Kayaking, either for an adventure or multi-sport race, could be daunting for most of you. Chances are you haven’t been in a kayak for a long time or this experience could be completely unknown territory for you. However, you shouldn’t let this feeling get in the way, as most people often find themselves really enjoying their time in the water.
To provide you with a little steer in the right direction, we will be discussing how to go straight when kayaking. In this post, we have also made a compilation of helpful tips to make your time in your kayak a lot smoother. We guarantee that after you have read this post, you will be gliding in a straight line sooner than you think. Keep reading if you want to know more.
Kayaking: How to Go Straight
Learning the proper way to paddle a kayak forward is quite easy. However, focusing on the correct technique would ensure that you will be able to paddle faster and more efficiently. Doing it in the proper way also eliminates strain on your body. It is also noteworthy that the ideal paddling technique is also dependent on your physical condition, as well as your paddling style.
Sit-on-top kayaks are generally used in most races. As the name suggests, these kayaks are open and a bit bulky, which makes capsizing unlikely to happen. That’s already one thing you can cross off from your worries. Some sit-on-top kayaks are also built for two, which would mean that you need not worry about being alone in the water. For reference, here are the steps on how to go straight when kayaking:
1. Get into position
While some races only entail you to travel about 1 to 2 kilometers, the experience is likely to feel a lot longer if you are in an uncomfortable position, to begin with. Your bum would be all the way back in the kayak seat while your legs are bent slightly. You will also notice a series of pegs cut into your kayak, especially at your feet.
To prevent the feeling of uneasiness while you’re paddling, you might want to straighten your legs and bring them back a couple of pegs. Then, rest your feet in them. As discussed, there should be a slight bend on your legs. It should also be noted that if you have straightened out your legs complete, you will feel an unnecessary strain, especially on your lower back.
2. Good posture
It is very important that you are sitting up straight when you’re in your kayak. As opposed to popular belief, it will not be your arms that will provide power for every stroke that you do. It is actually your core. With this, it is perfectly normal that your arms exert a lot of effort when kayaking.
3. Grab the paddle
When grabbing your paddle, make sure that you are holding it a little wider than the width of your shoulders apart. In addition, it is important that your elbows are straight and high.
4. Enter your kayak
Getting in and out of your kayak is arguably one of the most challenging tasks, especially when your kayak capsizes. I’m sure you’ve heard about it or experienced one yourself. To be able to avoid getting drenched in the water, you should take your time to get in and out of your kayak. Generally, you would want to place tour paddle across your kayak, right in front of where you are sitting. This placement would not only be helpful in finding the perfect balance for your kayak as you enter and exit, but it will also make sure that you will not push off the land, which may result in your paddle being left on the bank. However odd this may sound, you need to trust us when we say that it happens.
5. Paddle stroke
When doing the paddle stroke, you would want to place the blade of the paddle in the water near your toes. Then, you need to pull it back parallel to your kayak, exactly where your hip is located. After, you need to lift the paddle and repeat this same movement, but this time, on the opposite side.
6. Keep it even
To be able to kayak in a straight line, your strokes on both sides must be even. You may find this technique very tricky, especially in the beginning. However, if you keep your focus on a point on the land and practice paddling straight, you will slowly learn how to keep a straight line.
7. Turn it around
In a kayaking race, the section is likely a loop around some buoys in a lake. With this, turning your kayak around successfully is a critical skill that you must perfect. In case you don’t know, the sweep stroke is considered the most effective way of turning your kayak. The sweep stroke would require you a bit of practice, as well as an instructor, who will teach you how to do it the proper way. To sum, you also need to start stroking farther away from your kayak, which would also mean that taking a much longer stroke than your basic stroke. More energy is expected to be exerted on one side of your kayak, causing it to turn.
Keeping safety in mind is always vital when kayaking. While kayaking is considered a safe activity, it is still very important that you understand the fact that since you are in the water, problems and nasty situations can come up, which makes matters get serious a lot quicker. This is also the very reason why you need to adopt a safety conscious attitude when making a decision while kayaking. Here are some of the simple safety tips for you:
Now that you have finished reading this post, we do hope that you will now be able to apply this new knowledge on how to kayak in a straight line. With practice and patience, this technique is very easy to learn. You just need to follow the guidelines presented above to be able to do it correctly. Lastly, keep in mind all the safety tips, allowing you to enjoy more of your time in the water.