Bad luck to step over a kayak?

-- Last Updated: Feb-08-09 7:29 PM EST --

Hi all,

Is it bad luck to step over a kayak? I seem to recall such a thing. My problem, though, is that the 'yak takes up most of my kitchen and all of my livingroom, so getting around it is difficult.

Is there an exception for being inside or anything?

I look forward to spring. This is getting ridiculous!

Beats steppin’ on 'em. NM

Only if there’s a black cat in it NM

Throw some salt over your shoulder
and you will be OK.

Whatever you do, Don’t
drink from the far side of the cup.


hope not
…just don’t try to step over 2 at the same time, they say that’s bad luck, or painful. I forget which.

how high are your ceilings
Can you hang it overhead?

It’s only bad luck
if you are stepping over your kayak to get to your golf clubs or snow skis. Step into your boat and get onto the water. It felt like spring here in Virginia this weekend. The paddling was great!

The house is a rental, so I don’t want to damage it. I was thinking of maybe making two tall stands, like stepladders. That will need to wait for now, though.

Hooks in the ceiling would need to be pretty robust, I expect, and the ceiling is stippled, so I will have to consult someone on that.

Thanks for the suggestion.

cockpit up or down?

Bad luck kayak superstitions
I’ve never heard that stepping over a kayak is bad luck. I’m not superstitious, but I hope you find a batter storage solution for your kayak.

When I was first learning to kayak one of my instructor asked the group “who’s boat is this” and pointed to my kayak on the trailer. I said that it was mine and asked what the problem was. I knew that I had tied it on securely and correctly. He said that it was on the trailer “backwards” ( stern towards the front of the trailer, bow towards the back ) and that it was bad luck. I told him to go fly a kite. I knew that he was just kidding and didn’t let it bother me. Nothing bad happened to me, no bad luck that day, but I’ve never loaded a boat “backwards” again. I told my wife about that little experience when I got home and it became our habit to always load our boats bow towards the front of the vehicle. We never mentioned this to anyone else.

On a subsequent trip a year or two later, another instructor from the same company pulled the same trick on another paddler named Ralph. I was there and told Ralph not to worry about it. I told him that they were just kidding him, but he got very worried and was nervous all day. Ralph kept waiting for something bad to happen to him. Near the end of the trip, Ralph got sideways in the current and hit a big flat rock. Ralph was leaning downstream, but he hit the rock with such speed and force that he and his kayak flipped and rolled over the rock. Ralph came out of his kayak and was a little banged up. The instructor asked me to help Ralph and he chased down Ralph’s equipment. Ralph was upset and I had a hard time convincing him to even walk downstream along the river bank to where his boat was waiting for him. He wanted to walk out, which was not an option, plus we were not very far from the take-out. We were scheduled for another trip the next day, but Ralph drove home that night after Dinner. I gave the instructors a really bad time the next day. I told them that they should be ashamed for spooking Ralph so bad and ruining his weekend. I think they felt bad about it. I kind of enjoyed it. I acted like I was really upset about it and kept giving them a bad time about it all day. I figured it was pay back for all the times they had teased someone about putting a boat on the trailer “backwards”.

Years later, my wife invited her niece’s husband, Erin, to paddle with us on a local river trip. Erin owns a canoe, but My wife let Erin paddle her kayak, since he wanted to try kayaking. I was trip leader that day and had some preparations to take care of, so I loaded my boat and left early for the put-in. My wife waited for Erin, and then they loaded their boats and met the rest of us at the put-in. As soon as they arrived I noticed that my wife’s kayak was on the rack “backwards”. She immediately saw me looking at it and discreetly explained to me that Erin had loaded that boat himself and that she didn’t want to discourage him from helping or say anything about “bad luck”. Neither of us mentioned it to anyone else. The trip went great and everyone was having a good time. Erin was doing splendidly paddling the kayak, until right at the end of the trip. With the take-out in sight, Erin flipped the kayak and went for a swim. It was a cool Spring day, but Erin maintained a good attitude and took the whole experience in stride. On the ride home we told him the story about loading a boat “backwards”. None of us are superstitious, but I don’t think Erin has ever loaded his boats “backwards” ever again either.

Bad luck to
be in a kayak. Try an open canoe, unless you have ugly knees.

In outrigger canoe culture
it brings the canoe bad luck to step over it. But I’m pretty sure that you’ll be okay, since we’re talking about a kayak in your house.

If you’re worried, you can say a Hawaiian prayer every time you do have to step over it:


O Ku ke kupuna o ka waa, <br /> (O Ku the ancestor of the canoe,) <br /> E ae mai i ka mahalo o kakou. <br /> (Accept our grattitude.) <br /> O Kane o ke ao holookoa, <br /> (O Kane of the universe,) <br /> E hoomakaukau i na hoku iloko o ka lani.

(Prepare the stars in the heavens.)

E Lono o na ao e hoalaneo ka lani, <br /> (O Lono of the clouds,) <br /> E hoakaka na hoku alakai. <br /> (Clear the heavens.) <br /> Moakaka na hoku alakai

(Make clear the guiding stars)

E Kanaloa o ke kai.

(O Kanaloa of the sea.)

Yes, it is
You are supposed to step into a kayak, and then spend as much time paddling it as you can…

not bad luck
bad ju-ju

Only when the kayak is floating
At all other times, it is acceptable to step over it.

  • Big D

In fact, perhaps now I am doomed. When I put my kayak on my roof racks, it stuck up, maybe 30 degrees. I figured this would not do, as wind would catch under it. I then turned it around and because the coaming is much higher in the front, it was close to level. As such, I will always be hauling it backwards.

Maybe the two will cancel one another out.

I mostly canoe, so with symmetrical canoes, it doesn’t matter much.

Pretty knees - in wetsuit
While normally I would agree, and I much prefer canoes, I thought I would try sea-kayaking a bit more,now that I am living on Lake Winnipeg. I want to play in the big waves, without all the bailing and such. Hopefully, I will gain more consistency in my roll. If I do, I know it will be due to persistence and practice, and not luck given my backwards hauling and step-overs.

Funny thing, though - the cargo space in that thing is perhaps 1/20th of a decent prospector!

I don’t know…
But all boats like to see where they are going. It’s best to paint eyes on the bow but they seem able to see without eyes.

Thus it is bad luck to carry them to the water stern-first. makes them nervous and then they get skittish all day. And most boats see driving to the water a part of getting there so insist on being hauled on car or trailer or kart or carried bow-first!

And when my life depends on 45# of plastic… I don’t want to upset either the boat or the Water Gods.

Here in Arizona, Kokopelli has a cousin who is the Water God. Actually there are three of them ,one for rafters, one for canoeists and one for kayakers. All three triplets seem to wander around in a group.

I don’t think that they want sacrifices or offerings, but it isn’t a good idea to laugh at them or discount their existance.

Bad Fang Schwey
Carrying you boat stern first on your car brings terrible luck