Mastery of the Wet Exit technique is essential before using a spray skirt in flat or moving water.  Being upside down in a kayak can be frightening to some.  When frightened, we tense our muscles.  Unfortunately, this tends to hold us in our boats.  When you learn how to roll, you will press your knees against the deck of your boat.  If you don't and simply relax, gravity will make you fall out of your boat.  In a wet exit, we want to get out quickly.  First off, lean forward and kiss the deck.  This protects your face and body.  Any rocks you hit will glance off your helmet and the back of your PFD.  Now slide your free hand along the cockpit rim to the front while holding the paddle with your other hand.  Once you find the release strap, pull it to disengage the spray skirt.  The next step is pushing off the foot bulkhead with your feet and legs while pressing down against the sides of the cockpit rim with both hands.  This will pop out your butt.  Now do a quick underwater somersault to free the legs.  Move to the upstream end of the boat and grab the grab loop with one hand holding both the boat and paddle.  This leaves the other hand free to swim to shore.  Here is a video demonstration: Wet Exit Demonstration.

For extra credit, try moving your hands perpendicularly against the side of the boat for 30 seconds before executing the wet exit.  Who knows, you might get lucky and someone can assist you in getting upright via a bow rescue or hands of god manuever (flip the boat upright with you still in it).

During our class, we will make you demonstrate this skill several times so we have confidence in your ability to do this quite easily.  Only after you have mastered this skill is it OK to wear the spray skirt.