Exit sit in kayak advise?

I bought a Current Designs Gulfstream (http://www.mountainmanoutdoors.com/current-designs-gulfstream.html) I’m comfortable when I am in it.

It has an ocean cockpit.

How do I learn to slide my bum up from the cockpit and onto the deck so I can exit? I have trouble lifting my knee up while seated.

Any youtubes, instructions, exercises? Is there a body measurement to tell me it won’t work? It has a touring cockpit 30" long. 16.5 wide.

I love the boat and I’ll train and lose weight to enjoy it this spring! All help appreciated!

You can place some nonskid tape on back deck on each side to keep hands from slipping when you push up on rear deck. I cut two pieces in octagon shape about 4" for my CD Nomad . Cockpit is 29.5 x 15.5 . I am 6’ 225. Lb. 36" inseam.

Did you try it before you bought it?
Your height and weight is?

Size 11 shoes

How were they to deal with up there? Three times I called for left over CD kayaks three times they then told me price listing was an error and raised price.

Just to be sure: Is it also impossible for you to lift one knee out if you move the other knee to the side under the cockpit coaming?

If this is possible, it will be the easiest method. One knee up. Same leg over the side of the kayak so you dip your foot in the water. Then repeat with the other knee/leg. You end up sitting in the seat with a foot in the water on each side of the kayak. If you do it on the water with no support, you will probably need to do some sculling for support.

If you can’t do it one leg at the time, and you problem is that you can’t keep the balance while you enter the reardeck, you can put the paddle behind you for support and rest one hand on the paddle on each side of the kayak while you slide up on the reardeck. It is easiest if one paddle blade can rest on the sea bottom with the paddle extended to that side (requires very shallow water and). But it will also help a bit on open water if you remember to turn the paddle blades parallel to the water surface for support.

If you exit at a low jetty, place one hand on the jetty and the other hand on the cockpit coaming behind you, directly over the centre line of the kayak so you don’t capsize the kayak when you push down. Then pull yourself out of the cockpit and up on the jetty. Having the paddle behind you with one end on the jetty will also help here, but you risk breaking the paddle shaft with your weight if you are not careful.

I bought 2nd hand.

If the cockpit measurements you gave are correct then you have a keyhole cockpit, not an ocean cockpit. The latter would be something like 18" wide, by 20" long. So double check. Then you can find on-line videos for the appropriate cockpit e.g.

do a search on “kayak keyhole cockpit exit”

There should be a usable video out there.

Here’s an informative article by Bryan Hansel on ocean and keyhole cockpits, with a good illustration:


The 180° roll works.

Probably a better search string would be
“how to exit a kayak”

I am finding many/most videos show entry and exit using the paddle as an outrigger. This works but there is a likely result at some point, especially if you are a big person … you will break your paddle. If your flexibility is such that you need the paddle as an outrigger, put minimal weight on the paddle and try to evolve until you don’t need the paddle. Carrying a spare paddle is always a good idea anyway.


Knowing it’s a “standard” cockpit size and that there are methods for it helps.

If you use the paddle as a brace keep the length you use short. It will be less likely to break.

Wayne H. from University of
Sea Kayaking who made videos is probably 6-3 and has. Gulfstream for years. Check out his videos. He has a FACEBOOK page.

Some vids on YouTube. Depends on age, strength, weight, which one will be reasonable for each person. Where do you launch from mostly? For.me it’s a floating dock or sandy beach.

One question which seems to need an answer - are you able to put your hands on the deck behind the seat and lift yourself onto the back deck with your arms, and/or get any help by pushing on your feet? If you have a keyhole cockpit you should be able to get your knees up to help. There may be some capsizing at first. But in shallow stuff that creates one minor problem, you are wet, while solving the bigger one of exiting the kayak. Now you are sideways and can just slide out.

This approach works well for a dock because it gets you partway up to start.

Pulling your legs out one at a time them getting out works for me, it is my usual approach, but it does make for a harder lift because you are coming from deeper down. For the first time ever I actually had a problem managing that in a kayak this last summer, somehow this boat I was in and my state of energy made what had always been thoughtless into a huge effort. I still don’t know what the heck that was about, but it is a factor in some of the ways to exit.

Stretching improves flexibility. There are many videos of recommended exercises for paddlers on the web.


Strength training helps too. Work on triceps, shoulders and abdominals.

My Current Designs Extreme is tight for me at 29.5". I scraped my shins getting out. The other one is an Extreme HV. I also moved the seat back which makes it a breeze to get out do much easier. Now I have over an inch clearance. Makes it easier for beach landing legs pop right out fast which is good if it’s rough. Leaving I get on back deck and slide in.

I have this problem too. Gravity challenged stiff old man getting out of kayak can be entertaining if you are an observer. Especially with healed/sensitive wrist and opposing bad knee. Here are a few things I do. 1. Use the paddle as a balance item not a structure. Put too much weight on it and it will do bad things. It may push the boat sideways. Put paddle out to the shallow side back behind the cockpit. Keep everything 90 degrees. If the boat moves fore or aft and the paddle braced out to the side goes aft the boat will be tippy. Don’t use a paddle leash. 2. Don’t use help steading kayak. People want to help but they often keep the boat from moving, edging, wiggling, etc. which makes me take up the slack and end up in the water. Awkward and rickety beats wet and cranky. 3. Don’t get too close to shore. Stop the boat in knee deep water so when you do get a leg out it can get under you and hold you up. 4. The hardest thing may be pushing up with your hands to raise the butt onto the back of the seat. There are strength exercises for this. sit on the floor. Place hands at sides of the butt on the floor. Do a push up. Just placing pressure no lift required. In the boat, start from an upright, butt back position in the seat. Slouching puts pressure at the wrong angle. 5. Just capsize in waist deep water, wet exit and pull the boat to shore. This is a little extreme, but effective. 6. Do it more often. Nothing gets easier without repetition.

Learn to get in and out of the boat in the water (about 6") as if you were getting in and out of a very low sports car. I have a Sirocco (same as Gulf Stream) and it is extremely easy to get in and out of. It does take some practice, but it works better than any other way–as long as you have a shallow spot. I trained myself to always enter and exit from the left side and never bothered to learn from the other side. There’s no sitting on the back deck. It does take a fair amount of balance and arm strength–especially for getting out, but it can be done even in wavy conditions with enough practice.

I knew of a C-1 whitewater boater years ago whose legs and feet went so numb while paddling that he would be unable to exit the boat in a normal fashion. He would find a tree with a low limb overhanging the river and use it to pull himself out of the boat. I suppose that would work for a kayaker.