Getting in and out of a kayak is probably what most beginners fear the most. It can be awkward and challenging but here’s how to do it with ease.
The key is keeping your weight low and centered.
At the dock –
- Untie the kayak and keep the line in your hand
- In shallow water you can lift your paddle vertically – set one end into the bottom of the water snug against the kayak side steady it. If you’re in deeper water lay your paddle within reach and you’ll use the dock edge to steady you.
- Sit on the dock edge dangling your legs over and balance the cockpit edge with your feet to line up your entry position – drop the tie line into the cockpit.
- Using the dock edge to steady you, swing one foot then quickly the other into the center of the cockpit – quickly crouch down – then sit.
- Take your paddle in your hand, rest it across the cockpit and adjust the tie line so it won’t drag when you paddle.Upon return, exiting is basically the same in reverse –Congratulations! You’re in and ready to paddle!Here’s a clip that demonstrates this technique. Note the tip that he gives about not reaching for the dock on return. Take a look …
You may be thinking: okay, “Smartie” – I need to launch from shore, so how do I do that?
Here’s how …
At the water’s edge
- Place your paddle shaft behind (or in front) of the cockpit opening, across the deck
- Holding the paddle shaft in place, gently lean on one side to let that paddle blade rest on the ground – this will keep the kayak from wobbling
- Using the paddle shaft to steady you – quickly enter the center of the cockpit – crouch – then sit
- Then use your paddle to give you a shove offAgain, getting out is the same in reverse.. . . Easy huh?
TIP: In shallow water, you can lift your paddle vertically, (as described above) setting one end on solid ground snug against the kayak side to steady it. Keeping your weight in the center – use the paddle shaft as a “crutch” to enter and exit.
Here’s a quick clip on getting in and out of a kayak from shore.