Different strokes for different folks – this is one thing that holds true in kayaking. To successfully get from one point to another without exerting too much energy, you need to learn the basic kayaking strokes, including those we’ll briefly talk about in this article.
As a beginner, mastery of the basic strokes is crucial for your comfort and safety. Without knowing the right strokes, you won’t move in the water. Worse, you will end with a painful body without executing the right steps. Keep on reading and we’ll let you know how to do it right.
1. Forward Stroke
This is the fundamental stroke that every kayaker needs to learn, which is also the easiest. The premise is that you have to place the paddle on the water and move past through it. This is as against pulling the blade on the water. You will be using this a lot of times, so be sure to learn how to do it right. Arm power is critical. Your core and back muscles will also be involved. Picking up the paddle and making the kayak move forward is not all that it takes. To do the forward stroke, there are three phases that you need to execute:
As you do the forward stroke, some techniques can help you become more efficient. For instance, you need to maintain the near-vertical orientation of the blade. You also need to maintain an upright position, which minimizes the likelihood that you will lose your balance.
2. Turning Strokes
You don’t just move forward all the time when you are kayaking. At some point, you will also have to turn. This is when you need to demonstrate the turning stroke. Remember, unlike cars, the kayak turns on the back and not the front, which is why your stroke should focus on steering the rear of the kayak.
When it comes to turning the kayak, the sweep stroke will help to efficiently maneuver it to the desired direction. Like in the case of the forward stroke, it is also divided into three stages:
If you want to make the kayak turn while it is on its place, the reverse sweep stroke is essential. This is the same as the stroke mentioned above, but the main difference is that you do it backward.
3. Draw Strokes
Do you want to pull your kayak to the side? The draw stroke will allow you to do this efficiently. There are many instances when you will need this stroke, such as when you need to pull yourself closer to another person in the kayak while on the water. It also allows you to steer from obstacles, such as another kayak. For the right way to do the draw stroke, below are the steps you need to execute:
When you do the draw stroke incorrectly, one thing that can happen is that the kayak will turn instead of just moving straight. An easy solution is to change the angle of the blade as you submerge it. See to it as well that the boat is flat to avoid losing balance while executing the draw stroke.
4. Back Paddling Stroke
This is the stroke you need to do if you have to move the kayak back, such as when trying to avoid another kayak. This is the reverse of the forward stroke. Before anything else, the most important is to maintain a light grip of the paddle, which will make it easier to steer backward. Aside from providing you better control, this also lessens the chances that you will end up with an injury. Here are the simple steps to do this.
Kayaking is a sport wherein efficiency is more important than your upper body strength. This makes it crucial to learn the right way to complete the basic strokes, including those mentioned above. These strokes will allow you to easily get from one point to another while saving your energy and minimizing the likelihood that you will end up with an aching body.