Exiting a kayak

Hey all, new guy here. I saw where it is generally an accepted method to exit a kayak using your paddle as an outrigger.

Is this generally accepted by all? Seems a bit harsh on the paddle. They ain’t cheap.




– Last Updated: May-28-16 8:29 PM EST –

what were you planning for the paddle ?

first step beginner's exit is roll the yak over into the water n crawl out.

you were practicing wet exits right ? so exit.

That reads dumb ? well, no there are inexplicable moments when you skill is not up the challenge n falling out, or bailing is easier than looking good.

second step is getting one leg out foot onto the bottom, both hands on combing, rise up placing your butt aft of the cockpit on deck there.

Then exit opposite the leg/foot on bottom.

Or fall into water until you get the hang of this.

Butbutbut if one needs sticking paddle into mud to stay upright then fersure do it..... butbutbut try not to pry with it. When its in the mud. Or rocks.

If you have a good paddle don’t do it.
when I was a beginner, I used to exit it using the paddle, because that is what the book says.

I never would do it that way now with a $300 paddle, and haven’t done it that way in years.

Jack L

Books and videos
As Jack says, that’s the way some show it, but unless you have a “wood chopper” POS paddle, there are better ways that are kind to the paddle. No way would I do that with my Ikelos or any of my quality paddles.

It is widely done
I assume you mean placing the paddle transversely just behind the cockpit coaming with one blade braced on shore to stabilize the kayak while entering.

Yes, this is widely done and even taught, but I agree with the others that it can lead to a broken paddle. Years ago, Homer King who made the excellent Silver Creek wooden whitewater paddles, told me that most of the paddles he got back for repair of broken shafts were wrecked this way.

Me deciding…
…to stop using my paddle for this purpose was the main reason I quickly got good balance. Paid off in many other ways.

Not Accepted by Me

If you use the paddle as an outrigger to enter or exit, use it for balance, not support. Keep your weight on the hand on the boat and your feet. If you see the paddle shaft or blade flexing it is too much weight.

Your pressure on the shaft should be about what a young lady puts on your arm while walking down stair in high heels. :slight_smile:

Not if you can help it
They show it to new paddlers, who are usually also using cheapo paddles that they don’t personally care about. And there are people who, due to various physical issues, have to get in and out of a kayak this way.

People also get shown this to try and limit how wet their feet will get… IMO not really a worthy goal if you are in a paddle boat to start with.

But it is an idea better avoided if you can. Not only does it risk breaking your paddle, it means that one boat ties up a significant amount of shoreline to get launched. In a group that becomes a PITA.

Its what I use both in and out. I weigh around 200 lb and have a fused lower back. Never broken a paddle doing this. I paddle an Impex Currituck which has a relatively small cockpit. Its nice if you do not have to use this method but do not hesitate if it helps.

so true

Getting in and out.
Think of your kayak as if it were a very low slung sports car. Stand next to it in the water, lift your right leg into the cockpit. As you hold onto the boat on both sides of the coaming in one motion, slip your butt into the seat and slide your right leg down into the boat. That leaves your left leg hanging out. Slosh whatever sand, or dirt off your left foot and bring it into the boat. You should be able to slide the left leg down into the boat unless your cockpit is too tight, or the deck is too low. If that is the case, you might have to lift yourself up a little to be able to slide your left leg down.

Getting out is the reverse of the above. At first, the whole thing might be very clumsy and you might get wet, but if you practice a lot, it becomes second nature. You might want to try it with the boat on your lawn a few times to start training your body. In the water, it will actually be at least as easy once you figure out how tippy the boat is going to be.

I have never found a boat that this doesn’t work on, but then I haven’t and wouldn’t try it on a boat with one of those itty bitty round cockpits.

Exiting a kayak
Thanks all, it didn’t seem to be a good idea to use a paddle. Seems that most agree and if you do, do so carefully with little stress on the paddle.

I will learn to do so by other methods, generally with my butt just behind the cockpit with much care in and out.

Thanks again, I appreciate the input.


was taught as a bastardization of a bonified method used by the Greenland seal hunters. It was used to enter a small tight fitting ocean cockpit from a deep drop off rocky shore…HOWEVER…the paddle was floated not planted , to the deep water as a dampener. since the original built Greenland paddle has an inherit amount of flotation as part of it’s design {much of this has been carved away lately to lower the weight of the paddle for impressing people as to how light the paddle can be made}

The new modern foam cored Euro paddles now have some amount of flotation…but the prior ones don’t really have any to spare, so the grind for support method evolved.

many times the Greenland paddler would put the paddle under the deck lines on the FRONT of the kayak and then had their hands free to aid in wiggling into the kayak. with non bungee material for lines this works…it doesn’t when the kayak is equip t with bungees.

The hands placed behind the paddler for entering, is a very awkward position which can, by itself lead to unbalance. This method also is worthless when entering or exiting if there is any wave action at all. The method of getting in an out the way you would when getting into a car is worth practicing and perfecting.

If there are no waves,and the kayak is placed in about 4 to 6 inches of water, as you enter it slightly grounds and balances itself on the bottom…no need to “Grind The Paddle” when there is no wave acting…and when there is wave action…the method turns to very little value if any at all.

Best Wishes


Yes, and even in deep water!
I use my paddle to stabilize the boat every time I get in and out of the boat, which I have done roughly 800 times.

You don’t have to put all your weight on the paddle. Just put ten pounds of force on your paddle to help hold the boat in place when you get in. In fact, you can do use this paddle brace in deep water, depending on the buoyancy of your paddle. Since the paddle is only floating, you can’t lean on it much, but you get enough support to get in. Just lean on the paddle a very little, but enough to steady the boat while you plant your butt where it needs to go. Qualifier–I’m talking Greenland paddle here. Plenty of buoyancy.


Use the paddle for balance
Not support. On my boat with a shorter cockpit I use the paddle vertically for balance after getting most of the way in. Or I’ll scull for support while getting the rest of the way in.

reading here
we see where Greenland paddles are buoyant n several paddlers use paddle for balance…n when these paddlers write abt this you may read some thought juggling going on about just what it is they are doing…

This was the problem I encountered trying the paddle as a get in brace…keeping in mind I cannot chew gum n walk.

One is you’re getting in you and the hull and the water…then you think well maybe the paddle is useful as a brace ?

Now you have paddle added to hull and water.

‘Like’ there was difficulty with the hull and water now its…

BTW this argument is explicit here but cast abt n remeber the same argument is used dissing the Roll Aid…a device requiring only remebering to pull on it.

In Fact
we can state an unbreachable rule:




Exiting a kayak
Thanks everyone for responding. I got the message, no exiting a kayak using a paddle. GOT IT!


use the paddle…
don’t break it prying

idea is practice entry and exit…see utube.

practice ! that is instead of getting in n paddling off…

get in get out get in get out 10 times then paddle off.

when good at this…rember some stand up n fish from QCC’s or so they tell.

try the Kodiak Bear entry !