Landing in flat water
A sheltered sandy beach makes an ideal landing spot.
Generally you will land at 90 degrees to the beach, so you can push your bow high onto the sand to stabilise the kayak. You may choose to land parallel to the beach or a pontoon. If dodging rocks or coral you may need to exit in shallow water to avoid damage to the boat.
Here are some tips for landing:
- Stabilise the kayak as much as you can before you get out.
- For extra stability, place your paddle at right angles to the kayak behind your cockpit coaming, and lean on it while getting out.
- Have both feet out of the kayak and on a firm footing before you stand up.
Landing in small waves
In small surf or small breaking waves, take care to prevent injury to yourself and other kayakers.
It is generally recommended that you unleash your paddle for launching and landing to avoid entanglement.
When choosing your landing spot, avoid landing near swimmers or other kayakers.
Take some time to watch the waves before landing.
Only land one kayak at a time, and clear the beach before the next kayak comes in.
Tips for landing in small waves or surf:
- If landing in shallow water with wind or small waves, step out of the kayak on the ocean-side, so that the kayak won’t hit you in the shins.
- In rough or windy conditions, keep hold of the kayak to prevent it blowing away.
- Land on the back of a wave. The water will wash you higher up the beach, and as the wave recedes will leave you on firmer ground.
- At times you will need to deliberately slow yourself down on entry, to time your landing on the back of the wave.
- Land at 90 degrees to the beach. Let the wave push you high onto the sand, and exit the kayak as quickly as possible.
- Use your paddle behind the coaming if you need stability before getting out of the kayak.
- Get both feet planted firmly on the ground before standing up. Then drag your kayak quickly above the waterline.
- If you are stopping for a period of time, take your kayaks up high enough to prevent rising tides or wave breaks washing your kayak back into the water.
- You will often need to secure your kayak - a great use for your tow rope.
You will build on these same skills and techniques to land in surf or larger waves. Waves above 0.5m are beyond the scope of Basic Skills.