Kayaking seems to be an easy sport. If you love exploring anywhere in the waters, this sport is perfect for your first inclination. But do you know how to paddle a kayak?
Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place!
This book is great for beginners because it has thorough tutorials that give you a quick look at the techniques and basics.
But every sport is dependent on diligent practice. While kayaking sounds like all you have to do is keep your balance.
Ready to get started? Follow me.
Wearing a life jacket is a step not to be overlooked before learning to kayak. Remember, this is very important for your safety. It can protect you in critical moments!
So, keep the following points in mind:
‚óŹ Clip in the bottom buckle.
‚óŹ Close the front or side zipper.
‚óŹ Tighten the side straps.
Need to clip the bottom strap buckle. The bottom straps are the most important part of keeping your life jacket in place. It makes swimming easier and works if you fall into the water.
Here are some of the basics of kayaking. Only by getting it right can you learn the sport safely and efficiently.
‚óŹ Are the blades matched (parallel) or pinned (at an angle to each other)? It is easier to learn with matched blades. If yours has feathers, look for a button in the center of the shaft and a hole around the shaft. Press the button and rotate the two half shafts until the blades are parallel.
‚óŹ Are the blades asymmetrical? If one side of each blade is a little shorter than the other, then the answer is “yes.” When you paddle into the water, this shape helps the paddle stay on a straight trajectory (rather than spinning). If you see a uniform oval shape, you have a “symmetrical” blade. You can learn to paddle with any blade type – you need to know which one you have.
‚óŹ Is the blade slightly concave (curved)? The answer is usually “yes,” so notice where the concave side faces when you hold the shaft. This shape allows you to “grab” more water, resulting in a more powerful stroke.
Pick up the paddle, hold it in front of you, and check three things:
‚óŹ You want your big knuckle pointing up and your blades perpendicular to the ground.
‚óŹ The shorter part of each blade should be at the bottom. (Don’t worry if your blades are the same size.)
‚óŹ You want the side of each blade that curves toward you to face you. (Don’t worry if your blades are flat as a pancake.)
If you aren’t holding the paddle this way, turn it over so that your hand and blade face your desired direction.
‚óŹ Place the center of the paddle shaft over your head.
‚óŹ Now, change how you hold the shaft so that your arms form a 90-degree angle.
When you put the paddle in front of you, you will see the “paddler’s box,” a shape made by the shaft, your arms, and your chest. Keeping this box in place as you hit the ball will help you turn your body correctly, which is another key to good form.
If you hold things loosely, your arms, wrists, and hands will only tire slowly. It also tells you to move the paddle with your core:
‚óŹ Draw an “O” around the shaft with your index finger and thumb.
‚óŹ Then gently place your other fingers on the shaft.
‚óŹ Holding the paddle tightly. Wiggle your fingers to loosen your grip while paddling. It prevents blisters and tension.
‚óŹ Narrow grip. Use a wide grip distance from your shoulders or wider for more stroke power.
A second thing beginners often miss is the right way to sit and stand. It is often affected by how you adjust your kayak gear:
‚óŹ Sit straight, shoulders relaxed, and chest open, and avoid hunching over. Choose a seat with adjustable backrest support, but don’t lean on it like you’re hanging out on the beach.
‚óŹ Lean your feet against the footrest with your legs straight but engaged. Keeping a slight bend allows you to use your legs as leverage more effectively.
‚óŹ The leg braces should rest against your upper thighs, not your knees.
You will remain “connected” to the kayak while remaining comfortable.
The anatomy of paddle paddling can be divided into three distinct phases:
Each movement should be smooth and consistent. And the three steps should flow into each other.
You may need to modify them for specific strokes, but they should still be there in most cases.
Next, it’s time for the most exciting step of all! It is the final hurdle in your beginner’s journey.
Hang in there, and victory will come.
The following are summarized in 5 key points!
Let’s start to paddle a kayak!
Forward paddling is the most important part of kayaking because it’s how you get from one place to another or discover new things.
Tip:The closer the blade is to the boat, the more likely you will paddle in a straight line.
‚óŹ If your kayak is not going in a straight line, make sure you are looking where you want to go. Choose a stationary object (tree, rock, etc.) and focus your eyes on it as you paddle toward it. Beginners often watch every stroke, which can throw them off course. As you spend more time in the boat, the length of each forward stroke will change slightly to keep you on track.
‚óŹ If your arms feel fatigued, you may be over-flexing them. It may look as if you are riding a bicycle with your arms. Try keeping your arms straight and pushing with your feet on the same side of the paddle.
A reverse or backstroke is the opposite of a forward stroke and allows you to travel backward. You may only sometimes need to use the reverse stroke, especially if you can turn around.
Tip:Make sure your blade hits and leaves the water’s edge first to make it work better and make less water splash.
‚óŹ Leaning back while paddling. When you lean back, you put pressure on your lower back, relax your core muscles, and make yourself less stable. Make sure you sit up straight when paddling in reverse.
‚óŹ Not going straight. Be patient. It takes a lot of practice to become proficient at backward paddling. To stay on track, try taking shorter strokes and focusing on what’s right in front of you.
Tip:The wider the sweep, the sharper the turn should be.
‚óŹ Not securing the blade. Slowly bury the blade in the water and begin sweeping.
‚óŹ Hands too high, resulting in deeper paddling. Keep your hands below your chest and sweep the paddle across the kayak in a wide arc. Think slow, low, and wide.
The kayak is not equipped with brakes, but you can use the paddle to stop the kayak effectively. To stop, use strong, short, undulating strokes in the opposite direction of travel.
‚óŹ If your kayak is turning, you are not alternating sides, or your stroke is too long.
‚óŹ During the stroke, if you feel unsteady or lose your balance, sit straight with your nose above your belly button.
The draw stroke is versatile when you want to get close to something. You can use it to stop next to your friends to share a snack or next to a dock to land.
Tip:If you want to move to the side, try pulling the blade straight toward you. If you move too far forward or backward, you could cut yourself.
‚óŹ You need to rotate your chest in the direction you want if this will hurt your shoulders.
‚óŹ Not securing the blade. Burying the blade in water to get your hands wet.
If the paddle hits the side of the boat, don’t try to pull the blade out of the water. It could cause the boat to tip over and sink. If you feel it hit, just let go of the hand above you or relax your body and start over. Don’t pry – retry.
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Get in touch with nature and burn calories. There may be many reasons why you want to take up the sport of kayaking. But it all requires a certain foundation – how to paddle a kayak?
If you are a beginner, then it may be a long process to get the knowledge quickly.
But take your time. The process of working towards your interest could be a better memory.
You now know the basics of kayaking, which is a good achievement.
So, make sure you stick with it and never give up. Constant practice is the best teacher.
Cheer up together!
Andrew Hoffmann is an avid outdoor enthusiast and writer specializing in evaluating and reviewing outdoor equipment. Andrew has trekked through rugged mountain ranges from the Rockies to the Andes, summited major peaks, and completed long-distance hikes like the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. He's spent over 500 nights camping in all terrain and weather. This first-hand experience testing gear on the trails allows Andrew to provide practical, knowledgeable advice. As an avid explorer with years of experience evaluating outdoor products, Andrew strives to be an authoritative voice that outdoor enthusiasts can trust.