Have you just purchased a kayak and are wondering how to get in a kayak? Read our guide for advice about the methods to get in a kayak today.
Did you know that the Inuit tribes of the Arctic invented kayaking thousands of years ago? Back then, kayaks were made of animal hide and whale fat, which made the boat waterproof. Today, kayaks come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials, and you’ll never have to get your hands dirty smearing whale fat on your boat.
Kayaking can be a fun hobby and is great for those who want to get a bit of exercise, go fishing, or just spend some time out on the water. But how to get in a kayak can be a problem for those who don’t have a lot of previous experience using kayaks. While it may seem difficult at first, after learning all the ways to get in a kayak, you will find that it isn’t as hard as it seems.
To learn more about getting into your kayak and why you should start kayaking, keep reading below.
Why You Should Start Kayaking
If you’ve never gone kayaking before, you might be wondering why you should bother getting started, especially if the simple act of getting into your kayak seems so difficult. As it turns out, kayaking is full of benefits, both physical and mental. There are many different types of kayaks on the market. Paddle and pedal kayaks, recreational kayaks, high-priced fishing kayaks, and even fishing kayaks under $1000 are all things to consider before heading out on the water.
The most obvious benefit is that kayaking makes for great exercise. You might not think that kayaking can strengthen your body since it involves sitting in a boat and paddling, but it can actually do wonders for your muscles.
Because you need to keep yourself balanced inside the boat and because of the effort it takes to paddle through the water, you might be surprised to find how sore your upper body will be after spending a bit of time out in your kayak.
The act of rowing can strengthen all the muscles in your arms, chest, back, shoulders, and core. This is not to mention that kayaking does not put any impact on your joints like other forms of exercise such as running. This is ideal if you have problems with your joints or if you don’t want to have joint problems in the future.
Taking your time while kayaking is a great way to focus on building muscle, while kayaking at a faster pace can help to build your endurance and stamina. You can also enjoy the mental benefits of kayaking. Just by being in the great outdoors and spending time with other kayakers, you are likely to notice a big improvement in your mood.
Taking some of your friends with you on your kayaking journey is sure to make the venture even more fun. More than that, you might be able to learn a thing or two from your friends who might know more about kayaking than you.
How to Get Into a Kayak from the Water
When it comes to the methods for getting in a kayak, you should know that there is no one way to get into a kayak. You can get into your boat from a dock, from land, from the water, and from other areas. Some of these methods are easier than others.
However, some methods are also more accessible than others. For example, not everyone has access to a dock that they can use to get into their kayak.
When it comes to getting into a kayak from the water, the main thing you will want to keep in mind is to not let your kayak get away from you. Many beginner kayakers make this mistake. Because kayaks are so light and streamlined, they can easily rush away from you if you are struggling to climb into them.
This can be a big cause of frustration for new kayakers as well. Some people may get so frustrated that they give up on kayaking before they even begin. Don’t let this be you.
Instead, try to hold onto your patience. You will find that if you take your time, you will be smooth sailing (or smooth kayaking) in no time. To get into your kayak from the water, you are going to have to wade into the water somewhat.
Doing this will allow you to get a firm hold on your kayak so it won’t float away from you. From there, position yourself so that you are next to the kayak seat. Try to secure your paddle to the kayak and slowly pull yourself into the seat.
To do this, make sure your feet are close to the surface of the water to make it easier.
A Few Extra Tips
You should not try to jump into the seat of the kayak because you likely won’t end up in the right position. You will then have to try again or your kayak might end up shooting out from under you if you lose your balance. As mentioned before, your feet should be floating near the surface of the water.
You can accomplish this by floating on your back or side. Wearing a lifejacket will help (and is highly recommended).
When it’s time to enter the kayak, make sure you’re facing the front. Grab the edge of the cockpit to pull yourself in.
When you do this, don’t pull on the kayak too much or you might end up filling the cockpit with water. If your kayak ends up upside down, don’t panic. Gently roll it over so it returns to its proper position.
Once you are able to sprawl yourself over the kayak, you will have the opportunity to reposition yourself. Try to ensure that your belly is over the seat of the kayak when you are at this point. This will make it easier to keep yourself balanced over the kayak.
Don’t jerk around or you might end up back in the water again. Slowly put your legs back into the cockpit and situate yourself in the seat.
From there, you can adjust your position however you want. Then, you will be in the kayak and ready to start learning how to use a kayak for real. While you are doing all this, make sure you don’t forget about your paddle.
Beginner kayakers can get so focused on getting into the kayak itself that they forget about the paddle. When this happens, you might have to get out of the kayak again to fetch the paddle.
How to Get Into Your Kayak from a Dock or Rocky Shoreline
The tips about getting in a kayak change somewhat when you get into your kayak from a rocky shoreline or dock, but the overall goal is still the same. As with getting into your kayak from the water, trying to enter the kayak from a dock comes with the risk of your kayak floating away from you.
If the kayak is tied to the dock, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem, though it still may float away to the extent that you are unable to get into it.
To solve this problem, make sure the kayak is as close to the dock as possible. This is also true if you are getting into your kayak from a rocky coastline. When it comes to remembering the steps to get in a kayak from a dock, you will want to make sure that the kayak is parallel to you.
If the boat is perpendicular to the dock, it will be much more difficult to get into it. More than that, the kayak will be able to float away from you much more easily. By having the boat parallel to the dock, you will be able to have a better grip on it and it won’t be going anywhere.
From there, you should be able to get a good grip on the boat’s cockpit. As with the other method, you should never forget about your paddle. You don’t want to go through the task of getting into your kayak only to realize that you’ve forgotten your paddle up on the dock.
To get in, get a firm hold on the back of the cockpit. If you can, secure the paddle behind the cockpit. Don’t forget to seat yourself so you’re facing the front and not the back of the boat.
A Few Extra Tips
When it’s time to get into the boat, you will need something to stabilize yourself. Otherwise, the kayak might end up shooting out from under you and you will end up in the water. A good way to stabilize yourself is by using your paddle as a sort of anchor.
Or, depending on the height of the dock, you may be able to use the dock itself to stabilize yourself. Once you stabilize yourself, you will want to put one foot into the kayak. Do not let go of the dock or paddle at this point because the kayak may still float out from under you.
Instead, make sure that the dock or paddle supports your entire weight until you are able to put your other foot into the cockpit as well. Then, you will be able to wiggle down into the cockpit and you will no longer need the dock or paddle for support. Once this is the case, get a firm grip on your paddle and position it in front of you.
Then, you will be able to push yourself away from the dock (or shoreline) without any problems and you can start kayaking. The good thing about using a dock to get into your kayak instead of entering it from the water is that there is less of a chance that you will flip your kayak upside down.
However, you will need to be more careful when you step down into the kayak since it is not as easy as rolling over and into it as with the previous method.
Getting into Your Kayak from the Beach
The previous two methods described are the main methods that people like to use to get into their kayaks. However, if you for whatever reason don’t like these methods, there are a few other methods that you can use. You can use different methods depending on what kind of kayak you have and your preferences.
For example, if you are at the beach in shallow water, you may want to use a completely different method from the methods that were already described. When you are at the beach, you will be able to stand up in the water next to your kayak. This will give you more control over your kayak so it won’t float away from you.
In this case, you have the option to hold the kayak between your legs. When you do this, you will find that you can easily put one leg into the kayak followed by the other leg without any trouble. However, this method is only recommended if you have flexible knees.
Those with bad knees may find this technique more difficult. However, the good thing about this method is that you can get out of the kayak as easily as you can get in. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to do this if you are in deeper water.
You also may not be able to do this if you have a very large kayak.