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How To Right an Overturned Kayak

It’s essential for kayakers to know how to roll a kayak. Learn how to perform this advanced self-rescue technique commonly called the Eskimo Roll.


  • Step 1: Rotate your hip, snapping it up to reverse the direction of the lean.
  • Step 2: Keep your head tucked as you surface, using gravity to raise your head from the water. Place your paddle across your kayak until you are centered and ready to paddle again.
  • FACT: Eskimos originally used whalebone for kayak frames.
  • Step 3: Sweep the paddle away from your boat, keeping it near the water’s surface. At the same time, push your rolling knee up against the side of the boat.
  • TIP: Take a kayaking safety class to learn more about the kayak roll and get comfortable being submerged underwater.
  • Step 4: Tuck your head close to the front of your boat as the roll begins. This lessens your chances of hitting underwater rocks.
  • Step 5: Keep your wrists and forearms in contact with the side of the kayak once you’re submerged. That way at least one of your hands will be able to feel the air or the paddle to gauge which direction is up.
  • : Always wear safety gear when kayaking, including a helmet, flotation vest, and a safety skirt.

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