Have you ever gone to load your kayak by yourself, only to find that it's…
Kayaking is a great way to get out onto the water and enjoy the great outdoors. You can explore lakes and rivers in a fun way,
covering a larger area than you would be able to do on foot. It is the perfect activity for people who like being active.
If you are new to kayaking, the first thing you will need to do is get yourself comfortable before you start paddling. You need to make sure that you sit in the right position in the kayak and that you center your weight correctly.
But how do you sit in a kayak? No matter what you try, you just can’t make sense of it and seem to be comfortable. We know how you feel, having been there ourselves, and are here to help!
We have put together this useful guide to give you some advice on how to sit in a kayak. Keep reading to find out more!
Adjust The Kayak
Before you take your kayak out onto the water for the first time you need to adjust the fittings. Place the kayak down on a soft area like sand or grass, where the kayak is safe and stable.
Adjust the back brace to make sure that it is in a position that is supportive yet comfortable. You should not be slouched back or pushed forward.
Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle to your buttocks and your chest ever so slightly forward.
If the footpegs or supports are adjustable then make sure they are in the right place for your leg length- your knees should be bent upwards and pointing outwards so your thighs can rest on the thigh support.
Place the balls of your feet on the foot support with your toes pointed out and your heels pointing towards the center of the kayak.
Once you have finished your adjustments, sit in the kayak to make sure that everything is in the right place.
If it doesn’t feel right or you are finding it difficult to get into the kayak, make some more adjustments until you are happy and comfortable.
If your kayak is inflatable it might still have adjustable fittings like seats. Make sure the kayak is inflated to the correct pressure and that everything is ready before you take it out onto the water.
Practice Your Movements
Once the setup is correct and everything is in the right position, you should spend a little bit of time sitting in the kayak practicing the movements you will need to do to paddle.
When you are new to kayaking, it is important that you feel comfortable with the size of the kayak and the space that you have before you get out onto the water.
Rock side to side a little to feel the weight of the kayak, and shift your body weight forwards and backward. Practice the arm movements for your forward stroke.
Take Your Kayak To The Water
Once you have become more familiar with the kayak and the seating position, it is time to get out onto the water. You should stick to calm water for your first experience – preferably a lake with very little water flow or a beach with gentle waves.
If you are on a shoreline, you should take your kayak to the edge of the water. Position the kayak so that the front half is in the water and the rear half is on the shore. This will stop it from drifting away as you get in.
As you climb into the kayak, make sure that you keep your body low and as close to the kayak as possible. If you get in from a standing position then your center of gravity will be too high and the kayak will become unstable.
The best way to get in the kayak when it is in shallow water is to straddle it with one foot on either side in a nice wide stance.
Keep one hand on the front of the kayak and lower your body towards the seat, crouching until you feel your buttocks touch the seat.
Once your bottom is on the seat you can bring your legs inside the kayak one by one. Remember to engage your core muscles to help you keep your balance.
Once you are seated in the kayak, shimmy the kayak into the water by shifting your body weight from side to side. Alternatively,
if you are with family or friends or there are friendly people on the beach you can ask someone to give the kayak a little push into the water.
If you are getting into your kayak from a bank where there is no shoreline then it can be more challenging. You will need to position the kayak so that it is parallel to the bank, then steady the kayak with one hand while you climb in feet first.
Remember to keep your body low, and try to place your feet near the center of the kayak to keep it stable until you can sit down. If you have someone with you who can stabilize the kayak as you climb in then it would be much easier.
If you are tandem kayaking then the person in the front seat should always get in first. The other person can steady the kayak by holding the back, then climb in afterward.
The weight of the person in the front seat should help to keep the kayak steady as the second person climbs in.
Once you are seated in the kayak and it is floating on the water, you need to check that your posture is correct.
Remember to keep your back nice and straight, your legs at a 90-degree angle, and your chest just slightly forward.
Keep your chin up, and look in the direction that you want to go as this will help you to control the direction of the kayak. Keep your core muscles engaged.
Make sure you are using the right size paddle – most beginners should use a shorter paddle as it makes it easier to maintain your balance. Grip the paddle in a nice wide position to give you more control.
And there you have it, how to sit in a kayak! Yes, it can take some time to get in the right position, but once you have done so,
you will find it far easier to paddle. Be sure to spend some time practicing with a friend or family member to make sure that you are sitting correctly before you hit the water!
When kayaking, be sure to keep your safety a priority and take the necessary emergency equipment with you to ensure you are found quickly should something go wrong.