Getting in the
river from a rock or ledge is sometimes necessary and
often more fun. Learn how to do it without landing on
your head or landing too flat. A great exercise to prepare
you for waterfalls.
Sometimes there is no easy or safe
way to get into the river without seal launching. Sometimes
you just want to have more fun. No seal launch is safe
or fun unless you have some control over the landing.
Landing on your head or landing flat can both be painful.
However with practice you can keep it controlled and
really have fun with them. There are several ledges
at the put-in at Rock Island that make for perfect seal
launch practice and they are the ones you are seeing
To do it right:
- Get your boat up to the edge,
which is about 6” in front of your waist. Lean
back a little to assure you don’t go off prematurely.
- Find a good place to put your
paddle on the edge that you can push off of without
- Find a good place to pull with
your other hand as well, on the edge.
- When you are ready to go, inch
your boat up a little further so the edge of the rock
is right at your stomach, lean back to keep from tipping.
- This is the critical part, the
launch. Lean forward to let your boat tip down. As
soon as it is close to the landing angle you are looking
for (I recommend at least 45 degrees but not more
than 75 degrees) you will pull with your hand and
push off with your paddle hard while holding your
bow from dropping any more with your knees.
- As you are freefalling you should
be watching the landing spot and still keeping your
body perpendicular to the boat.
- On the landing you can let your
body go back to let the boat penetrate the water and
keep from slapping your face, also hold the paddle
over your head to keep from slapping the water, or
off to the side of the boat.
- Ideally your boat will scoop
out and the bow will rise first.
- Fun Fun Fun
If you land past vertical:
- You didn’t let the bow drop
enough before pushing off (doesn’t sound right
but it is) so your stern caught the rock and go pushed
over your head.
- You didn’t keep your body
perpendicular to the boat so you leaned back early
by pushing down on your feet (rotating the boat past
- You didn’t push off hard
enough so your boat had too much drag on the rock
rotating you over.
If you went too flat:
- You pushed off too hard and too
early and lifted too hard on the knees on the landing
(pulled up on the landing gear instead of putting
the gear down on landing) Essentially you boofed and
Dane pushing off
Emily pushing off
Getting off the lip clean
Dane in air
Emily in air
Dane landing at the right angle
Emily hitting the water
Penetration is key to a soft
Resurfacing like a porpoise