Kayaking: Technique vs. Power [Video]

One of the reasons kayaking is such a great water sport for so many is that finesse—good technique—is more important than power…

kayaking technique vs. power

“Paddlers with good technique look and feel effortless on the water.”

Our friends at Paddle TV explain this in this video:

Two Kayaking Misconceptions

New or inexperienced kayakers usually believe two things that seem to make sense, but are actually misconceptions:

  1. The most important muscles used in kayaking are in your arms.
  2. You plant and pull your paddle through the water to move forward.

Let’s take a look at each of these ideas one at a time.

How to Get Proper Torso Rotation

If your arm muscles aren’t the key to kayaking, which muscles are? It’s your core.

“Your arms act as an extension of your core, but they’re not doing all of the work on their own.”

This is important for a couple of reasons: First, paddling from your core will protect your shoulders from injury. Second, you’ll be able to paddle longer and with more efficiency.

The key is to sit up straight and imagine a line from your head to your belly button. Your head won’t move independently from your belly button, but think of them as fused in a line. Instead of leading a turn (or paddle stroke) with your arms or head, you lead with your belly button—your core.

How to Take Proper Paddle Strokes: Plant & Rotate

The second misconception is that you want to plant your paddle blade in the water and pull it back through your stroke. It’s helpful to think of the water as solid as a reminder to engage your core in each stroke.

A great way to get the feel for this is to sit in your kayak in shallow water and stick your blade into the sand or mud. With the blade stuck in the sand, move the bow of your kayak back and forth. Pay attention to how you need to use your core muscles to make the movement (watching the video will clarify that!).

You’ll feel yourself working from your core out to your arms, instead of just with your arms.

So—get out on the water and practice these. Your kayaking experiences will be even more fun and you'll be able to paddle longer when you use the right technique.

Happy paddling!

What paddle questions can we help you with? Contact our friendly Customer Service Team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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