How to Sit in a Whitewater Kayak
To have control over your kayak properly in the water, you need to have a good balance and connection with your kayak. Having good balance means knowing how to sit in the kayak.
If you are a beginner, it’s a little be complicated but not to worry, you just need little be of guidance from someone.
Most of the time, you want your whitewater kayak or a kayak that you are using to be balanced so that your weight is equally distributed over the front and back of the boat.
This will allow the kayak to travel through the water with the least resistance and drag.
Where you have a direct connection with the kayak is right inside the cockpit. Inside the cockpit, you will find the seat, the hip pads on both sides of the seat, the back band, the thigh braces on each side of the kayak, the footpegs or foot braces.
Steps to help you Sit on Whitewater Kayak
Step1: Setup the Kayak
Bring the kayak to an open flat area so that you can properly adjust the kayak outfitting to your taste. you need to be in a safe and stable environment to do this.
To set your kayak up, you need to sit inside the seat, once you are seated, start by adjusting the back band until you are supported in an upright position yet still in a loose position.
Next, adjust the foot braces to a position that will allow you to get into the kayak comfortably and still be within reach of your feet when you are seated inside the cockpit.
Step 2: Test fit your kayak while still on land
Sit inside your kayak with your footwear that you intend to paddle with. This time be careful not to mess with the back band again. Let your feet be in front of the foot braces.
If either prevents you from getting into the whitewater kayak, get back out and adjust accordingly and try again. remember the foot braces are adjustable.
Step 3: Adjust the back band
You’re going to be seated in the kayak and you’re going to pull up the back band so that it allows you to sit up nice and straight in the kayak. So there’s an adjustment.
You would have your hip pads here so that you’ve got just enough room to, perhaps put your fingers down between your hips and the hip pads so that they’re not applying too much pressure.
So just about here. Some people like them tighter, some like them looser but you wouldn’t want a lot of slack room in between, nor would you want them so tight that they were uncomfortable.
Step 4: Set the foot braces and your legs in position
To adjust your legs position well inside the kayak, you need to have the balls of your feet on the for braces.
With your heels angle toward the center of the kayak and your toes should be pointing outward. Your knees should bend upward and outward, allowing your legs to apply pressure to the thigh braces.
If you are seated well in this position, you will notice there is slight uniform pressure between your feet and foot braces and between your legs and the thigh braces.
The foot braces are what adjusts the curvature of your leg to fit into the thigh brace, so you’ll need to have your foot braces pulled back far enough so that it is easy when you’re relaxed to keep your leg engaged with the thigh brace, but not so tightly that you can’t just slide your heels together and remove your legs.
Step 5: Practice sitting in the kayak
Now that you have adjusted the back band, the footpegs, place your thighs well on the thigh braces, you can gently lean forward and backward and rock the kayak side to side, effectively stretching in the kayak to get comfortable in it.
A good way to test this is to sit in your kayak on the water and get someone to look at your side profile. Ask them a few questions to help you find out how your kayak sits and use this to help guide you in your seat setting and position.
You can now sit your kayak on the water and with someone watching you, you ask a few questions to ensure that you are well balanced.
Examples of questions might be;
It there more of my bow sticking out of the water or the stern?
Is the boat sitting level or titling forwards or back?
Is the rail along with the side profile of the boat sitting parallel to the water?
You must remember, there is no set right or wrong position. It all depends on the paddler. However, you would want to get your kayak evenly balanced while you are in the water to help you paddle smoothly.
These questions are only to guide you to know if you are sitting too forward or too backward.
Depending on your height and leg length you may or may not be able to adjust where you can sit in the boat.
Hopefully, you found these tips helpful in your whitewater kayaking adventure.