The Wet Exit- What Is It, How To Do It And Much More

Even if the wet exit sounds a bit scary for the entry-level kayakers, it’s in fact easier than it sounds. However, in order to get it right, you may still have to practice it. Last thing you want is to be forced to do it and not be able to do it right.

What is the wet exit?

Should you flip over in your kayak and you need to get out of your boat while you’re still in the water, it’s a wet exit that you’re trying to do. When the kayak has flipped over all, you must flip it back upright and only afterward climbing it back on. It’s a bit trickier to do a wet exit when you’re paddling a sit-in kayak (here’s a great selection of kayaks for river

Why practice the wet exit?

Why practice the wet exitNo matter how experienced you are, you know that it’s only a matter of time until your kayak is going to capsize. Learning how to do a wet exit is good not only for getting out of your kayak in a safe way when you flip, but also for teaching you how to stay under water in your boat. If you’re planning to try the kayak roll, the wet exit is going to help you a lot.

The lack of experience isn’t the main cause for this kind of accidents; it happens simply because the more you are on the water, the higher the chances for you to come in a situation when the wet exit is the only way out of your kayak. Even if you’re kayak is lightweight, you still have to practice the wet exit (check a great variety of lightweight kayaks here The weight of your kayak has nothing to do with the possibility of your kayak capsizing.

For keeping your odds nice and good, it’s best that you practice the wet exit before you actually go paddling your kayak. If you’re only using a sit-on-top kayak, it’s not mandatory that you learn how to do a wet exit. When you’re using a sit-on top kayak, you only need to flip it back over, climbing back in.

Nevertheless, there are several ways to get out of your boat and it doesn’t really matter which one you master. The most important thing is to do it right and to stay alive while doing.

Where to practice the wet exit?

kayaking wet exitThe swimming pool or a shallow water are the best choices for practicing the wet exit. If there is no swimming pool nearby, you should seek for a sheltered beach or a lake. Even if you’re going to have to perform the wet exit in troubled waters, it’s wiser to develop the skill the proper way right from the beginning.

Play it safe and get yourself a nose clip for kayaking so that no water goes up your nose. It’s also a wise thing not to do it alone. Have a friend nearby when you’re practicing the wet exit; even when practicing the things can turn south in no time.

If you’re lucky enough, you may never have to use the wet exit. But if there is even the slightest chance for you to need it (and when you’re kayaking, this never gets to zero), it’s always best to have had practice it before.

How to practice the Wet Exit on the bank

Getting out of your kayak on the bank is one to begin with so here are the steps to take for doing it right:

  • Choose a safe point on the bank and sit upright in a solid position on your boat
  • Put your hands on the cockpit plastic by your hips
  • Make sure that your knees are a bit released from the thigh grips and relax your legs
  • use your hands for pushing down the plastic by your hips. Use this pressure for sliding out of the kayak. Picture your kayak as a big pair of pants that you’re trying to take off.
  • Practice this until you really like how you’re sliding out of the kayak.

Doing the Wet Exit on the water the right way

Here are the steps you need to take when doing a wet exit without the spray skirt. It’s best that you try it with a friend so that he/she can give you some help when something goes wrong:

  • Hand paddle in the water and spend some time tipping over and over again, so that you feel comfortable with falling out of your kayak and the water going pretty much everywhere when you’re falling in
  • Remember what you practice on the bank and slide out of the kayak
  • Practice once again, but try doing it tucking forwards and sliding out afterwards. this is going to put you in a better position and it’s going to help you get the skirt grab loop. This position protects your head as well. When you’re leaning back your face, you may get a bit exposed. Don’t worry about sliding out of your kayak- gravity is going to do it for you!

Practicing the Wet Exit with the spray skirt on the bank

It’s always wiser and safer for you to practice on the bank first:

  • Sit in your kayak with the spray skirt on. Seek that the grab loop is always outside the spray skirt as it’s your lifeline.
  • Lean forward, pull the skirts grab loop forward, up and back, taking the skirt off the kayak
  • Pull your knees out from under the thigh hooks
  • Put out hands on the cockpit rim on both sides, pushing the kayak away from you and sliding out of it at the same time.
  • Get back in your kayak with the skirt on. Keep your eyes shut as you’re running the hands forwards on the cockpit rim for finding the grab loop. Do it a couple of times with your eyes closed. Should you not be able to find the grab loop, you can also pick up the side of the skirt close to your knees/hips, pulling it away and off the cockpit rim. You may want to practice this part on dry land as well.
  • Don’t stop practicing until you’re able to find the spray skirt grab loop nice and easy. Make sure you try taking it off from various positions.

The Wet Exit- how to do it with the spray skirt on the water

You also need to try the wet exit with the spray skirt on the water as well. We cannot stress enough about it, but it’s wiser to have a friend nearby so that he/she can give you some help if something goes wrong.

  • Get in your kayak with the skirt on, checking to see if the grab loop is out. Go safe near shore.
  • Use the paddle for checking the depth of the water (it has to be deep enough to allow flipping, which is around 4ft. deep)
  • Take a deep breath, flipping over and leaning forward
  • Remember the practice on dry land. Run your hands forward on the skirt (you can also do it along the edge of the cockpit rim), looking for the grab loop. Pull it forward the moment you got it, up and back away from your cockpit rim.
  • Pull the knees into the middle of the kayak, pushing it off your legs and letting yourself fall out of the boat into the water.
  • You also need to practice emptying your kayak so pull it back to shore for ending the practice. Practice it a couple of time, then try hanging out under water for longer time before doing the wet exit. You want to become more relaxed underwater so stepping out of your comfort zone is going to help a lot.
  • Get creative and flip the boat from various positions so that you learn how to lean forward and how to find the spray skirt grab handle.
  • Try as much as you can the flipping over. When you’re under water, under the bottom of your boat, tap 3 times on the hull with your hands. Try bringing your hands back under the water, finding the spray skirt grab handle and practicing the wet exit.

When you’re tapping on the bottom of your kayak, you’re actually informing everyone around (if there’s anyone!) that you’ve just flipped. It’s a great skill to develop as it’s going to let anyone around know that you’re in trouble and may need some help.

Some useful tips as closure

There are many questions related to the wet exit. Don’t think that you don’t need to learn how do a wet exit. You should do it even if you’re determined to paddle only on salt water, for instance (take a look at the following selection of kayaks for inshore-saltwater

Let’s list the final tips:

  • If you’re not able to find the grab handle, you should try finding the cockpit rim, following it to the front. Your spray deck grab handle should be there so just grab it
  • Always make sure that the grab loop is out when you’re using a spray skirt
  • Should you ever find yourself upside down in your kayak, under the impression that you’re stuck, it’s entirely normal to feel that way. Once you’re relaxed, you’re going to realize that getting out of your kayak when it’s upside down is in fact really easy. Keep in mind that kayaks are made for providing an easy exit.
  • It’s best that you practice along with a friend so that you can get all the extra help you need when something doesn’t go according to the plan
  • Once you master the wet exit, you’re going to become fearless when being underwater. Or at least, so you should!