5 Most Common Kayaking Mistakes You Should Not Commit


Even experienced kayakers make at least one mistake included in this post. While this mistake is entirely unplanned, some tend to screw up along the way. So, what’s the best way to avoid such trouble? If you’ve decided to spend a weekend kayaking with your friends, then you definitely need to take some time to read this post. We are claiming that this post has the potential to save you from a lot of unnecessary inconveniences. More importantly, you might actually save a lot of money.

In this post, you will find 5 of the most common kayaking mistakes often committed by beginners and even by experienced kayakers. Hopefully, by the time you’re done reading this article, you are now aware of what they are and how to fix them. Now, let’s get on with the discussions.

The Most Common Kayaking Mistakes

There could be so many other kayaking mistakes you could make but in this section, you’ll find the five most common ones. They’re not entirely rare but in case you encounter one of them in the future, it’s always better to come prepared. Not only will you find in this section the causes of such mistakes, but also some tips on how you can go around this trouble at the moment and how to avoid them in the future.


Wobbling takes places when the kayaker can’t hold the kayak flat or on a continuous edge, making the boat rocking on both sides. And it’s not even the biggest problem with wobbling. On whitewater, you’re going to be dropping constantly on the wrong edges and it might be the cause of water flowing underneath the kayak. While this is no issue at all for some, you’ll inevitably be wobbling on a side and then the water is going to start piling up on top of the kayak.

Wobbling is the number one cause of your kayak flipping over, more popularly known as capsizing. Hopefully, when this happens, you’re able to roll out of the capsized boat. However, a better measure is to learn how to hold the kayak flat. Another would be holding the kayak continuously on an edge without rocking it back and forth between the edges.

This is also a very common problem when kayak racing. When you’re rocking edge to edge, you’re also losing speed and energy. With this, you might want to keep your kayak as flat as possible. It’s amazing how kayak racers can keep their boats flat and we trust that you can do it too as well. It’s not at all impossible, you just need to keep practicing.


Kayaking might entail you to use a single or multiple strokes. Primarily, the kayak paddle works in two steering ways, which empowers the kayak. When you’re paddling horizontally, it’s considered more of a steering stroke. On the other hand, paddling vertically is considered more of a powering stroke.

Most beginners paddle really low so it’s better if you try paddling forwards but using more of a steering stroke rather than a powering stroke. Doing so allows you to swing the nose of the kayak, making it a lot more stable to ride. If you’re trying to make a turn, it’s only accurate to paddle low while using a sweep stroke. However, if you’re trying to power through, you would want to paddle vertically.

Stroke Length

In general, the best kayaker in the world is likely to take fewer strokes, which would also mean energy conservation. You’re also more efficient. To add, you get to have the paddle’s blade engaged in the water. This is a good thing because the paddle is essentially the steering wheel of your vehicle. If you don’t have the blades on the water for a longer period, it’s like taking your hands off the steering wheel.

There are also times when you don’t need to steer the kayak. While it relaxing to just take some time off and relax, you should always be ready to face whatever is coming your way. With this, it’s so much better to keep your paddle on the water, as it effectively cuts down the reaction time that you need. Lastly, it should always be positioned in such a way that you’ll always be ready to paddle when the need arises.


You might find it a common thing to see kayaking athletes having the time of their lives, making it look easy. For beginners, however, they look worried, frantic even. Sure, it’s scary at first but once you get the hang of it, we’re sure that you’ll be able to conquer whatever’s coming your way. With this, you shouldn’t feel the need to rush into anything, especially when you’re out on the river. There really are no time constraints that would force you to rush things so we do recommend that you take your time while you’re in the water.

River Features

The last mistake often committed by almost all kayakers would be not using the river’s features. If it helps, imagine the river like a Mario Cart setup. Some spots would provide you with a speed boost while some areas would only slow you down. Some areas also are likely to spin you out, only causing you to lose the race.

Ideally, kayakers like you should know which features allow you to get where you want to be. You should also be aware of the features that would hinder your attempts to go where you want to go. Knowing what to do in these situations takes really advanced kayaking skills and knowledge. It would also need experience for you to be able to implement it into your kayaking routine.

First, you need to spot river features, as well as understand how you can use them to your advantage. Second, take note of the features that will only cause you some trouble and learn to avoid it in the future.


Now that we’ve reached the end of this post, we are very confident that you will now be able to work your way through these mistakes, in case you’re faced with any of them. We trust that you have read this article in its entirety because we have some really good pointers here on what and what not to do when kayaking.

Also, you’re also oriented about some of the measures that you can do when the need to fix these mistakes arise. Hopefully, you get to apply these tips on your next kayaking weekend with your friends, making your adventure a lot more enjoyable and worthwhile.

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