Basic Kayak Paddling Skills

Kayaking is one of the fastest growing of the water sports in the USA. Some other good reasons to paddle include:

  • Kayaking is peaceful and meditative or can be exhilarating – depending on where and how you do it.
  • Provides  cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases torso and leg strength

So it is very important to take a lesson to learn the essentials of kayaking. You’ll have a much more enjoyable and safer time on the water if you read few key paddling skills.


How to Launch a Kayak from a Dock

It’s important to know a proper way to do it without getting yourself soaked, make sure that you are wearing a life vest and that it is properly fitted first thing you going to do is take your boat and put it parallel to dock.

How to launch a kayak from a dock

  • Take your paddle put it right behind your Cockpit rim, majority of your paddle going to rest on the dock.
  • Next thing sit on the dock with your feet facing forward
  • Grab the boat, putting your first hand on the top, while second on the dock
  • Put feet in , lift yourself put yourself in

Proper Technique for Paddling a Kayak

We are going to take quick look at the ideal sitting position when you are paddling your kayak. Because good posture will let you paddle harder, longer and avoid issues like back pain.

It just like what you learnt about to sitting on the dining table your feet should be resting comfortably and securely against the foot paddle

Proper Technique for Paddling a Kayak

Paddling a Kayak

First you need to decide which your control hand, right handed people will right hand as their control hand, regardless of what type of stroke you are taking the grip of control hand should never change.

After taking stroke from your control hand, you loosen your other hand which you call as grease hand so that the shaft can rotate within it for you take the next stroke.

Maintain a continuous flow, while focusing on each paddling stroke.

Paddling a kayak technique

Common mistakes

  • Poor posture
  • Insufficient torso rotation
  • Ending the stroke too late and too far behind the hip
  • Pushing the upper hand too forward, creating a less effective blade angle
  • Rocking the kayak from side to side with abrupt weight shifts
  • Straining the wrists by allowing them to bend

The Stern Rudder

It’s the most powerful way to control your kayak moving forward. There two forms of stern rudder

  • The stern pride that you can push away with the backside of you paddle blade
  •  Stern water towards you which called stern draw

Both start from the same position with your body turned and blade deeply in the water, and shaft parallel to your kayak, your front hand should be held comfortably against your chest.

The Stern Rudder

Kayaking Sweep Strokes

Sweep stroke is the best stroke to turn your kayak, you can use them both stationary or while moving forward. The more you tilt your Kayak the more effectively it will turn.

Forward stroke starts with your body round up, your blades clearly in the water and using the power of rotation, power face of the blade pointed away from the kayak, keeping the other hand fairly low.

Kayaking Sweep Strokes

Reverse sweep stroke. It is just a forward sweep done backwards, starting from the back and ending close to your toes.


High Brace turn

Start with some forward speed then initiate your turn with sweep stroke, put your kayak in the direction of your turn

High brace turn

Paddling Backwards

Sometimes you have to move backwards, you sitting upright , rotate it back place the paddle couple of feet off the boat and back face to the water , press down then rotate it back the other side


Paddle sideways

Sometimes you want to be going sideways,

For draw stroke that you have paddle up off to your hip then draw -stop – slightly blade out again draw and stop, and repeat

Skulling draw stroke

This stroke works on the princliple of lift like an airplane wing. Slicing the blade forward and turn the angle of blade and slice back

How to Do a Wet Exit from a Kayak

  • Rip out your skirt
  • Slide your hands at back of your hip
  • And put yourself out


Safe kayaking

Kayaking is a relatively safe sport, but one should be prepared for accidents. See also the safety checklist below:

  • Remember that the weather can change rapidly
  • Avoid paddling far from the coastline
  • Have a map that shows rocks and seamarks
  • Avoid paddling on ship routes
  • Wear a head lamp etc. if it is dark
  • Have fresh water and spare energy with you- always wear life vest
  • Know how to do a wet exit and get back in
  • Have equipment and knowledge to empty your kayak
  • Practice safety skills well and in real conditions
  • Have a mobile phone in a waterproof container
  • Have spare clothes in a dry place

Things to remember

  • Both canoeing and kayaking involve paddling a small craft through water.
  • The best way to learn how to paddle is to join a local
  • Make sure your preparation and skills are adequate for the paddling activity you have planned.
  • Be a competent swimmer – since paddling involves the occasional tip into the water, make sure you are a competent swimmer. If necessary, brush up on your swimming technique.

Whether a person is just a few years old or upwards of 60, they can enjoy kayaking. Kayaking reaches across these generational lines and simply does not discriminate.