Kayaking Techniques – How to Kayak
I believe by now you have the most suitable kayak for you, paddles in place, safety gear installed and you are appropriately dressed, ready for this exciting journey. Note that it is very simple. Do not be stressed out because you are virgin at this or poor at a certain stroke. I got you.
Having this theoretical knowledge comes in handy when you suddenly do not know what to do. However, having an instructor with you shall boost your skill. Doing it all practically with an authorized guard is so much fun. Remember to keep practicing whatever you learn so that you become a pro.
I shall describe the recommended methods of entering and leaving your kayak and the best sitting posture for a calm row. Not to forget, how to hold your paddle and various strokes applied at sea for directional movement shall aid you, so they are on my list too.
- Before you enter or leave your kayak, you need an appropriate angle to do it conveniently. If you do not do this, you may fall into water or down when trying to enter or exit. The very basic step is positioning the kayak parallel to the shore, with the leaning paddle blade on the shore.
- Place your paddle shaft in the cockpit, perpendicular to the length of the kayak. With one of the blades on the shore, simultaneously grasp the rim and the shaft as you enter or exit. Lean on the side with the blade on shore, try to find your balance then stay upright. This way, falling is hard.
Entering a Kayak
Sitting is easy. Nonetheless, there is a technique specifically for your kayak. First, get onto your cockpit and sit on the rear deck of the kayak. At this point, your legs should be on either side of the cockpit rim. You will then strategically slide in the right position.
Extend your legs straight into the cockpit and lift yourself with your hands supporting. Slide in with your legs straight, and then rest them on the feet pegs designated. Your knees will rest relaxed on the deck. Yep, you just entered the kayak the right way.
You will not just stand up and walk away from this journey; there is a formula. To start with, you have to get yourself on the rear deck. Remove your legs from the foot pegs and straighten them. After that, place your hands on the rim of the cockpit and lift yourself backward, moving towards the rear deck.
Once on the rear deck, get your legs out of the cockpit. You will face the side with the blade on the shore and let your feet rest on that side. When the feet touch the ground, you can stand up, stretch and pace around. Your exit is successful.
How to start
You now need to get set to depart. Everything needs to be in place. With your feet on the foot braces, your knees should press firmly onto the underside of the deck. You can now fix your spray skirt o the rim to get moving.
To attach this spray skirt, you will first introduce the attached bungee cord to the underneath part of the rim of the kayak, beginning from the back and moving towards the sides. Then, hook the bungee cord over the front of the rim. Remember to countercheck that you have sealed the cord properly.
The Forward Stroke
Most of your time, you shall be engaging in this stroke. Your torso muscles (core and back) shall be involved immensely. You need to hold your paddle correctly and tightly to do this. In the forward stroke, three phases are involved: the catch phase, power phase, and release phase.
The catch phase involves you winding your torso and immersing your blade in the water. The immersion is on the side of your kayak succeeding your feet. The power phase gets your torso rotating as the blade proceeds behind you. Watch as the blasé moves and push against the shaft with your upper hand.
Finally, the release phase comes last. In this phase, you will lift your blade out of water tactically, when your hand just gets behind your hip. This is one complete forward stroke. You will repeat this on the opposite side of your kayak and keep your journey in the forward direction.
The Reverse Stroke
You are moving in the backward course. You can also use this stroke to as a brake to your forward stroke, in case you are stopped. The phases are similar to the forward stroke except for the drop phase, which replaces the catch phase.
To do the drop phase, grasp the paddle with both hands. It should be horizontal to the rim of the cockpit. Your blade will be on the fully immersed on the side next to your feet and your torso winded. Proceed to the power phase by pushing the paddle along the side of the kayak backward.
Rotate your upper body in the same direction. Do not forget to push your feet firmly against the foot braces. This stroke is complete. You are free to lift your blade out of the water and commence rotating it in the opposite direction for continuous movement.
The Sweep Stroke
Do you want to turn to the opposite direction? Apply the sweep stroke. It is simple; you can continuously do your reverse or forward stroke on one side of the kayak until you achieve it. You will, however, need to involve your core and back muscles properly.
If you choose to take the forward stroke to achieve the sweep stroke, the phases you shall undertake are catch phase, turn phase, and the release phase. Grasp your paddle with both your hands in the horizontal position to the rim because you are about to take an extended turn.
Immerse the paddle in the water, as far away from the side of the kayak as you possibly can. Make this a wide arc. Powerfully, optimize this stroke with all the energy you have, to make a significant sweep. Doing this continuously makes the turn successfully. You can then stop when you achieve your direction.
It is possible for you to move sideways when on water. It is suitable when you have another boat or kayak next to you, and you need to move towards it. Your paddle needs to be vertically positioned so that one side is deep in water on the side you will move to, and the other remains positioned above it.
With the tip of the blasé still in the water, pull the blade straight towards you using your lower hand. You need to keep this tip in water as you pull, but still, avoid hitting your kayak with it. Avoid leaning because if you overdo it, you may flip your kayak. Repeat these strokes until you cover your intended distance.
You will apply this one technique when you want to stay upright on your kayak. It was not your dream in the first place to be on board then fall off. You can go about it in of the available types of brace: either the low brace or high brace.
In the low brace, you will hold your kayak paddle such that the back of the paddle is in a parallel position to the water surface. You will push this side into the water with your body leaning in the immersed side and your hips flicking to bring your kayak back underneath you. It is the most common brace.
The high brace, on the other hand, has you holding your paddle with the front part of the blade parallel to the water surface. Your body shall lean in this immersed direction as you immerse this front side directly into the water. Your hips should flick too. This brace is suitable for kayak surfing.