How to Paddle A Kayak: A Beginner’s Guide

Kayaking is a great activity for anyone who wants to get out on the water and see nature at its most beautiful. Still, if you’ve never done it before, it can be a little intimidating. It’s hard to know how to control the kayak and where to go. Before you even pick up a paddle, there are several things you need to know about kayaks and how to paddle them. This article will tell you everything you need to know to get started.

How to Use Your Paddle

Understand the design of the kayak paddle. A kayak paddle differs from a canoe paddle in that it has two blades linked to the shaft. The paddle’s shaft is the component you grasp, and its blades are what you use to propel both the kayak and yourself through the water.

Two hands should be used to hold the paddle.

Face the proper direction with your paddle. Beginners sometimes make the error of holding their paddles backwards when they first begin kayaking. Which way your paddle is facing may not appear to matter at first, but it actually has a significant impact on the force with which you stroke. The face of the paddle is the part you want to pull through the water, so turn the concave or smooth portion of the blade toward you.

Put the right side of your paddle out. There is typically a top and a bottom to the paddle blade in many kayak paddles. It’s crucial to hold the paddle in the proper manner; the bottom of the paddle has more of a tapering effect than the top, which is more horizontal. Keep the writing upright and not upside down if there is even horizontal writing on the paddle; doing so will help you recall how to hold the paddle properly.

Check to see if your knuckles are parallel to the blade and hold the paddle at a distance of 30 cm (11.8 in) from your body.

Learn to regulate your grip. If you are left-handed, you will use your left hand for your control grip, and if you are right-handed, you will use your right hand. Allow the paddle to twist and reposition in your “loose hand” when you take a kayaking stroke to ensure that each paddle enters the water smoothly. Once it is on the paddle, the control grip does not move.

How to Move
Forward Stroke

The most basic stroke in paddling, and the one you will practice the most, requires more than just arm strength. It’s crucial to use your stronger torso muscles (your back and core) to carry out the majority of the job.

The catch phase involves winding your torso and totally submerging your blade adjacent to your feet on one side of the boat.

During the power phase the blade will move behind you when you rotate your body. Your torso will follow if you keep your eyes on the underwater blade. Pay attention to pressing with your upper hand as you move against the shaft as well.

The release phase: “Slice” the blade out of the water when your hand is just behind your hip.

Reverse Stroke

The reverse stroke can be used to stop a moving kayak. The reverse stroke can be utilized to advance if you come to a stop. The stroke completely contrasts the forward stroke:

The drop phase involves winding your body and totally submerging your blade on the side of the boat next to your hip.

The blade will advance in front of you during the power phase, so rotate your torso.

The release phase: “Slice” the paddle blade out of the water when it is level with your feet.

Sweep Stroke

The boat will begin to gently spin the other way if you continually push forward on the same side of the vessel. A more effective approach to turn the boat is to use the sweep stroke on the side of the craft.

The catch phase is when you extend your arms in front of you and start your sweep by dipping the blade close to your feet. Start on the side of the boat that is opposite from the direction you want to turn.

During the turn phase, sweep the blade in a broad arc toward the boat’s stern. To improve the stroke, add additional force to your body’s rotation, especially after the paddle has passed the cockpit.

In the release phase, finish the stroke by slicing the blade out of the water as it gets close to the hull behind your cockpit.

Draw Phase

To side-swipe your boat, use draw strokes. If you need to get near to a dock or another boat, use this stroke:

Rotate the blade of your paddle in a horizontal position.

Approximately two feet distant, directly on the side of your boat, extend your blade’s tip until it touches the water.

Keeping the blade’s tip submerged in the water throughout the stroke, pull the blade straight toward you using your lower hand.

Stop before the blade touches the boat’s side.

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