Nowadays kayaking has become very popular all over the world. Kayaking refers to passing through the water with a small boat or canoe or similar object. It is a good way of fun, relaxation or exercise.
But before going for kayaking, we must acquire the basic paddling techniques. We are presenting some paddling techniques which you may find helpful for kayaking.
Paddles are also available in a variety of shapes, material, and lengths. The proper paddle depends on your height and the length, width of the boat. The shaft can be either straight or curved.
The curved shaft gives more flexibility and comfort compared to the straight one. Most of the blades are asymmetrical, that means one edge of the blade is short and the other side is long. It adds more ease to move the paddle through the water. Wide blade helps to move quicker than the narrow one.
Sitting with good gesture will allow paddling better and faster. First of all, sit straight and comfortably on the kayak, make your shoulders relaxed. Avoid leaning back because it may cause you back pain.
Adjust the back brace for essential paddling support. Keep your chest slightly forward. Make the legs flexible and splay them out a little bit against the foot pedals. Keep the arms straight while paddling.
Always make a light grip on the paddle, holding it too tight or squeezing may not result in good kayaking. Keep the knuckles in a straight line with the blades of the paddle. The shorter edge of the blades goes through the water first.
Don’t hold it in the inverted position. You can change the width of the grips frequently for the ease of paddling. Every time you are paddling in a side, looser the grip on the opposite direction of the paddle.
Paddling to Move Forward
This is the main paddling stroke and it drives the boat in the forward direction. The main paddling strength comes from your torso and its rotation.
Turn your chest backward, rotate your shoulders in one direction before paddling in the opposite direction. Keep your prominent hand straight, bend the other one and swiftly hit the surface of the water near your legs.
This action is called ‘catch.’ With the pulling force of the leading hand and the pushing force of the other hand, pass the blade vertically into the water. It is called ‘power’.
In this phase, your shoulder and body move to the normal position from the rotating position. Now, rotate your shoulder on the opposite direction, rotate the paddle (known as ‘recovery’) and repeat the previous step. In this way, you will be moving forward.
Paddling to Move Backward
This paddling stroke is also called reverse paddling and it is completely opposite to forward paddling. The reverse paddling helps to go back without turning the boat around.
Slide the kayak towards the paddle using the leading hand. Stop the blade when it is several inches away from the kayak. Repeat until you reach in the desired position.
Paddling into The Strong Wind
If you face wind while kayaking, it won’t only decrease your paddling speed, but also may lead the boat backward. To avoid such kind of situations, you need to use feathered blades where the two blades remain in different axis.
The blades can easily slice through the air. Try to use small strokes because a larger one has to undergo a longer wind effect. Try to paddle while sitting on your knees to minimize the impact of air.
Right paddling techniques are responsible for going in the right direction as well as ensure your safety. If you are a newbie and haven’t tried kayaking before, practice before going to the final ride.
Start in a calm lake, fix a position in the shore and start paddling towards it by following these tricks. Once you adapt these, nothing can stop you from being a good kayaker.