You have always assumed that sitting properly in a kayak is quite easy, right? Well, that’s true, but only for experienced paddlers. If you have never tried it before, you will find your first few attempts a bit more complicated than you had imagined. Proper sitting in a kayak isn’t a matter of instinct and common sense, but something you have to learn and practice. That’s why when doing it for the first time, you definitely require some guidance.
Practicing proper sitting at home
It’s prudent to learn and practice correct sitting posture at home before you venture out onto the water. Practicing on land allows you to learn from your mistakes in a place where those mistakes are not risky. You can even practice in your living room — of course without a kayak — and try to find the right body position before testing it out in the actual kayak. But before every practice session with a kayak, you should always remember to stretch your body, particularly your hamstrings and lower back, to prevent injuries.
Let’s look at the steps you should follow to launch your kayak properly.
1. Setting up the kayak
Look for a safe and stable place both for you and your boat. Then bring your kayak to that soft grassy area to begin adjusting its outfitting. Start by adjusting the back braces, keeping them loose but still well supported. Turn to the foot pegs or foot supports and adjust them to a position that’s ideal for you to get into the boat comfortably but will be within reach of your feet once you get inside the kayak.
2. Getting into the kayak
Wear the same footwear you intend to use to paddle your boat when you test-fit its setup while still on land. Once inside the kayak, place your feet in front of the foot support or foot pegs, and make sure not to sit on the back support. If you find that either the back support or the foot pegs are preventing you from sitting properly in the kayak, get out and re-adjust them before trying again.
3. Adjusting the backrest
After you get inside and sit in your kayak, make sure your buttocks are properly placed in your seat’s contour. Then adjust the backrest so it provides enough support to your back. As a rule, position the backrest to ensure that your buttocks and lower back form a 90-degree angle with each other, and your chest is pushed forward slightly. Also, make sure the seat isn’t pushing your torso forward and that you aren’t leaning back in the seat. Depending on the nature of the backrest, you may have to get out of the kayak to make the necessary adjustments.
4. Setting the foot support and leg position
For you to achieve uniform pressure between the foot pegs and your feet, and between the thigh braces and your legs, place your feet on the foot pegs — making sure their balls rest on the foot pegs and angling your heels toward the kayak’s center while keeping your toes pointed outward. Likewise, bend your knees upward and outward, applying pressure on the thigh braces with your legs. It may be necessary to get out of the kayak to adjust the foot pegs to achieve proper orientation.
5. Testing the setup
Once you have adjusted everything properly and taken notice of the positions of the foot pegs and the backrest, you now can test the setup by trying various movements. For instance, you can lean back and forward, rock the boat side to side, and stretch your body when inside the kayak. Also, you can practice applying the forward stroke, making sure to maintain proper body posture.
That’s it. Now that you’ve got a setup that you are comfortable with and you know exactly how to position your legs, feet and lower back, you won’t have problems doing so in the water. So you can take your kayak out on the water and begin paddling. And by following the steps outlined above, you can be sure that your paddling venture will be much easier, safer and more delightful. For more kayaking tips, visit the “Captain Mike’s Kayak Academy’” site.
- George Sayour. (2018). How to Properly Sit in a Kayak. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-sit-in-a-kayak-2555947