How To Paddle A Kayak Without Getting Wet

The truth is there is no particular way to paddle a kayak without getting wet. There are, however, preventive measures you can take.

Kayaking is a water sport that can get messy during paddle sessions. Many paddle designs have grooves on the paddles that are great for performance but end up picking up water and allowing it to leak down the shaft of the paddle. So it might not be so much the way you paddle, but rather the paddle design itself.

Let’s take a closer look at ways we can upgrade our paddle, paddle differently, and make use of accessories to be less wet.

4 Ways To Get Less Wet When Kayaking

Upgrading Your Paddle To Better Ones

Certain paddles designs have grooves in them that carry water during each paddle movement, letting the water slide down the shaft and onto your lap. We find most paddles that come with kayaks to have this groove. Some paddles might also be concave in design (like a shovel) that scoop up way too much water.

The grooves and concave design help improve performance per stroke, and can be great for getting a kayak moving, but does get the kayaker wet. Higher quality paddles like the Aquabound Sting Ray kayak paddle lose the groove and the concave surfaces, at the cost of performance, and will require much more energy to go the longer distance. The big plus is you don’t get as wet.

Although losing the groove and concave design can reduce the amount of water that gets carried, it might not completely stop the water from coming down the shaft.

Attaching Drip Rings On The Paddle Shaft

Making a do-it-yourself makeshift set of drip rings with the top half of plastic bottles can also reduce the amount of water that goes down the paddle shaft. (You’ll need to cut them in half then reattach at the shafts, and then find a way to keep them from sliding around.)

With the right paddle length and attaching drip rings far enough from yourself, you can prevent a lot of water from splashing you and landing on or in the kayak. The Seattle Sports Seawall drip rings can do the trick.

Where should you place the drip rings on your paddle? A fist’s distance from the paddle blades should be sufficient. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure your drip rings don’t get into the water, otherwise, they pick up water.

Switching to Longer Paddles for Lower Angle, Small Rotations Paddling

When you angle your paddles high, water is more likely to go down your shaft. Paddle fast enough, and you may get wet enough to swim instead of kayaking!

If you want to focus on the way you paddle, then paddling with smaller rotations or using longer paddles can help with getting less wet. The SeaSens 8690 X-1 kayak paddle is an extra lengthy paddle that is 96 inches long, which will give you the much needed lower angle paddling that prevents water from getting to you.

Most paddles that come with starter kayaks are 75 to 85 inches long.

Sprayskirt Accessory For Sit-In Kayaks

For those who own a sit-in kayak, a sprayskirt can be the answer to all your problems. Sprayskirts are made with a stretchy, thin material that goes over the sit-in kayak cockpit while wrapping firmly around your body. They are waterproof and help prevent water from splashing onto your lap during paddling sessions.

If you want to check out sprayskirts, we recommend the Harmony Gear Fushion sprayskirt as it can get the job done at a cheap price. There are multiple sizes available, so make sure you measure your cockpit opening first before buying a sprayskirt.

Embracing The Water Sport

Kayaking inevitably involves water. It might be nearly impossible to stay dry when dealing with water.

As much as we may want to stay dry from our paddling, sometimes it is changing in the way we think about kayaking that is needed. We will get wet. A lot. Therefore, we should do our best to accept the fact and prepare for it, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Having a change of clothes, being mentally willing to get wet, and finding joy in the sport may be the best thing we can do to enjoy the water instead of fighting against it.