Kayak Paddling Technique
When you begin kayaking, there is more than one kayak paddling technique you need to learn. Even as a beginner, learning all the paddling techniques will improve your capabilities with properly maneuvering the kayak. When practicing a new kayak paddling technique, it’s a good idea to practice with the kayak onshore before hitting the water to reduce your risk or tipping over.
- Master the kayak paddling technique of the basic power stroke. The basic power stroke is the foundation to all other kayak paddling strokes. After you have found your proper hand positions, place the paddle into the water with the concave area of the blade face towards you. Place the paddle in the water as close to your toes as possible and smoothly move it back until it reaches your hips. Repeat this stroke on the other side of the kayak.
- Master the kayak paddling technique of the forward sweep and reverse sweep. The sweep techniques are used to turn the kayak. To perform the forward sweep, place the paddle in the water near the bow of the kayak and with an arc motion, like a half circle, pull the paddle back towards the stern of the kayak. The reverse sweep is the exact opposite of forward sweep. Everything remains the same except you begin at the stern of the kayak and end the sweep at the bow.
- Use the kayak paddling technique of the stern rudder to help slow the kayak in rough waters. When you find yourself caught in fast moving water this technique will allow you to keep the kayak stable. The stern rudder technique uses the paddle like a rudder. To do this, place the blade of the paddle firmly in the water slightly behind the cockpit. Make sure you don’t place the paddle to far back or you will tip over.
Flipping the kayak over is a very common experience for beginners. After practicing these techniques onshore and when you are ready to hit the water, make sure you have a professional or experienced friend with you increase you should flip the kayak.