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4 Tips on Launching Your Kayak Through the Surf

by Preston Ong October 17, 2014 2 Comments

4 Tips on Launching Your Kayak Through the Surf

Launching your kayak through the surf

Launching a kayak through the surf is a necessary skill to acquire for those wishing to catch offshore fish. However, doing so can be an exercise in frustration to beginners. Here are some tips on launching your fishing rig through surf.

1. Use Your Paddle to Brace!

Use your paddle to brace when launching!

When launching your kayak, use the paddle to brace when your stability is compromised. Look here for a guide on how to perform a paddle brace. For those using a Hobie Mirage or other similar pedal kayak, try using the paddle until you are past the surf, as using the pedals alone will not allow you to perform a brace.

2. Keep Your Gear/Tackle Under Retention

Kayak Fishing Rod LEashes

Make sure to keep all pieces of tackle secure before you launch.  Use leashes to keep those expensive rods in place. Make sure any tackle boxes above deck are securely fastened via bungees or carabiners. If you have a Hobie Mirage kayak, consider getting a safety leash for your drive! Securing your gear properly will allow you to focus on getting past the surf zone instead of the placement of your rods.

3. Launch Your Kayak Between Sets

Launch between sets of waves!

Observe the surf zone and look for patterns. You want to launch your kayak between the wave sets. Look for longer periods of surf lulls; this is the time to launch. I usually wait for a large wave to fall into shallow water, then launch in the lull right after. The period after a large wave breaks can be a good time to launch.

4. Speed is Key! Work on Your Forward Stroke

Hobie kayak pedals

Aside from timing, one of the main reasons beginner kayak anglers flip in the surf is because their paddling skills are not up to par. Paddling out of the surf zone requires that you press forward quickly between the breaking sets. If you're moving too slowly due to poor technique, you may get hit by an incoming set. If you are using a pedal kayak with a rudder such as a Hobie Mirage kayak, then use the rudder to keep course when launching. 



Preston Ong
Preston Ong

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2 Responses

Taylor Bishop
Taylor Bishop

July 11, 2017

Thanks for these tips on launching. I didn’t know that it’s ideal to look for longer periods of surf lulls. I’d be interested in seeing what the difference is by following this rule. http://www.wetspot.net.au/kayak-canoe-and-surfboard-repairs

Kyle O'Ren
Kyle O'Ren

June 16, 2016

I like your suggestion to keep your gear under retention. I went kayaking last year with a friend and they didn’t tie their rod down. He lost the rod getting through the surf and we never saw it again. Securing your stuff is very important! http://www.sacovalleycanoe.com/

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