How to Land a Kayak in the Surf Zone
Making a controlled landing in a surf zone is one of the most difficult things to do.
Assess surf size
If you're just arriving from somewhere else, assessing the size of the surf from beyond the break will be your first challenge. Make sure you take your time when doing it.
Timing: Ride vs. Chase a Wave
Ideally, you can time the set so that you enter the break zone when the waves are the least powerful. You can then ride a wave right into shore. It's often best to chase a wave in, which means following the last wave of a set so that you're not being accelerated into shore.
To chase a wave in, let the wave pass, then sprint in behind it all the way to shore. Once you hit shore, make sure you've got time before the next wave rolls in, then jump out of your boat, grab the bow, and drag it quickly to shore.
Loaded boat caution
If you've got a loaded boat, you have to be extra careful on your landing. It's going to be harder to keep your boat straight as you're coming in. Then, when you hop out, if you don't control your boat, that thing can really hurt someone.
Within a group, it's best to have the strongest paddlers land first and last. The rest of the group can go in one at a time, waiting for the go-ahead signal from the person on shore. If you're on shore helping out, make sure you give those kayaks a wide berth. Never stand directly in front of one or try to catch one.
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