Basic Kayak Techniques Beginners Should Know

Kayaking – a water sport that is getting more popular every year and favored by many enthusiasts of outdoor activities. With a kayak, you can explore new scenic beauties, do some morning exercises around the lake, and enjoy quality time with your beloved ones. However, kayaking requires the whole body’s motion and ability to interact with your surroundings. Once you have gained enough kayak techniques, you will not only be able to paddle in calm water but also rougher area. The following are basic techniques that you should know if this is your first time kayaking.

Basic Kayak Techniques

You should ask an experienced kayaker, especially those who are a professional instructor, for paddling, safety techniques and kayaking tips. Taking a course on kayaking for beginners is extremely important to ensure safety when paddling. Beginners always start paddling in the calm water, and once they gained enough skill, they can move to tougher challenges like whitewater. However, the most basic thing that an instructor will teach you first is how to get in and out of the kayak and paddling strokes.

Also, a basic course not only provides knowledge but also helps saving money from investing in unnecessary equipment. Also, the fee usually covers equipment from the beginning, so you will not have to decide what to buy.  Besides taking the course, you can get more information through videos or books.

Paddling techniques

Gripping your paddle lightly will allow you to control the movements of the boat

Image source: Kayarchy

For a beginner, some basic paddling techniques are essential. In general, you can sum up kayak techniques in one action: put the paddle into the water and pull.

Although paddling forward is easy, to paddle faster and more efficient, you will need some certain kayak techniques. Clearly, paddling fast and rhythmically forward will make your boat move. Gripping your paddle lightly will allow you to control the movements of the boat and keep your arms from muscle soreness.

Gripping your paddle lightly will allow you to control the movements of the boat and keep your arms from muscle soreness.

Most importantly, always keep your upper body balance by pointing your nose forward and lined up with the boat. Once you balance, you can prevent the boat from turning over, and the control of its movement will be easier. Keep in mind that implementation of these kayak techniques also depends on your physical condition. The following will help you get a better paddling stroke:

Keep in mind that implementation of these kayak techniques also depends on your physical condition. The following will help you get a better paddling stroke:

Posture

To paddle efficiently, you will need to have a proper posture. In reality, your muscles may get more exhaustion if you are not sitting in a correct position in the cockpit. Therefore, set your feet on the foot pegs, so that you can easily press them. Then, bend your knees lightly and ensure enough space for legs to move freely. Besides, keep your body up straight, comfortable, and do not ever lean backward! Last but not least, paddling requires a motion from rotating your upper body and legs. Remember to keep your arms straight but not too strained.

Stroking

When starting a stroke, coil your upper body slightly so you can easily put the paddle into the water near your feet and on the side of the boat. Hold your lower arms straight while keeping your upper arm relaxed and slightly bent, so that the wrist is a little close to the eyes. Try to put more effort at the beginning of each stroke and lessen in the end. Also, keep your arms unstrained and loosen up your paddle. To hold the paddle straight up, keep the upper hand at eye level and move freely. Then, end the stroke by placing your lower hand in the belly level and still paddling but slowly.

Stroking

Image source: Outdoors Global

After lifting the paddle out of the water to prepare for a next stroke, try to coil your upper body forward as far as possible.
Try to maintain the paddling rhythm but still pay attention to each stroke. Keep in mind that paddling forward does not mean paddling in a straight line.

How to stay centered and keep balance on the kayak in the water

Besides those skills, the most difficult thing for both beginners and experienced kayakers are staying centered and keeping balance. To master these tough kayak techniques, you will have to practice a lot of times.

Once a paddler maintains balance, the boat will not capsize even if big waves are rolling underneath. In contrast to other types of boats, kayaks are narrower so as to glide easily and smoothly over the water. However, this design makes it difficult for paddlers because it is almost impossible to keep balance. Therefore, read this note carefully to keep your balance while kayaking:

How to stay centered and keep balance on the kayak in the water

Image source: USA Today

As mentioned above, keeping an upright posture while relaxing your shoulders and arms. Let the boat drifting freely instead of trying to paddle against the waves. To keep the boat balanced, always look toward the horizon, not the bow of your boat. If you feel like tottering, use the back of the paddle to tap on the water surface to gain back equilibrium. Also, the weather is also a factor that affects the balance of the boat, even a gust of wind blowing through can make you feel unsteady. Therefore, it is preferable to start a kayaking trip on a sunny day

How to roll your kayak in the right manner

Rolling is the important kayak techniques if you want to get the boat out of the unfamiliar area. If you can roll fluently, you will reach the level of an experienced paddler. Nevertheless, the rolls do not involve so much technical complexity, so learn them if you are in for long-term paddling.

How to roll your kayak in the right manner

Image source: Best Fishing Kayak Reviews

Conclusion

Kayaking starts by moving your paddle swiftly and smoothly to the water and then sweeping straight down. You will master this movement after a few practices. Make sure that the paddle goes quickly and lightly over the water surface, but keep a certain distance with the boat. Specifically, there are three types of rolls:

The first roll was the easiest among three types, because of its flexibility and high adaptability for beginners. To do this, you will need help from the instructor or others. Once you get through the first roll, you roll in the river with slow and steady speed. It is better to start with flat water drills then move to rougher river drills. The last roll is the faster rolling, which is a real deal. In this, you will have to learn how to make your roll works on both sides and where to use four roll variations, as well as the common and differences between them.

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