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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.

The Seal

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Find a good place to put your
    paddle on the edge that you can push off of without
    it slipping.
  3. Find a good place to pull with
    your other hand as well, on the edge.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. As you are freefalling you should
    be watching the landing spot and still keeping your
    body perpendicular to the boat.
  7. 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.
  8. Ideally your boat will scoop
    out and the bow will rise first.
  9. Fun Fun Fun

Trouble shooting
If you land past vertical:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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:

  1. 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

Clean start

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