How to Paddle a Kayak

How To Paddle a Kayak with Proper Technique

Is not knowing how to paddle a kayak keeping you from enjoying the water? Considering the wide variety of kayak lengths and styles that are available, many people make the assumption that the only way to have an enjoyable kayaking experience is by making the right choice of kayak. While it is true that the kayak shape, length and style are significant, it is also essential to learn the right paddling techniques for your situation. Controlling the kayak comes with the application of the right stroke at the right time and in the right direction. Making the right choice of technique can be helpful in reducing fatigue and allowing you to be able to travel more efficiently.

How to Paddle a Kayak Using the Whitewater Technique:

whitewater kayak paddlingThis technique, as the name rightly suggests, is for use in uncertain, choppy waters and involves inserting the paddle blades at angles of almost 90 degrees to the water surface and then pulling it out once the shaft reaches the level of your torso. It should be kept in mind here that the blade shouldn’t be allowed to slip behind you. The whitewater technique is generally used with short paddles as long paddles would make the kayak turn at every stroke, thereby making it hard to move along a straight line. This technique is used often by professionals.

How to Paddle a Kayak Using the Touring Technique:

proper kayak paddling techniqueThis technique is generally used in calm waters for traveling long distances. Here, the blade is to be inserted into the water at an angle that is shallow and nearly horizontal. The strokes stop right behind your torso. This technique is effective in covering long distances without much physical exertion. Long strokes are a better technique for touring the waters in and around Sarasota Bay.

Long kayaks may also be used or even those that have a built-in way of maintaining directional stability, for example, a rudder or keel would be a good choice to make for this technique.

How to Paddle a Kayak Using the Pushing Technique:

how to paddle a kayak properlyRemember, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That means that lifting the non-paddling arm and pushing it forward is just as important as dipping and pulling with the paddling arm. The pushing technique can be a great way of reducing fatigue while increasing the efficiency of paddling. While pulling back on the paddle end that is inserted in the water, you will have to push forward using the hand that is on the opposite paddle end that remains in the air. This way, the push exerted by your torso will produce about %75 of  the force behind each paddle, leaving the arms to provide only %25. That way it is easier to move forward without too much physical exertion. I recommend that everyone on my kayak tours use this technique. It is highly effective.

Do you have paddling techniques of your own? Let us know how you paddle by leaving your comment below.

About The Author

I am the proud owner of Bay and Gulf Adventures and your personal tour guide for our kayaking adventures. My goal is to educate you on the ecosystem and history of this beautiful city, while introducing you to Sarasota's marine and shore wildlife in a fun and exciting environment. Each tour is unique and I always strive to provide an exceptional service. See you on the water!

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