How To: Surf a Wave in an Inflatable Kayak

By Molly   •   August 5, 2012

8-year-old Charlie and 13-year-old Benji did some Lower Animas kayaking and will show us how to paddle into a wave in an inflatable kayak and surf right here in Colorado!

To surf your kayak in a wave you will:
1) Position yourself in an eddy next to the feature. If there are no eddies, you have to come in from upstream paddling up river so you can slow your boat in order to catch the wave.
2) Paddle into the wave. Be careful to paddle into the wave with enough force to catch the wave but not so hard that you will sink the front of your boat. Think of moving up the wave, not forcing yourself into the hole. (In this video, Charlie and Benji have positioned themselves in the back of the inflatable kayak to keep the nose up and avoid catching the oncoming current.)
3) Try to feel the wave’s momentum. If you are moving backwards, paddle forward. If you feel yourself moving forward, lean back.
4) If the boat turns side ways, lean downstream and reach out a flat paddle to brace. Moving the paddle in a sweeping motion like Charlie does will keep the blade from being pulled under by the current.
5) If you feel stuck in the hole while surfing the hole sideways, use a sweep paddle stroke to move the to edge of the hole where it will be easier to get out of the hole.
6) If you spin and want to back surf, begin back paddling into the hole; leaning forward as soon as the wave catches you. If you are moving on down the wave while in a back surf, you can spin the boat back to the forward position by using a back sweeping stroke and looking with your head and eyes back upstream. (Benji can be seen “Spinning” in the video.)
7) Have FUN!

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