurt or unable to help in righting the boat, seat 1 or 6 assists the injured paddler, keeping them close to the end of the boat and out of the way.  The steersperson may assign a teammate to assist the disabled paddler and reassign duties to right the boat.
  • Seats 1 or 6 can collect paddles, or paddles can be placed back in the boat by tucking them under the overturned hull.  The preferred method is placing paddles in the boat.
  • The remaining paddlers must fill the positions with two paddlers on the hull and two paddlers below ama for the recovery.
  • In the Bedford Channel if the waves are big, the entire team turns the boat into the waves before the huli recovery.
  • Be sure everyone stays with the boat.  Do not leave the boat to get gear.
  • Everyone must get in position and wait for others to get into position. The steersperson ensures everyone is ready and counts down to ensure that the team works together.
  • Each seat will be assigned a specific duty for a huli recovery. Be sure you know what your job is before you go out. These jobs do not need to be done by a specific seat.  If there are reasons you want to do a job that is assigned to another seat (size, strength, or ability) be sure this is clear before you go out.

Seat 6 is the steersperson and directs the recovery process.
Usually assigned seats and their duties:

Seat 1

  • Stay at the front of the boat and help hold boat in position. Follow steers instructions if given.

Seats 2 and 5

  • Seats 2 and 5 push up on the ama. Each paddler situates at the outside corner where the iako’s meet the ama. At the Steersperson’s command, get low in the water and kick hard with your legs to lift the ama while walking your hands down the Iako (toward the gunnel). Continue to push up to ensure the boat goes over.  Always watch the ama to be sure that it does not come back down and hit you.
  • Ideally, Seats 2 and 5 will enter the boat first. Preferably, get in the boat from the non-ama side unless someone has already entered it.  Once in, bail water out as fast as possible to help raise the boat so other paddlers can get out of the water – this is very important.

Seats 3 and 4

  • Seats 3 and 4 climb onto the hull using the Iako.
  • Seat 2 and 5 may offer assistance to help brace their feet, as the hull and iako’s may be slippery.
  • Seats 3 and 4 straddle the hull.
  • Seats 3 and 4 now need to step on the muku. This is done by swinging their second leg
  • behind them. It is important to keep your weight low over the hull.  Still standing on the muku, and laying your stomach over the hull, reach to grab the iako and/or gunnel.
  • When everyone is ready, and on the steersperson’s instructions, seats 3 and 4 use their body weight to pull the iakos up (drop your seat, bottom as if you’re doing a squat), watching not to get hit by the iakos and ama as they pass over.

Seat 6

  • After taking the headcount and assessing for injuries, the steersperson will assist in the Huli recovery verbally and physically, but will stay at the stern and out of the way.  Their responsibility is to keep everyone working together and focussed, instructing the paddlers throughout the recovery to get the boat quickly upright, bailed and moving.

Getting in:

  • Seat 6 will call entry to the boat. Seat 6 may identify people that need to be first in the boat.
  • Seats 2 and 5 ideally enter the boat first from the non-ama side if possible.
  • Seats 1, 3, 4 and 6 get into the boat when instructed by Seat 6 from the ama side.
  • First paddlers in (ideally seats 2 and 5) start bailing quickly with the largest bailers.
  •  Paddlers get in as quickly as possible to get out of the cold water. Paddlers can use the iako to help get in.  Be aware of your team mates and help them into the boat if required.
  • All paddlers bail to empty the boat as quickly as possible.
  • When steer deems it is time to paddle, they will call for seats 1, 3,  4 and 6 to paddle, while seats 2 and 5 continue to bail.
  • Be sure everyone is busy, either bailing or paddling to get warm.


There are two contradictions between the instructions above and the below video.

  1. For our waters (Bedford Channel) the preferred method is turning the boat into the wind, waves or current.
  2. We also find having seat 1 and 6 lift the boat while is paused at its tipping point is dangerous and results in injuries. We DO NOT do that.

Click here if you have problems accessing the video below.