best way to avoid getting water in kayak

I hate to ask a dumb question, but, what is the best way to avoid getting water in a kayak while paddling?

I tried not raising each paddle blade very high out of the water with each stroke, but water still seems to drop in.

I do have little rubber water guards on the paddles.

I have experience canoeing, not kayaking.

I have an open kayak (inflatable) now, a recent used purchase for little money, and am considering something better, IF its design will make getting our legs soaked a thing of the past…

My paddling companion is my young son (4).



Water will follow the paddle and drip…
Period. Get a skirt to keep your legs dry.

Drip Rings on the Paddle Shaft
A very, very simple, cheap fix exists - Drip Rings

Look around at a local Kayak Shop or use Internet

It’s a water sport dude …
Like they say at Seaworld … if you don’t want to get wet, don’t sit in the front 10 rows.

why a kayak?
next issue will be getting in synch paddling with your son. Go back to a canoe. Vertical blade, no need to get that timing together, and more room for putting stuff kids find and just need to take home.

Couple things
THe rubber things are drip rings but I’ve got some boat/paddle combos where they just don’t work and that’s probably your situation.

A longer paddle let’s you use a lower angle so there’s a better chance the drips go outside.

A smaller cockpit was the biggest improvement I had in keeping drips out, they hit the side of the boat instead.

You can get a splash deck which is a half skirt but if it’s a big open cockpit the water puddles on the splash deck until it reaches critical mass and dumps all at once.

Cheapest fix, Get a 99 cent tile sponge from Lowes/home depot to get the water out and wear swim trunks.

If I don’t get wet…
…then I must be doing something wrong. With boating, getting wet is part of the deal.

I’m not sure that I can see any way to pull kayaking off with a four year old on board.

You might check out some of the kayaks made by Hobie Cat, like the Mirage Outfitter which is designed for two:

Or the Hobie Odyssey:

If money is an issue, check the classifieds.

Happy Hunting.


– Last Updated: Apr-08-12 12:13 AM EST –

I have two suggestions for not getting wet, leave it in the garge, or if it's a higher end boat, sell it to me for a steal.

I will repeat what an instructor told a young lady at a demo I was at after she was daintily trying to enter the boat without getting wet. "honey, inherently this is a wet sport, you can try as much as you'll like, but you will get wet."

I found that with experience, something
changed about my kayak stroke so that the paddle didn’t drip near as much anymore. I suggest working on stroke improvement and try to ignore the dripping.

I have a four year old granson, and I’d rather take him in a canoe than in a long cockpit kayak. There really isn’t a well-defined place for the kid to sit in front of you in a kayak, while in a canoe, you can get him seated and even let him mess with a short, narrow blade paddle.

Get rid of the inflateable.
get a hard sided sit inside and use a spray skirt.

Jack L

My wife and I
are life long open boaters and we recently decided to buy a couple of kayaks. I stayed out of her decision making about what sort of kayak to purchase thinking it was best that she get advice from someone else with kayak experience. She ended up getting a pungo which she says she loves. I ended up getting a WS Zephyr. I wear a skirt and I don’t get wet from paddling - only getting in and out and rolling. She does not wear a skirt and she has a steady stream of water coming in on top of her legs on each paddle stroke. Yea, you can reduce it - but I think it is part of the game. I don’t think a skirt is practical on a big cockpit rec boat like that so I have not suggested it to her. I honestly don’t understand why she selected a rec boat but it was her call and she seems happy so I guess that is a good thing.

I agree with others suggesting an open canoe and single blade when paddling with your grandson.

Bingo! or …
Build a paddle shaped like a downward V so the angle of the paddle shaft never goes above the shear of the inflatable.

“the inflatable wing”

Inflatables are wet
Unless they are the fancy ones you can put a skirt type arrangement on.

If it is you and your son, the closed deck options are more complicated. I’d suggest that you invest in pants that will keep you dry in colder weather, and prepare to be wet in warmer weather. The drip rings, in a particularly wide boat like the inflatables, just focus the drip to a few spots inside the boat. And they never worked worth a darn for us in a touring kayak either, skirts a better idea but that’s not an option in your paddling situation.

If I don’t have at least a half a cup of water in my kayak at all times then something is wrong. ;-]

Embrace the water, it’s a wet sport.

only one way.
I know of only one way to keep waterr out of your kayak…

leave the boat in a waterproof bag in a shed.

once you get on the water, you will get wet.

the only thing you can do is reduce the amount of water dripping in by adjusting stroke and drip-rings.