getting out gracefully ?????

hello…is there a way for a 52 yr old… overweight person to exit a kayak without too much trouble?..i love kayaking…have spent too much time sitting on the sidelines watching others have all the fun…so we bought nice pamlico 120…kayaks…getting in…no major problem…getting around the lake …wonderfull…great exersise for the upper body. peacefull…even taking photos of eagles and osprey…getting out…mmmmmm another story…help !!!any tips…i dont plan to be overweight forever…cant miss out on the fun…

it’s a matter of doing the ungraceful

Instead of trying to do a backwards push-up pretend you’re in a yoga class and do the ungracefull act in one smooth motion. That way people will figure that’s the way it’s supposed to be done,which is good enough for me.

When I get out at a low dock I’ll roll up and over on my hands and knees on the dock then stand up. Samething I’d do in a surf landing and I’m tired. I’m not 150lbs anymore and it’s just not worthwhile to strain the shoulders.

Slide up onto the rear deck

– Last Updated: Aug-28-06 11:54 AM EST –

Just behind the seat - then get out using the paddle to brace if needed. The most common issue for people in shallow water exits seems to be getting their legs tangled up and then off balance in the exit part. Getting up onto the back deck (oops - major correction was needed there) will give your legs more room.
For a high dock - experiment and find what works. Those are tougher.
Or get wet and look like you meant to do it.

sometimes I do that
Make it look like I was hot from paddling and just roll myself over and out.

Then I just sat there in the water cooling myself off and wishing I was thin.

I’d probably have to wet exit regardless, part of my knee are not in my knee. The surgeon cut them out so it wouldn’t hurt anymore.

getting out…
thank you…any tips are helpful…i really had a hard time going from the sit for a few hours position to standing and exiting the kayak…hubby was amused at first…then i became very upset…then i just grabbed hold of his arm and got out…but i need to get out with no help…as i want to kayak alone sometimes…thank di

Thanks for the correction!
I was getting confused there.

I once distributed a memo to all folks at work referring to “dock doors” but with an unfortunate misspelling.

BTW, this method is my preferred one too.


And you are still hearing about that at lunch and office parties I bet. At least any comeback on this board is in virtual space.

Some tips
I assume you’re exiting in very shallow water, like on a sloping beach. While practicing, just run the kayak right onto the sand so it’s supported by ground. Those few scratches won’t be too bad (seriously).

Then you’re putting the paddle blade on the rear deck right behind the hole (coaming)and sticking the other paddle blade out sideways from the boat (like an outrigger).

Put both hands behind you and grip the edge of the coaming and the paddle blade. It’s helpful to lean a very little on the outrigger paddle side, maybe just tip your head a little that way.

Plant feet on the bottom of the kayak, and push back with your legs. Don’t try and push with your arms. If they’re like mine, they are weak and spaghetti like, you’re arms just provide a little tiny push and some guidance. The legs do all of the heavy work. Also, you’re not trying to lift your butt, your just sliding it up your seat or backband and almost but not quite onto the edge of the back deck.

Roll your body back a little so most of your upper back is on the back deck (sort of). Now lift one leg and then the other so they are dangling outside the kayak. If you’re like me you’re short and they aren’t going to reach the bottom. This is the most ungainly and difficult part, do not imagine what you look like!

Now, sort of rock forward with one hand and grab the front of the coaming with one hand and get a good grip. Then grab with the other. Pull with your hands and the kayak slides back, your upper body slides/rolls forward and your feet finally touch the bottom and you’re now crouching over the kayak with your feet on the bottom.

Keep sliding the kayak back until you’re standing and the kayak is floating behind you.

There’s a picture of someone athletic doing this somewhere on and it helped me get the concept. It’s more about balancing and using your strong leg muscles and leverage. The key is that you don’t need to be fully sitting on the back deck, just half sort of sitting.

I’m short and fat and have no flexibility and my left shoulder is gimpy from a bike accident many years ago. Plus I’m not naturally athletic and am somewhat of a klutz. You can do this just fine.

Once you get it, you’ll be able to do this in a few inches of water, with small waves, and with the wind pushing the kayak around a bit. And worst case, you fall out and get wet and try not to look too stupid to the onlookers!


Cindy (a beginner with no skills who doesn’t want any skills and stays in warm, quiet water…this works for me but I make no claim that it’s a good way or that anyone should copy me)

Cindy got it!
I’ve found it much easier to exit the narrower Tern than the wider America but I discovered

the technique Cindy described and it works for a 63yo guy who’s limberness left decades ago.


– Last Updated: Aug-28-06 7:33 PM EST –

That's why I love my RM Chatham. I just run the puppy up on the beach, rocks, whatever, and get out. No overwhelming need to baby it. No gel coat, fiberglass, kevlar or other expensive exotic material and huge investment to worry about. I'll be looking for a new boat way before the dings, dents and scratches I've attained through my loving abuse become an issue! And I do this 2-3 outings a week, 2-3 times per outing! Not very helpful as far as technique and guidance in answer to your question, and the purists on the board are probably smokin', but hey, it works for me.

yeah but…
What do you do when the back of the seat is higher than the back deck? How does one push up and over without breaking it?

Thanks for this post. The very human and sometimes comical responses have really brought a smile to my face. Nice to see too that I am not the only 50 something who struggles with exiting a kayak.


running it up on the beach
Try running it up onto the beach, as previous posters suggested, but do it backwards. so the stern of the kayak is on the sand, not the bow. This will make sure the boat is staying put under your rear end as you try all the ungainly maneuvers. And there’s nothing wrong with just gently tipping to the side and falling out on a hot day. You can also practice on land, in the privacy of your yard, until you feel comfortable getting up without pulling on your husband’s arm.

Roll over in cockpit and climb out
I’m 250 and paddle a Valley Skerray with a small sea cockpit. I come up sideways to a beach, working the kayak as far up the beach as I can.

Then I put paddle behind the cockpit and out to the high side(if possible)like an outrigger, twist and roll my body over so that I am on my hands and knees with my hands on the coaming and the paddle. Work my feet free and step out.

My near side hand starts holding the paddle to the coaming and as my body twists the other hand

ends up on the paddle just outside kayak thereby

placing some weight on the paddle blade.

Works most of the time. I’ve nevered landed on a dock.

Sometimes, I have thought it would be easier to

just roll the kayak and fall out.

Still do the same
You just have to be able to push up high enough to clear the seat back with your arms. If you paddle regularly you should, under normal circeumstances, be able to support your torso with your arms.

But for the most part a boat with a seat like that, as much recliner as anything, is usually also pretty wide with a large cockpit. It’ll take a lot of jostling without tipping and the stretch to get your legs clear shouldn’t be all that bad.

Not recommended
if you have a skeg! You’ll get all kinds of stuff jammed in there!

Had it down pat
Got out of the tern the other morning with nary a problem…stood, walked 2 feet and both feet went out from under me on the slippery bottom.

Somedays gracefull simply isn’t in the dictionary.