In the beginning, paddling a kayak can seem as alien as riding a bike without stabilisers. Although there is a specific technique to paddling, truth is, to get started, as long as you are moving around and getting where you want to, that’s all you need. So don’t sweat the small stuff!
To help you get going, we’ve come up with a list of 7 tips and tricks to get you paddling a kayak and enjoying the ‘blue gym.’
7 tips for paddling a kayak
- Sit up straight and tall in your kayak. Don’t slouch; imagine you have a piece a string attached to the crown of your head like a puppet and it’s pulling you up. This should encourage you to sit tall and straight, spine extended, feet in front of you.
- Think about your centre of balance. Are you sitting in the middle of the kayak and holding the paddle the same distance from each end? …Because you should be!
- Get the boat moving then worry about direction. If you look where you want to go, the boat will follow.
- Be more tortoise, less hare. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep the boat going at a steady pace, faster doesn’t always mean best, and concentrate more on your strokes and getting consistent.
- Try to always keep the paddle ahead of your hip. Small balanced strokes that exit ahead of your hip help the boat to move forwards. If you take the paddle out behind your hip, the kayak will start to turn.
- To push or to pull? That is the question. Rather than ‘pulling’ the paddle backwards when you make a stroke, use your waist and shoulders more to ‘push’ the paddle and boat forwards.
- Embrace the movement of the kayak. If it’s your first time on the water, the feeling of sitting on water will be a strange one. Try not to overreact to every motion and go with the flow!
Don’t forget, the best way to learn is to do it. If you’re not confident enough to head out on your own, take a look at Paddle Awards to get you started on your kayaking journey!