A guide on how to get back up on a sit on kayak after a flip

Most people choose to enjoy kayaking on the calm waters that encompass the UK, but there are also plenty of people who like to test themselves in slightly more challenging conditions. If you are one of these people and you’re relatively new to the sport or just getting to the level where you can progress, then you want to make sure that you’re prepared for all eventualities.


This time we will be focusing on what you should do if you’re using a sit-on-top kayak, and you capsize. Using a sit-on vessel means it’ll be slightly easier to re-seat yourself the right way up and you’ll want to understand the process before pushing into the water. After all, you don’t want to end up paddling back to the shore as you drag your vessel behind you.

It’s also worth noting that if you have bought one of our sit-on kayaks for sale you should try the process in shallow, calm waters so that you practice and get a feel for it in a safe environment.

  • Try flipping your kayak over. To carry this out you will need to reach across the bottom of the boat while you’re floating on the water, upright, grab the edge of the boat.

  • Next, lift your knees up until they’re touching the top of your kayak. At this point you will have flipped over. Lean back, pull the kayak towards you, and feel the kayak flipping over as you rotate.

  • Make sure your paddle is nicely tucked up into the deck lines to avoid it escaping – you’ll need it! Alternatively, you can choose to hold on to the paddle with one hand and do the previous steps using the other free hand. Slightly trickier to get the job done, but it’s also a good skill to have in your locker.

  • At this point, where the kayak has flipped up the right way, position yourself so that your body is near the depression of where you would normally sit and you’re not facing away from the vessel.

  • Allow yourself to float on your stomach at the same time as holding onto the side of the kayak. You should also be comfortable with having your feet floating near the surface of the water.

  • It’s time to get in! So, reach across the depression and take hold of the edge of the kayak on the far side.

  • Lift yourself up onto the kayak as if you were pulling your body across the boat. Gently kick your feet to assist in the process of ‘getting back to the helm’.

  • Once your belly is on the boat, roll yourself round so that you are on your bottom then shimmy back to the correct seated position again.

  • Collect the paddle and away you go!


Watch how it’s done, here:


Video courtesy of: KayakFishingTales under Creative Commons.

Image: Mike Baird under Creative Commons.

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