How to Enter a Kayak

How to Enter a Kayak
For those new to the sport of whitewater kayaking, getting into your kayak can be a confusing task. Cockpit openings are small out of necessity. Too large, and your spray skirt can implode when upside down in rough water, rendering it useless for its intended purpose of keeping water out so you can roll and right your boat. Fortunately, while it may appear tricky, getting in and out of your kayak properly is an easy task, and once you do it a few times, it will become second nature.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
With the kayak on land, sit on the back of the kayak, just behind the seat, with your legs straddling the boat. This maintains your balance on the boat, as kayaks can be easy to roll over to one side or the other, even on dry land. Re-entering a kayak in the water is a fairly advanced rescue technique and often requires other kayakers to assist.
Step 2
Lift your legs and slide them--fully extended--into the cockpit, feet first. You may want to brace your arms on the hull of the boat or the ground for stability as you do so.
Step 3
Slide from the back of the boat forward and down into the seat. Again, use your arms for balance as you do.
Step 4
Draw your knees up and outward until your thighs rest against the thigh braces inside the hull of your boat. Your feet at this point should also press against the foot braces or padding, depending on your boat's design. Be sure your legs are comfortable but tightly braced inside the boat, as this is how you will control your boat in the water.
Step 5
Attach your spray skirt by stretching it around the cockpit opening. This will keep water from splashing into your boat, and will keep the water out if you flip, allowing you the chance to right the kayak.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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