Getting Through Waves – Basic Tips – Kayak Hipster

To follow up the last video on stability in rough water, here’s a couple of tips for getting out through waves. Please do not underestimate the power waves can pack – even if they look small.

Fantastic read on getting out through waves by Cate and Jeff out in Mendocino –

Photo by Jorge


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  1. Peter Mc Leod on March 15, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Wear a helmet.

  2. Advance Graphics on March 15, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Very inspiring

  3. Felix Geyfman on March 15, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    When punching through the wave be prepared to surf backwards. Sometimes we misjudge power or just bigger wave that we accustom comes or we just didn’t have enough power to punch through the wave. You may end up surfing backwards. A few points. Know where the land or obstacles are and know where your partners are. When surfing always look for your partners for number of reasons, to land the helping hand or avoid being run over. Even small waves will create blind zones and you may see your buddy coming at you from the top while you are at the bottom. Perhaps capsizing may be the best recourse in some situations. Another tip that perhaps may not be obvious is keep the deck clean, everything not bolted may end up flying in your face or being mangled. That includes GoPro mounts (have a spare one), backup paddle and so on. The less stuff you have the better. Tether anything and everything you want to keep and that includes stuff in your pockets.
    As always enjoy the punishment and relax, being relaxed leads to more flexibility and allows you to counteract kayak movement better.

  4. Kompressor2007 on March 15, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    Very good vid, congrats and keep it up !!

  5. David Walker on March 15, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Enjoyed the video. Mostly seemed to focus on strategies when pointing into the waves (e.g., launching). I’d love to see a video that focused on coming in (e.g., with the waves behind you). The last few feet are particularly daunting. That is, how do you get out of your boat and get both yourself and your boat onshore without getting run over by your boat, or swamping your boat.

  6. yakinsea on March 15, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    My technique going out depends on the size of the surf. Small and I just go, reaching over the wave to plant my paddle at or just beyond the top, as mentioned. A bit larger and I charge the wave getting one last good plant beforehand and reach over to plant the paddle, more to minimize getting flushed backwards. A bit larger, where my body presents a great place for the wave to push me into a back-surf and I charge then lean way back to minimize the wave’s push-back and point the paddle into the wave to spear through it. This position allows the bow to rise higher on the face before I get hit with a bit less power. I immediately lean forward and plant just over the wave. If the wave curls as I am going up its base, I lean forward and head-butt the wave with the spearing paddle followed by a quick plant beyond. You don’t want a wave to flatten you backwards potentially injuring your back. Bigger still or one that is about to plunge onto or just in front I go up-side-down. With the ends of my boat curved downward and me acting like a sea anchor this presents very little for the wave to push against resulting in no rag doll experience while holding my breath and little ground lost to make up.

    Then thee is choosing the best location (wave shadows from rocks or other features esp. rips), timing, holding zone, choosing when to charge forward and when to sprint sideways to circumvent the breaking part of the wave aiming for the shoulder.

    Dumping surf is a whole other set of strategies.

  7. Hamza N on March 15, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Awesome content, thank you. Greets from Morocco 🇲🇦

  8. Lebrec Hanson on March 15, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Stop saying shaft so much, but that looks fun

  9. Philip Freeman on March 15, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Shout out to Charleston! Let us know next time you’re down here. Love to go paddle with you.

  10. Kajakk Fekken on March 15, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Love the video! Might show this too roughwater rookies before taking them out on the water as i belive knowing this is really key to being happy in the waves. Hope you dont mind me sharing a video of my own that kinda illustrates your point, we were out when it was blowing a steady Force 6 wind…and the waves got pretty big. Punching though them was not a problem til the end when i got complacent and just chilled out for a bit….i toook a big HIT, but it was fun. (i was feeling confident and had a great team at my back)

  11. Danny Ryan Lannon on March 15, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Amazing, surprised to hear a top gear reference "WE NEED MORE POWER!!!!"

  12. bernie romanowski on March 15, 2021 at 11:46 pm


  13. michael farley on March 15, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Really cool episode great tips and footage.
    Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.

