How To Do Wet-Exit When The Kayak Is Upside Down

As we mentioned in an article before, practicing the wet-exit technique is essential for every whitewater kayaker.

This time, we’ll learn how to perform it properly.

wet exit kayak

Several requirements:

  • First, of course, is your kayak, can’t do anything without it.
  • Second, Personal Floating Device, also known as the life jacket.
  • Third, spray skirt.
  • And fourth, a man who ready to aid you if necessary.

Here is how:

At first, remember DO NOT panic:  While your kayak is upside down, don’t freak out.

Stay calm, keep your breath as long as possible.

Therefore, you’ll be able to consider all of your options before performing a wet-exit.


When in the upside down situation, your body is entirely underwater, your head might get damaged by rocks or reefs.

Therefore, remember to tuck and keep your head as close to the kayak as possible.

This will ensure that any rock or reef would hit your helmet and your PFD (life jacket) instead of directly hitting you in the face or pinning you underneath anything.

Try to Roll Your Kayak:

The wet-exit should always be the last option we think of. Stay with your kayak and do roll-over.

Buddy-roll techniques are options should be prioritized.

Pull the spray skirt:

After in tucked position, grab spray skirt and pull it off the kayak cockpit.

The skirt is designed to be easily removed so this step should be easy.

Ensure nothing hold you back:

Some kayak has a ratchet system that tights your backrest with your body, and you must release this before wet-exiting.

Get out of the kayak by pushing it away from your legs. If it is too tight and you can’t get out, try to lean to one side then take your leg off one at a time.

And that’s it.

It just takes about 10 seconds to practice. Easy, right? But it extremely crucial skill for any whitewater kayaker.

Tip: After finished the first practice safely, the next time, try to stay underwater little longer before back to the surface, this helps you to not panic when the flip-over suddenly happens.

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