How and where you sit in your kayak can determine what kind of boating experience you are going to have. Your sitting position will greatly influence how well your vessel moves on the water and how fast you can get back into the kayak if it flips over.
Sitting properly will also ensure smooth paddling because you will be able to move your core muscles freely and even after the trip, you won’t have to deal with the cruel kayak aches and pains.
Ideally, the weight should be evenly distributed in the boat to maintain stability. That way, even if you make an edge, your vessel will not tip.
How To Sit In A Kayak
Sitting in a kayak is not hard but if you are new to the game, it would be wise to learn how it is done so you can have an enjoyable boating experience. Before heading out onto the waters, practice proper sitting position at your home. Here is how to sit in a kayak properly:
1. Get Your Kayak Ready
Bring your kayak to your backyard or any place that has some soft grass so you can adjust its outfitting. If yours is an inflatable kayak, make sure that the place you are setting it up is free of sharp objects.
Start by adjusting the rear brace to get it a little loose. Next, adjust the footpegs or foot supports to a position where you can comfortably get into your kayak and still be able to reach the foot support with your feet after you have settled inside.
2. Get Inside The Kayak
Test fit the set up while still on dry land. Wear the boat shoes or water shoes you intend to paddle with and get inside the watercraft. Check to see that your feet can comfortably reach the footpegs. If any of the foot supports feels uncomfortable or gives you trouble while getting inside the boat, get out, make the necessary adjustments, and try again.
3. Make Adjustments To The Backrest
When you sit in the kayak, ensure that your butt fits snugly onto the shape or contour of the seat. Make the necessary adjustments to the backrest so that your back is provided with enough support when you sit. This will make your paddling much easier and even more enjoyable.
While at it, make sure that the seat doesn’t force your upper body forward or make you lean back more than you need to. Position the backrest such that the lower part of your body including your backside forms a 90˚ angle with your upper body. Depending on your seat and the backrest type, you may want to get back out and make adjustments.
4. Adjust The Position Of The Foot Support
Your legs will play a huge role in bracing and propelling your kayak, so make sure they are positioned properly. Sitting in your kayak with your back properly supported by the seat, place your feet on the footpegs. Your heels should be pointing toward the central part of the boat and the toes should be pointing outward.
Bend your knees outward and upward to allow the legs to exert pressure on the hip braces. This is the right way to position your legs and feet on the foot support. It might come in handy when doing a kayak edge and bracing stroke. You may want to get out of the vessel to adjust your footpegs further.
5. Practice Being In A Kayak
Once you have adjusted everything, note the position of the footpegs and backrest. Lean back and forward and hold your kayak paddle to feel whether your hands and body can move freely. This would also be the best time to practice a kayak wet exit and reentry just to be sure you are on the right track.
6. Time To Go
Having known how to sit in a kayak properly, you can now proceed to take your boat out onto the water. Get at the right posture, grip your paddle, and ride the heck out of that boat!
Where To Sit In A Kayak
The best place to sit in a kayak will be at a spot where your weight is distributed equally. Your kayak will perform the best if the load is evenly distributed.
But where to sit in a kayak will also depend on how many people are in it. If you are two people let the person who is more experienced in kayaking sit in the back, especially if you are adventuring in rough waters. Since the rear is where the steering happens, the skilled boater will have a better idea of where to direct the boat.
On such occasions when there are two people in a kayak or canoe, it would also be best to put the heavier person in the rear. But striking the balance between who is heavier and who is the most experienced can be difficult. So make sure that both of you have learned how to kayak as well as basic kayak self-rescue skills just in case you find yourself in a sticky situation.
If you are three of you, then things will be a little complicated for the third person because chances are high there will be only two kayak seats available. While not all kayaks come with an extra seat for the third person, they usually can withstand the weight of three or even four people.
Let the heaviest person sit in the middle. It is crucial that they sit on the floor but not the sides of the kayak. This is to avoid raising the center of gravity, which could cause the boat to flip over.
Globo Surf Overview
Assuming the right kayak sitting posture is the first thing you need to master before you take your boat out onto the water. The above guide on how and where to sit in a kayak lays out the basics of achieving the right sitting stance. Just remember to do a few body stretches especially on your lower back and the hamstrings before getting on that seat.
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- Paddling Posture, paddleeducation.com