One of the great things about kayaking is that anyone can grab a paddle and a kayak, put it in the water and start paddling…
But learning proper paddling techniques will help you kayak more comfortably, effectively and safely.
Paddle TV’s Ken Whiting tells us about three techniques all kayakers should know and practice:
1. Learn How to Re-enter a Kayak From the Water
While it is possible to re-enter your kayak alone with practice, it’s always easier when another boat is nearby so someone else can help stabilize you.
It’s a good idea to practice this on a nice warm day in nice warm water! Then if you ever find yourself in rougher conditions, you’ll know what to do and can get back on board quickly.
You need a fair amount of upper body strength for this. That should be good motivation to keep in shape for your paddling excursions!
Sit-on-top kayaks are much easier to re-enter than the sit-inside models, since they can’t swamp. If you paddle alone in a sit-inside kayak, consider staying near the shoreline. If you should capsize, it’s often easier to swim your kayak to shore than try to re-enter without help.
It’s worth saying that even if you only paddle in calm water and think you’ll never take an unintentional dip, the unexpected can happen.
Just ask ProStaffer Drew Gregory who had a very unexpected encounter with a goose while out fishing one day! Take a look at his video (the excitement starts at the 57-second mark).
2. Learn the Draw Stroke
The draw stroke is used to maneuver your kayak sideways.
The basic draw stroke is very simple and easy to learn. Take a look at the video and then give it a go the next time you’re on the water.
There are more advanced and effective draw strokes you can learn as your skills increase.
3. Learn the Sweep Stroke
The sweep stroke is used to turn your kayak when you’re sitting still, and for making course corrections as you’re moving.
There’s a forward sweep stroke and a reverse sweep stroke. You can learn both easily with some practice.
The more you work on these different techniques, the better you’ll get…and the more fun you’ll have every time you’re out on the water.
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