How to Paddle a Kayak

The basic equipment to get started paddling is a kayak, oar, and kayak pfd. Besides, newbie paddlers to learn the basic courses about water sport activities. There are several courses available, such as braces, basic strokes, and rescue techniques. You can get these courses and instructions from dealers and kayak sporting club near you. A paddler equipped with these skills will enjoy every moment of kayaking and reduce chances of getting drowned.

Further, a paddler should be familiar with first aid treatment to assist during an emergency treatment of hypothermia, which is likely to happen in extremely cold water. It is also important to carry a kayak clothing to keep our body warm.

Basic Techniques on How to Paddle a Kayak

To learn how to paddle a kayak by newbies, take the kayak out of the water on a flat surface. However, this test drill is not suitable for inflatable kayaks, such as Intex K2 explorer.A blowup canoe is likely to get punctured if a sharp object pierces the body. This test run is suitable for plastic kayaks for whitewater kayaking, wooden kayak, and any other hard body kayak. Testing the paddling technique on a hard surface will make it easy and enable the paddler to gain confidence sitting on the Kayak in water.

To start, assembled all your kayak essentials. Get into the kayak with one leg at a time and sit. Your back to lean comfortably on the back seat. A poor sitting position makes it difficult to paddle and can cause back pain problems. Also, bend your knees comfortably.

A proper footwell is attained by straightening the “legs out and then bringing them back one well”. Too straight legs are likely to cause strain on your lower back. Moreover, if you bent the knees too far, you are going to have difficulties in paddling because you will be knocking the knee caps on the kayak body. To have enjoyable voyage, your sitting position determines to what extent you are going to last in the water.

Hand Placement

To have a good paddle stroke, it is recommended to start “with your hands about shoulder-width apart and centered.” To determine a good placement of an oar, take the paddle and place it in the center above your head, and as you do this, ensure that your elbow form slightly less than a 90-degree angle. A better paddle placement takes into consideration the equal amount of the paddle shaft and blade beyond both hands.

Paddling Techniques

Paddling technique depends on the type of the paddle, such as blade offset, or feathered paddles. For example, a feathered paddle is designed to minimize the effect of the wind due to its less surface area. To achieve this, a kayaker requires a special technique to have both the blades in the water. Besides, there are different types of blade control namely, right-hand control and left-hand control paddle.

A paddle is right hand controlled if the right blade is held vertically and the left blade is up or scooped. In this scenario, the right-hand stays tight while losing the left hand. The process is made easier with practice and holds the paddle firmly in your right hand while setting the left hand to lose.

To oar smoothly, rotate the blade back and forth using the right hand while sliding through your left hand. And take a paddle stroke with the right hand and cock your right wrist back. When doing this, the left hand to stay free and open. After the right-hand stroke, repeat the same stroke with the left hand. Repeat the process throughout the kayaking expedition. For the left-hand control paddling, the process is reversed with the tight left hand while setting the right hand loose.

How to Paddle A Kayak With Strokes

The forward power stroke is the basic paddle stroke popular among kayakers and consist of the following phases; the catch phase, power phase, and release phase. For this to happen, place the oar blade in the water next to your toes. With the oar firmly in water, roar or pull the paddle blade back beside the boat to about your hip, and lift the paddle blade and repeat the stroke on the other hand. A blade drifts in an arc shape while stroking forces the boats’ bow to move away from your paddle blade resulting into a sweep stroke. The sweep stroke is for turning the boat around. Learn the basic of the forward and sweep stroke to help you paddle with ease.

Draw Stroke

If you want to move the boat sideways, the paddler to use the draw stroke. This stroke is essential when docking the Kayak at the shore.

Reverse Stroke

It has the opposite effect of the forward stroke. It helps break a kayak movement.  The reverse stroke has three phases namely, drop phase, power phase, and release phase.

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