  14. Daniel Thornton on March 15, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    That fact that you quoted top gear in a kayak video just made me like you. Haha

  15. Kayak Life on March 15, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    Nice vid. I would avoid turtle diving in bigger conditions. It can work but it’s better to work on timing, moving in the impact zone, and accerating. I always vote power and speed into bigger waves with timing. Also another tip is slight angle, reach deep down into the green water as you reach over along with leaning hard forwards. Often times folks sit in a neutral position weighting the stern which sends them into a back surf as the water hits the foam of the pfd. This is why surf kayaks usually wear wetsuits only so they can break through the surf like a surf boarder.

  16. microtus on March 15, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    gvsivt wjevh hd

  17. Zoran Martinovic on March 15, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Bravo, bravo pozdrav iz Srbije 🇷🇸👏🌸🤗👍

  18. TheBelldiver on March 15, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    I found myself in a storm in the middle of the bay just a few weeks ago.

    I’m a commercial diver so the water is my comfort zone and I know it’s forces.

    I ended up surfing it to a shore opposite to where I wanted to go but survival is the key; not being bull headed.

  19. Kevin Short on March 15, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    First tip is to avoid the waves.
    Look for rips if there are any, and aim for where the wave isn’t going to break. Not so much fun, the fifth time a wave breaks over you into the rear deck , flipping you over and washing you back up the beach.

  20. mr felix on March 15, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    looks like fun

  21. John A on March 15, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    Great tips…THANKS!

  22. George Williams,sr on March 15, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Good tips, and good advice to be with friends. I personally have given up teaching kayaking. I find that with the newer generation of kayakers. They are less willing to listen to instructions. Unless you have a CERTIFICATE. And are charging them a fairly stiff fee. So, I just keep my 30+ years of white water and ocean skills to myself these days. Grandfathering skills down to strangers, just doesn’t work with the new gen of paddlers these days. Have fun, maybe I’ll see you on the water someday…

  23. Stangmaster on March 15, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    i tipped over really bad in a canal with alligators and i almost lost the kayak and the cellphone, a guy in a jet sky saved my kayak but i lost the paddle, i swam as fast as i could to shore in fear of alligators 🙁

  24. Guy Richard on March 16, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Allo Kayakhipster,
    I recently did a trip down the St-Lawrence seaway and experienced waves that are created by opposing forces….very scary if they reach heights at or above your torso 🤐. They appear as pyramides of water in wich one cannot breach through but are vigorously pushed back like a tennis ball on a wall 😯
    Merci beaucoup 🇨🇦✌

  25. dereinzigwahreRichi on March 16, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Just curious: how big should waves be at a maximum to be able to power through them?
    I’ve been Surfing some time, if you got a small fiberglass board you can duckdive through the waves but if you got those big beginner boards like me you’ll have to get off and dive through bigger waves, lets say 2 meters and up, or with a little smaller ones you can try a turtle role as well. But it’s just really exhausting.

  26. John Klopp on March 16, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Great tips and thank you! I’ll be getting a kayak next month and want to do ocean fishing, so these last two videos are really good.

  27. Felipe Behrens on March 16, 2021 at 12:05 am

    That’s jarrod from Nova Scotia on some of the shots…

  28. Priyanka Banerjie on March 16, 2021 at 12:07 am

    This was really helpful. I use a recreational kayak, and we are just learning, and we were out on lake erie with a north east wind, (long fetch high waves) and it was tough, but we learned some of these techniques by just by building movement and powering through.

  29. Jarryd Wilson on March 16, 2021 at 12:08 am

    What’s a good ski for a beginner? I’m wanting to get into riding waves but have no idea what equipment I.need. any help would be great. Thanks

  30. Hendrik Lok on March 16, 2021 at 12:09 am

    I really do not understand the bongo slide

  31. Gregory Kitchens on March 16, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Best position is 17 degrees off straight on.

