Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

How to get back into my kayak in deep water.

I just started and I’m doing fine so far. I am by myself while kayaking and always in the coves at the lake. What I worry about right now is I cannot get back into my kayak. I have practiced and I just don’t have the strength to pull myself up. I looked at several youtube videos and tried one of them which did not help. I am kayaking everyday in our pond to build strength and lifting 8 lb weights but I have a feeling it will take awhile. I will be 66 9/2 and kayaking is something I found that I enjoy and it’s very relaxing. I have been ask by friends to go with them when I am ready but don’t feel that I am yet. The canal where they kayak has no where to go on the edge. At the lake I can pull the kayak to the edge if I have to. I have a sit on top fishing kayak. I am not giving up and I don’t think I will ever fall out but you never know. I was just wondering if anyone could give me advice. I am 147 lbs and 5’4 so I am know I am a little overweight. I’m not giving up. Yesterday I went to Lake Murray in Columbia to kayak with my daughter who has a paddle board. I had to deal with waves from other boats and did fine. Thank you!!

Comments

  • I paddle a SOT and getting back in is not easy for me either. I've only had to do it once . A paddler held the off side down while I reached across and crawled in.

  • On a different note: I would change your username for this forum. Not sure if that is a real working email address but you are inviting spam, etc, by using it like this...

  • Do you have a paddle float?

  • Just be sure you have a very good pfd and wear it. Stay pretty close to shore and/or paddle with competent paddlers. It's very possible that you will never need to re-enter your kayak, but learn it if you can.

  • You might want to try what a friend of mine does.
    He has a rope tied in a loop. The loop is long enough to completely circle his coaming and then enough to go down into the water enough for him to use as a foot hold. He uses that in combination with his paddle float on the same side.

  • Since you have a sit-on-top, you might try this: put your back against the middle of the kayak and reach behind you. Put your hands on the edge of the boat. Then lean back while shoving the boat under you. Leg-kicks may help if done right.

  • Here are some general suggestions for people who have low upper body strength. This is going to focus on equipment, rather than technique.

    They are not of much use with practice.

    I would recommend just practicing and not paddling until you get at least one method down.

    Try a stirrup. One that is ready to go is better than tying flat webbing while you are in the water. Make sure it floats in case you let go of it. Webbing is cheap so its easy to keep a second one around. ]

    Most people have disdain for the stirrup method due to rough water. So use your judgement before heading out in rough water. Its also useful if your muscles are exhausted, cramped, or you have an injury.

    For a sea kayak (not sure about an SOT), it is essential to get your weight up on the deck before using the paddle float. That being said, getting an XL paddle float--I think seattle sports makes one--will give you some extra margin..

    Get a PFD that is absolutely smooth in front and don't fill the pockets-- it can get caught or be a bump that you have to fight.

    Get a PDF that gives you maximum flotation...it may be easier to climb in if you start up higher...make sure it is not riding up on you when you start the reentry--pull it down and re-tighten the lower straps.

    After a stirrup learn re-enter and roll--personally I keep noseclips attached to my PFD ,

  • Some advice on getting up on the back deck of your kayak;
    rather than hanging vertically and trying to muscle up like doing a pull-up, kick your legs until you are horizontal, and then "swim" up on the kayak, while pushing down on the kayak with your arms. Much less muscle required. Your PFD can either help or hinder, as does anything that can snag your PFD and clothing on deck.

  • @JackL said:
    You might want to try what a friend of mine does.
    He has a rope tied in a loop. The loop is long enough to completely circle his coaming and then enough to go down into the water enough for him to use as a foot hold. He uses that in combination with his paddle float on the same side.

    Oops, I didn't realize you had a SOT. -No coaming there

  • edited August 20

    Sorry, l just reread. Had missed that you have a SOT. Deleted my first comment.

    FYI you are not the only person who has had trouble getting into a SOT from the water. I know of at least one 30 year old hale and hearty young man who had to be towed back because he couldn't do it.

    If your sot has some rigging on the deck you might be able get an assist via paddle float, tho best to ask other fishermen who are more familiar with techniques for a SOT. I paddle sit inside sea kayaks and have some options which may not translate for a SOT.

    In the meantime stay within swimming distance of shore,

  • edited August 19

    Kudos to you for not giving up! You always wear your life jacket, correct? Does it have pockets stuffed with things on the front? Just wondering as those can add to the challenge of getting back on.

    You mentioned your daughter has a paddle board. The next time you paddle with her, borrow her board and try to get on it in neck-deep water, following the advice of Greg (gstamer) noted above. I think you'll succeed with the mechanics of kicking your legs, which is the same technique you need for your SOT. If you don't succeed at first, keep on trying with the paddle board. Once you get on a few times, I think you'll find it a great confidence builder.

    There is one other technique which involves a paddle float and stirrup, described here: http://www.topkayaker.net/Articles/Instruction/PaddleFloat.htm

    Kudos, too, for working on your upper body strength. Working with hand weights at least three times a week, doing three sets of 10-12 reps, will make a difference much sooner than you think. Especially if you increase the weight (or the reps) as it becomes easier. In addition to dealing with your kayak, that extra strength is handy in our every day living.

    One exercise that was of considerable help to me is a dumbbell floor chest press. I like the floor position because it protects my shoulders and back. If you're not already doing it, maybe give it a try.

    Happy paddling and remember: You can do it!

