Sunday, April 01, 2007


Regular readers of these pages will by now know of my love for gadgets. Here is the latest to come my way for review. It was sent in by Mike Thomson of Scottish Paddler Supplies. The Brace-a-Float is designed to be a 21st century replacement for the humble paddle float. I have always been suspicious of all the faff of attaching a conventional paddle float to the paddle blade, then inflating it then getting yourself back in the boat then deflating it before you paddle on. The Brace-a-Float addresses several of these limitations and has additional functionality in that it can be used as a bracing aid and hopefully prevent a capsize in the first place. It is contained in a slim nylon covered sleeve that fits over the paddle shaft and while not being deployed is kept out of the way between the hands. There is a small toggle at one end and a sharp tug releases the gas stored in a small CO2 container.

My friend, Mike Marshall, inflates the Brace-a-Float.

Mike now slides the Brace-a-Float to the desired side. The Brace-a-Float engages with the rubber drip rings on the paddle shaft and it is now ready for use.

Easypeasy! You now have a stable platform which can be used to re-enter the boat after a capsize, to prevent a capsize or to give stability when photographing or fishing. There is a simple deflation valve which can also be used to inflate the Brace-a-Float if you have already used the CO2 cannister. The cannisters are cheap, easy to source sodastream cartridges.

Plus points:
Always to hand.
Easier to (re)deploy than a paddle float.
It works better than a paddle float.
It is more versatile than a paddle float.

Minus points:
It is less comfortable as a lunch time seat than a paddle float.
You cannot use it as an emergency backrest as you can with a paddle float.

4/5 and the Brace-a-Float is highly recommended.


  1. Hello while generally I like your tests I think you have given this too high a score. Paddle floats are a very American thing. I think people would be far better off learning to roll and renter roll if they are on their own. If you are in a group you are better off doing a T rescue.

    I do like the blog though. Thanks.

  2. I really cant see the point in this. What if you have cranks?

  3. This looks like a great piece of kit Douglas. Just what I've been waiting for. I'll order one right away.

    Not only will I have a bombproof rescue aid but taking the CO2 cannisters with me will give me an excuse to take this other sea kayaking essential,

    ;-) Andrea.

  4. Hello Douglas and John, in my experience most sea kayakers cant roll and so I think John's comments represent an ideal situation that will never be found in practice. I think paddlefloats do give you another option. Losts of people say if its too rough to fall in its too rough to use a paddlefloat but often early intermediates fall in in relatively calm conditins. Last weekend two of our party fell in on a millpond Ullswater. They bumped into one another!

    Hope to see you at the Solway for a paddle over Easter.

    Cheers Alan.

  5. Good joke. Had me going for a nano second!! Are some of the other comments for real?

  6. Thanks John,

    Anonymous, Mike is using cranks, Brace-a-Float still works!

    Andrea, it's great to hear from you, I think that penguin thingy would fit in my Kelly Kettle Karrier.

    Hi Alan, I will be down on Saturday in time for the tide.

    Hi Phil, I think Andrea's post was not only real but insightful. :o)

    Aprilla Industries will be launching Brace-a-Float soon.

  7. Where can you purchase the Brace-A-Float? I can't find it.

  8. Looks like it could be useful to roll up right away for people who already know how to do reentry and roll - there should be no need to exit the boat. If you capsize, just slide the gadget to the side and roll up. no?

  9. Doesn't look like it would work with a Greenland paddle?

  10. Hi Anon - the Brace-a-Float works most excellently when paired with the "Greenland Roller" paddle


    Kind regards

  11. Is that roller paddle for real? Looks like it would be heavy unless those balls are really light plus it kinda defeats the whole purpose of a Greenland paddle were you can slide your hands pretty much any were on the paddle for say bracing or rolling or sculling. I don't even use a paddle leash as I want unrestricted movement along the whole length of the Greenland paddle. The float or those balls on that paddle would restrict that making it more like a euro paddle. But hey, to each there own.