  32. Lorena Mae on March 16, 2021 at 12:16 am

    Looks like Cascade Head in Oregon! I’m just learning to surf and roll, but fun to see Oregon in your video!

  33. Kenny Bradshaw on March 16, 2021 at 12:19 am


  34. gsmiley on March 16, 2021 at 12:23 am

    25 years kayaking here, whitewater and sea water. a) Never paddle on an empty stomach. Otherwise: motion and sea sickness. b) Sea water is more buoyant than soft water. Ergo: much more powerful when it slams into you. Thus the turtle dive is useful as the wave curls upon you (i.e. has stopped rising). Doing a turtle dive in the trough may mean you’ll be cartwheeled back, and surfing back to the beach at terrific speed. c) As mentioned in the video: always a blade in the water, but MOSTLY: shoulders CLOSE to the body. You don’t want a dislocated shoulder. d) Even in sea water, unless close to the sandy bottom, keep your eyes opened when upside down. The salinity of sea water is the same as your eyes’, thus it won’t sting. And e) if sideways, lean INTO the wave, and dig your blade into that wave, and let its curl keep you upright.

  35. Cord Miller on March 16, 2021 at 12:23 am

    Im doing my first solo trip across lake erie in 3 weeks and I like watching your videos to compare/add to my skill set.

  36. Alain Pals on March 16, 2021 at 12:23 am

    As quite new in kayaking i just recently noticed that i got tensed up immediately when started surfing in breaking waves.. and got tired and with tired muscles i got few waves that hurt my shoulders.. then i focused on relaxation in between harder moments and control how much power i actually need to handle waves.. it changed everything to me.. hard work and fighting turned into more like playing with waves

  37. Jayme Deerwester on March 16, 2021 at 12:23 am

    Any instructor who uses Top Gear references while teaching is my kind of guide. Looking forward to you channeling James May with “Oh, weathercock!”

  38. Susanne Williams #BushcraftGirl #VikingGirl on March 16, 2021 at 12:26 am

    Really nice your videos. Clear and easy to understand. Thank you especially for the advice on how to build confidence.

  39. SSLJ on March 16, 2021 at 12:26 am

    Thanks in advance for saving my life.

  40. John Mason on March 16, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Nice aerial of Russian Gulch in Mendocino. I’ve speared that area on a SOT kayak plenty. It can get very rough, but NorCal spearos are savage.

  41. skol on March 16, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Great vid. I appreciate my recliner little more now.

  42. Richard Hayward on March 16, 2021 at 12:28 am

    Look at the hole your paddle makes in the water at 2:49. Very cool!
    Thanks for the great video.

  43. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews on March 16, 2021 at 12:28 am

    how much water gets into the cockpit in the sea and does it become a problem?

  44. William Griffith on March 16, 2021 at 12:29 am

    You said you were in Oregon. I live in Oregon! It’s a beautiful state. I haven’t made it out to the coast to kayak yet.
    Check out deception pass in Washington state. Pretty awesome area too.
    Thanks William

  45. Carlos Andrés on March 16, 2021 at 12:30 am

    Wishing I saw this a lot time ago lol

  46. Lalalalalala Lalalalalala on March 16, 2021 at 12:33 am

    This is information I should have watched before I tried kayaking in waves… I have a wide kayak with a lot of space inside. I was facing side ways then a big wave came and I just braved for impact so much water came into the kayak. I had to paddle back a kayak with a lot of water in it. It was not a fun experience…

  47. Wellenjaeger on March 16, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Great video with helpful advices. Looking forward to your next video. Attached a link to my clip from last week-end playing in the waves of the baltic sea

  48. Kamper 2020 on March 16, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Really great stuff! I learned a lot. Especially keeping the blade in the water and powering towards the top. Thank you so much!

  49. Michael Crumpton on March 16, 2021 at 12:33 am

    One thing I remember when first kayaking was feeling tentative and not going full power when going into a wave, and that is really not a good idea. You need to have momentum to power through the wave, or else it will toss you around.

  50. Tommy Cheshire on March 16, 2021 at 12:34 am

    Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom with us.

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