  • edited August 20

    The suggestion to get horizontal and kick to "swim" up onto your kayak is the correct re-entry procedure...you don't "pull" yourself up...this is often what people who practice in pools do when they can stand on the bottom. Also, it's important to have unobstructed gunwales without a lot of accessories and other protrusions that can restrict re-entry - and it's also good advice to not clutter the front of your life jacket with things that can snag or otherwise restrict you sliding up onto the deck (like the no-no of attaching a whistle directly to your zipper pull - BAD IDEA!). . You really need to practice the swim onto approach and then use the stirrup or paddle float as an assist if you fail or get tired. Be safe; Have fun!

    Might I also suggest you check out the Safety Tips section here, particularly the tips about paddle floats, stirrup and swim-on re-entry. These were written to give you specific pointers on how to re-enter a kayak...

  • Probably the most single useful thing you can do in terms of technique is as above, try to swim onto the SOT from already being horizontal. Though I admit that when things like perimeter rigging are not present this is a lot harder. I am not a big person but can usually manage that last "Umph" by grabbing the opposite perimeter line and pulling the boat under me as I get over the deck. It makes a diff in the wrong direction when you lack perimeter line and are dealing with a higher volume deck than my lower, smaller volume sea kayaks.

    The exercise that Rookie shows above is the safest way to get to that muscle group. One comment for those over 60... I have done machine and free weights off and on since I was in my late 20's. I get fit the same way some people handle serial monogamy. I am fairly religious about some form of working out, fall out of it for a while, then get back on the horse.

    So for someone over 60, the safest means of increasing strength is to keep the weights moderate or even low and add reps. And you can get a surprising amount of benefit from being very very picky about your form. It will better isolate a particular muscle group. If you want to bring up the weight more at our age, think about joining a gym where you can get access to machines. Machines automatically prevent certain form errors so you can push little higher on the weights w/o risking damage.

  • And if it's your phone in that front pocket? The act of hauling yourself out could crack the screen and let water in. If you didn't have a waterproof phone, well it was dead anyway. If you did? It's no longer waterproof. NotThePainter did just that to his phone. It's no longer waterproof.

    @ExploreNE said:
    Get a PFD that is absolutely smooth in front and don't fill the pockets-- it can get caught or be a bump that you have to fight.

  • @Lillyflowers And the decision to carry a phone in your PFD without being in a very protective extra case? I don't understand that one. Even on flat water.

  • @Lillyflowers said:
    And if it's your phone in that front pocket? The act of hauling yourself out could crack the screen and let water in. If you didn't have a waterproof phone, well it was dead anyway. If you did? It's no longer waterproof. NotThePainter did just that to his phone. It's no longer waterproof.

    Waterproof or not, if you really want to protect your phone carry it in a dry bag made for phones.

  • @Celia said:
    And the decision to carry a phone in your PFD without being in a very protective extra case? I don't understand that one. Even on flat water.

    For the majority of phones you're probably right. My phone, a Kyocera Brigadier, that I've mentioned in quite a few threads here, has lasted over 3 years (maybe even four, I'm not sure) with countless prolonged immersions. I keep it in the mesh pocket of my Kokatat OutFit PFD with no additional protection other than the tether. It's no IPhone X (or whatever the latest gadget is that I'm missing out on, but like the proverbial Timex it keep on ticking despite the licking.

  • edited August 21

    Contact a local certified instructor. Pay the money for private lessons. Nearly all the advice here is worthless compared to hands on professional instruction. Remember, this is about saving your life. Kayak re-entry is the most basic of fundamental required skills, and without it kayaking is a fatal accident waiting to happen.

  • utube has several videos on getting back on a sit on top kayak. search
    "getting back on sit on top kayak"

  • If you can't get in your boat by yourself, maybe you should not be paddling alone. However, I have not done an assisted rescue with a sit on top. It would seem that steadying your boat might help you, along with a hand to help pull you up. I agree that taking a class would be a good idea.

  • If weather is not too hot, wearing a farmer john wet suit provides excellent horizontal floatation. Also, a paddle float under a non-stretch cord attached to your deck on the opposite side of re-entry combined with a rope stirrup gives extra leverage to push up onto deck (facing down). Practice in over your head depth near shore in calm water first. If you miss, you can swim to shore and try again w/o danger. Have someone nearby to help out if you drift, etc. Just in case. It's like push-ups, you'll get better with practice. Last suggestion, use a plain front life jacket to avoid snagging a sea kayaking style vest until you gain consistency. Real paddlers always stay near the slowest paddler for safety. That is "old school" courtesy.

  • You will need a stirrup (roughly 13 feet of flat webbing tied with a water knot to create a loop). A paddle float can add some extra stability for this method, but is not an absolute requirement. You can't loop the stirrup around a cockpit the way that you can on a sit-inside sea kayak, but you can place your paddle across the top of the kayak. Loop the stirrup around the shaft of the paddle on the opposite side of the kayak. Reach under the kayak and bring the stirrup below the hull to the side of the kayak that you are on. Wrap the stirrup around the paddle shaft on your side of the kayak as many times as needed to create a "stirrup" for you to put your foot in so that you can use your leg to step up onto the kayak - think of using the stirrup to get up on a horse. If you place an inflated paddle float on the paddle blade on the same side of the boat where you are before deploying the stirrup, you will have added support as you step up on the stirrup. Webbing doesn't float, so if you are worried about losing your stirrup, you can string a small piece of foam or other buoyant material on the stirrup to keep it from going to the bottom. Look for a certified instructor in your area who can work with you to learn and develop these skills.

  • edited August 23

    As is too often the unfortunate case, the OP made a one-time post on 8/19 and hasn’t been back here since then.

    Perhaps all the good ideas will help others with similar issues.

  • Check out this website's Safety Tip No. 6 - stirrup re-entry...

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!