Kayak – How to Sit: Tips and Tricks


Some of you might think that getting in your kayak and assuming the proper sitting posture is easy. However, you might be surprised that it takes more than just using your common sense. This fact holds true especially for beginners, in which they are most likely vulnerable to rookie mistakes. Sure, sitting properly in a kayak is not a difficult task to accomplish, but as this is your first time, you definitely need some guidance. The best part is that we are here to help you.

If you are curious as to how to properly sit in a kayak, then you are on the right page. Consider yourself lucky as we go about the basics of the proper sitting position in a kayak in this post. In addition to that, we will be discussing how different sit-inside kayaks are from sit-on-top kayaks, allowing you to do the correct process, depending on the kayak that you own. Keep on reading if you want to know more about the topic.

How to Sit in a Kayak

Before you attempt to venture out in the water, it would be a lot helpful for you if you try practicing first at home. In fact, you can practice the below steps in your living room (obviously, without the kayak). After all, the goal of this guide is to show you how to find the proper body position when sitting in your kayak. One last thing before we proceed, it is vital that you stretch before you get into your kayak, especially the lower back portion. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Set up the kayak

Once you’re done stretching, bring your kayak to a grassy area, a place where you can easily adjust your kayak’s outfitting. This part essential, as you need a place that is both safe and stable, both for your boat and your paddle.

First, the back brace. Try adjusting it in a way that it is supported yet a bit loose. Then, you need to adjust the foot pegs or the foot supports. The adjustment needs to be in a position that allows you to get in comfortably. To add, the foot supports need to be within reach once you are inside the kayak.

2. Get into your kayak

While you are still on land, you need to test the setup if it fits you perfectly. With this, get inside your kayak using the exact same footwear you are planning to use later on. Be sure not to sit on the kayak’s back support and that your feet are right in front of the foot supports. If either of the two is a hindrance when you get in the kayak, get out and make the necessary adjustments before you attempt to try again.

3. Adjust the kayak’s backrest

When you have successfully got inside your kayak, ensure that your butt is sitting comfortably in the seat’s contour. If not, adjust the backrest just so it provides your lower back with the necessary support. Keep in mind that if you are already leaning back in the kayak’s seat, you’re doing it wrong.

You also should not have your torso being pushed forward by the seat. For the correct position, the backrest needs to be positioned in a way that your butt and your lower back form a 90-degree. This may all depend on the type of your kayak’s backrest. So, if you feel the need to make certain adjustments, then you may do so.

4. Properly set the leg position and foot pegs

When you are on the sitting position with your back supported by the seat, place feet onto the foot pegs. Keep in mind that your toes must be pointed outward while your heels must be angled toward the kayak’s center. Additionally, your knees must be slightly bent upward, which will allow your legs to apply the needed pressure to your thigh braces.

While you are in this position, you will realize that there is a pressure between the foot pegs and your feet, as well as between your thigh braces and your legs. If you feel that you need to make adjustments, get out of the kayak and then adjust the foot pegs to your desire.

5. Practice sitting in your kayak

Once you find that everything has been adjusted to your specifications, take some time to notice the backrest and foot pegs’ positions. You may need to slightly rock your kayak from side to side, as well as forward and back. Doing so allows you to effectively stretch inside the kayak, so you can get comfortable inside it. We also do recommend that you practice the forward stroke while you maintain the proper sitting position.

6. You are now ready to go

Once you are comfortable with your kayak’s setup – foot positions, lower back, leg, you are now ready to take your kayak in the water.

The Difference Between Sit-inside and Sit-on-top Kayaks

Sit-inside kayaks look like the traditional kayak, with an open cockpit, in which the paddler climbs inside it and actually sits inside the kayak with his or her legs under the kayak’s deck. This may depend on the kayak’s style but this type of kayak allows you to brace your thigh and knees inside, which has been proven to have helped with more efficient paddling.

Sit-on-top kayaks, on the other hand, allows the kayaker to sit right on top of the deck. In this type of kayak, you wouldn’t be able to find an “inside”, which the paddler can inhabit in. If there is access inside the sit-on-top kayak, it would be one for storage. In addition, you would not find any deck area or cockpit, which are primarily used to keep the paddler’s top body dry.

Whether you choose the sit-on-top or the sit-inside kayak, you will find the above guide very useful. While both styles are safe to use, the stability, however, depends on certain design factors. Nonetheless, just refer to the step-by-step guide presented above and you will be on your way.


Now that we have reached the end of this post, we believe that you are now ready to get your kayak out in the water. If you ever feel in doubt about the proper way to sit in your kayak, you only need to refer to this guide and we are sure that the answer is here. As mentioned, it would be a lot helpful for you to practice sitting in your kayak while on dry land before you attempt to venture out in the water.

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