Paddling a kayak is an activity that demands a lot of skills and kayaking knowledge. Anyone who wishes to learn and master this activity must practice a lot to know how to paddle a kayak. As far as in-water events go, kayaking is one of the easiest to learn and yet among the most tricky to master.
But regardless of the challenges that beginners face, kayaking is undoubtedly one exhilarating activity. A kayak is a small canoe-like watercraft that is used for surfing through water surfaces.
It is propelled by paddling, using a two-sided paddle. The traditional kayak is shaped almost like a canoe, but the top is often covered, leaving one or more cockpits that each allows sitting for only one paddler.
Kayaks also have spray decks covering the paddler opening, which helps to hold the paddle and keeps water from filling the kayak in intense waves.
How to Paddle a Kayak
Types Of Kayaks
There are different types of kayaks today, mostly depending on the water on which they are used.
For expert kayakers, the control techniques and skills for kayaking are very easy and enjoyable, but it can often prove to be quite tricky for new sailors.
If you are new to the concept of kayaking and you wish to improve your kayaking skills, this article will teach you all you need to know about paddling a kayak while also showing you the different techniques and paddling skills involved.
Paddling a Kayak Like a Pro
Paddling a kayak rightly requires that you follow certain procedures to help get yourself ready for the water and help you maneuver successfully through the waves of the water.
But more importantly, you must be able to control your craft properly. There are a few tips and basic kayaking tricks to help paddle your kayak properly. They include:
- One crucial tip for kayaking is always to maintain a good posture, and you must be able to find a balance if you intend to use your body well. Therefore, remember to sit straight, open your chest and relax your shoulder to enable proper breathing.
- Keep both feet together and place your feet against the footpegs. You can adjust the footpeg to a position of your choice to increase comfort.
- While paddling, rotate your torso for more paddling power but keep your arms straight. Also, try not to relax or lean against the backrest.
- After each stroke, pull the paddle out of the water by motioning it to the back away from the kayak. Also, ensure to start your next stroke as far forward as possible.
How To Hold Your Paddle
While kayaking, the efficiency of your strokes is very much dependent on how you hold your paddle.
When your grip is right, your paddling will be easier, and you will see significant results with every stroke.
But If your paddle is not properly held, you will surely struggle, and the effect of your strokes will be so little.
To fully understand how to hold your paddle, you must first understand the paddle itself. There are two main parts of a kayak paddle: the shaft and the blade. Here are some key steps for holding your paddle perfectly.
- Know your paddle: Knowing your paddle entails knowing every detail of the paddle you are using. Also, ensure that you get a paddle that is fitting to your body size and style.
- Pick up your paddle: picking up your paddle demands that you check the position of your hand while using it to hold the paddle and position the blades well rightly.
- Adjust your hand: After picking up the paddle, adjust your grip by placing the center point of the paddle on your head while holding both sides with your hands. Then try to position your hand on the paddle in a way that your elbows bend at 90°.
- Free your hands: Relax your hand after positioning it so that your grip is strong, but your upper arm is free to channel the power generated from your torso properly.
Finally, you have to know the different strokes in kayaking to understand how to paddle properly. The front stroke is the most fundamental kayaking stroke, and it is rightly the most popular.
While practicing this stroke, channel your stronger muscles, let the blade be in an almost vertical position, and maintain an upright body position. Other kayaking strokes include:
- Reverse stroke
- Sweep stroke
- Draw stroke
Also, it is very important to practice the safety rules of kayaking while paddling. Hence, learning the general kayaking safety regulations is critical when learning how to paddle a kayak.