Kayak Paddling Techniques: A Beginner’s Guide

Kayak Paddling Techniques: A Beginner’s Guide

Share this post

One of the best things about kayaking is that it is really easy to learn. You only need a kayak, a paddle, and some water to get started. It does, however, assist in having a basic understanding of how to operate your boat when you’re on board. 

Keep scrolling to find various kayak paddling techniques that you’ll need to know when you first get out in the water in this beginner’s guide.

Table of Contents

How To Get A Kayak Off The Ground

Sitting In A Kayak

You’ll have to feel comfy in your kayak before you start paddling. Your kayak’s footrests must be adjusted so that you can sit up straight without leaning back. 

Footrests adapt in a variety of ways, and you’ll have to figure out how yours works. Some foot brace pedals have a trigger behind them that you push to move the pedal. Others use a long stick to raise or twist the pedal-free, allowing it to be relocated. Take a few moments to get used to how your footrests are set up.

After you’ve mastered adjusting the foot braces, you’ll want to customise your kayak for maximum comfort and satisfaction. Make sure your knees are bent and your foot is neutral before adjusting the pedals. When you push the pedal, see your foot and ankle making the letter “L.” The pedals are very far away if you need to point your toes.

Your thighs should lightly touch the thigh braces if your kayak has them when pressing on the footrests. You can lean outside your thighs on the inner edge of the cockpit aperture if your kayak has a large, open cockpit. Knees should be bent to the point where you can sit erect on the seat without slouching back while pressing on your feet.

How To Launch A Kayak From A Dock

It might be challenging to get onto a kayak from a dock. Even floating docks are usually elevated above the sea. To climb into a kayak from a dock, you must use your upper body to maintain weight while gripping onto the dock using your hands. You then take a cautious step toward the kayak’s centre, placing your feet in front of the seat. 

Then you drop yourself onto the seat, using your shoulders and arms to provide support and stability. Because this is a difficult move, it’s a great idea to tie up the kayak, so it doesn’t slip away from you when you try it.

How To Get Into A Kayak From A Rocky Shore

You might be anxious about ruining your kayak or hitting your head if you flip on a rocky coast. As a result, you’ll probably want to make your kayak afloat before entering it.

How to Exit a Kayak

It’s easy to get out of a kayak by just reversing the procedure of getting in. Swing your legs over the edge and use your legs and arms to propel yourself into a standing posture if you employ the straddle method. 

Set your kayak where you can extend your paddle “kickstand” and balance yourself before raising yourself off the seat and onto the rear deck if you utilised your paddle for support. 

If you enter from a dock, you’ll need to return to the position of support you utilised to get into the kayak before using your legs to lift yourself up and then onto the dock. This is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging methods to get out of a kayak.

It is relatively simple to get out of your kayak if you tip it over. At the cockpit, place your hands towards your hips. Tuck in your chin and push forward with your hands. You’ll be outside of the kayak in a moment as your life jacket floats you to the surface.




How To Paddle A Kayak?

What Is The Correct Way To Hold A Kayak Paddle?

[ Also read: For a more detailed guide how to hold a kayak paddle, check out this article. ]

You’ll need to obtain a good hold on your paddle before you begin paddling. Try an unfeathered paddle, which has both blades placed at the very same angle to the shaft if you’re about to get started. 

If your paddle blades have a curve, they should point in the direction of the paddler (this is called the power face). The long edge of the paddle blade goes to the top if one edge is bigger than another.


How to Forward Paddle a Kayak

You’ll use a forward stroke to propel your kayak ahead. If you use your kayak paddle blade, lean forward toward your toes. Immerse the blade completely in the water. Pull your kayak over the paddle and into the water. 

At the same moment, push with your upper hand. When the blade reaches your hip, slice it out of the water. Rep on the opposite side, to drive your kayak forward across the water, alternate right and left forward strokes.

You have to hold your paddle with the top of your hand’s knuckles aligned with the paddle’s top edge. The paddle shaft should be held in your palms slightly broader than your shoulders.

– Consider the phrase “feet to the seat.” Your blade enters at your toes and exits at your seat.

– Pull on the paddle with your upper hand while punching forward.

– Don’t take a step forward. Twist your waist if you need a bit extra reach.

– Your kayak will travel straight if you pull back directly.

– For greater force, try pressing with your foot. On the paddle side, press down.

Paddling a Kayak Backwards

A reverse stroke is used to paddle backwards. This stroke is performed using the paddle’s rear side. Do not juggle the blades.

To paddle backwards, rotate at the waist so you can see behind the boat across your shoulder. Place the blade’s rear side flat on the water. First, push down, then toward the boat’s bow. The paddle blade will emerge from the water at your feet.

– Always keep an eye over your shoulder to check where you’re heading.

– With the top hand, pull a bit while pressing with the bottom.

– When you need your kayak to stop moving forward, alternate rapid reverse strokes on both sides of the kayak.

What Is The Best Way To Roll A Kayak?

The kayak roll is the most effective self-rescue manoeuvre. If you can flip in rough water and roll consistently, you’ll have a lot smaller likelihood of having to swim out of your kayak. 


[ Read here for Safety Tips For Kayaking ]

Learning to roll can aid whitewater kayakers, surf kayakers, and sea kayakers who paddle under challenging circumstances. Furthermore, if you know how to roll, it will be much easier for you to gain the advanced abilities that would enable you to stay upright.

On the surface, the roll appears to be a straightforward technique. The paddle is flung outward away from the kayak in the upside-down position. This raises the paddler’s body to the water’s surface. The paddler then applies knee pressure to bring her body back to equilibrium and over the hull and turn the kayak upright. 

The roll is a fundamental kayaking technique worth the time and effort to master. The roll’s complexity necessitates instruction from a professional instructor in a controlled setting, such as a swimming pool. Many motions must be performed in rapid succession without stopping to think about them. 

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions about Kayak Paddling Techniques_ A Beginner’s Guide or want to leave your own personal comments, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoyed Kayak Paddling Techniques? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Outdoormagnet journey.

You May Be Interested