Sometimes I wonder why I’m so close when a paddler in our group capsizes. I think it’s because I see signs before it happens. When paddling in a group, I try to be aware of how others are doing. Most kayaks want to stay upright, it’s the actions of the paddler that causes the capsize.
3. Someone is a little uncomfortable in the wind, waves, dynamic water conditions,
2. They lock into the thigh braces and take a death grip on the paddle. This tightens the muscles and the paddler loses all independence between upper and lower body.
1. They wobble… then capsize.
The best way to prevent capsize is to loosen up, let the hips move with the boat, while the upper body stays relaxed and centered. Good posture improves stability by engaging the core muscles, not just the abs, but the muscles that hold the spine, diaphragm, ribs, etc. Make your lower body heavy, feel like you are pushing down into the seat, while making your upper body tall and light. This will allow the boat to move under you, while you stay upright. It’s easier said than done.
Practice staying loose and relaxed while paddling. Start with flat water, then gradually move into more dynamic conditions. Always practice good posture when paddling. Sitting up straight with head, shoulders and hips aligned should become natural. Then you don’t have to think about it when the going gets rough.