Here is Tip #42 by The Fishing Freaks.
This post is aimed more for the newbies starting Kayak Fishing. If you’ve been doing this for more than a few launches you will have done this at least once. If you live on the east coast of South Africa you will have done this MANY times!
First and most IMPORTANT: Always wear a life jacket, no matter how “good” you think you are. Here I wasn’t wearing one, thought it looked flat out… But let me tell you, I sank like a stone! And I had a loooong swim after that wave took my ski.
There are two scenarios where you will be swimming for you ski. Going out or coming in. The slide example here is of me coming in and eating it. My ski was taken by the foamy and washed 100ft ahead of me. Now if you’re in this situation be very aware of the rip currents. I was lucky and there was very little movement.
Always hang onto your paddle. ALWAYS. I do a version of freestyle and doggy paddle whilst periodically throwing my paddle with each stroke. With each wave that passes, you will get pushed toward your kayak, you can now use your paddle in the waves to pull you toward the beach.
Once you get to your ski grab the closest handle. Often your kayak will be upside down. Provided you checked all your hatches like you should always do before reentering the surf zone, you stuff will still be sealed tight. If you’re on an American plastic kayak, now is the time to upgrade. If you’re short like me and can’t reach the sand below your kayak, you will have to do a little dunk under the water then push the side of your ski up with all your might and it will flip over one time.
Now slide your body up and over your seat so your belly is now in your seat. Then sling your leg closest to the tale over like a horse or bike. Boom you’re back on, now quickly check you’re not about to get drilled by another wave. If when you get to your ski there are still waves washing through, hang onto the tale or nose handle until there is a gap to get back on. If it’s really gnarly out you can just hang on and get dragged back to the beach.
If you come off your kayak when going out much the same applies. Turn to face the beach (which is where your kayak should be headed), get on your kayak but turn to face the sea and take your time to find the best gap and gas it.
Remember, we’re not professionals, but these techniques are tried and tested by us. We’re simply sharing what works for us. Only enter the sea when you feel it is safe enough for your level of paddling.
Relaunching in the surf zone