When you see someone kayaking, it seems like it is a pretty straightforward task. All that you have to do is to sit on the kayak, paddle, and you will instantly move. Truth is, it is more difficult than what you have initially thought. From the proper posture to learning the fundamentals of paddling, there are many things that you have to know.
If you are a novice, keep on reading and learn from what we will share about the tips to improve your kayaking skills. You cannot be a pro overnight, but with patience and determination, you will be able to easily master the skills and become better!
1. Build your Core Strength
Kayaking will require you to be fit and healthy. You might think that it is effortless when you are from afar. When you are the one paddling, you will realize that it can actually be exhausting. It will require effort, especially if you are paddling in rough water. That said, it is important that you work on your core strength.
You will need to be engaged in exercises that will build your core. When you have a strong core, you will find it easier to paddle different strokes.
2. Practice Paddling
Perhaps, paddling is one of the most important things that you have to learn when you are new in kayaking. The stream or current alone will not be enough to get you from one point to another. You have to paddle the right way to move and to avoid bumping into other people or a foreign object. The right paddling is also important to make sure that you won’t end up being exhausted.
If you are just starting out, one thing that you might want to consider is to paddle in the mud. This will help you to work on your strokes while being able to build your core at the same time.
3. Learn the Proper Posture
Your posture is important when you are kayaking to be comfortable and well-balanced. Otherwise, you will easily feel tired and there is a higher likelihood that you will fall off. At all times, you should sit with your back straight. Keep your spine long and your head held high with eyes straight to where you are going.
Make sure to work on your paddling posture when you are on the kayak. If you are too forward or back, it can be easy to lose balance. You will be prone to tipping or capsizing, especially when you are on rough water.
4. Hold the Paddle Properly
More than the right posture, it is also important that you know how to hold the paddle properly. Otherwise, this will easily make you feel tired. To add, this can also cause the paddle to lack power. Worse, it can be prone to falling off the boat.
You will need to hold the paddle with both of your hands just slightly over shoulder distance. See to it that the blade’s concave part is facing you. Once it is dipped in the water, the same part should be the one that is creating a sweeping motion. Keep your hands tight to keep the paddle near you but avoid applying too much force to the point that you are already uncomfortable.
5. Download a Kayaking App
It will also be good to integrate technology into kayaking. There are several apps that you can download and will prove to be useful when you are on the water. These apps can help when it comes to navigation, safety, fishing, and photography. You can use them to navigate on the water or simply post a photo on social media. You can also download an app that will help forecast weather conditions to make sure that you will have the perfect timing.
6. Know How to Rescue Yourself
While it is fun to be kayaking with a buddy, many times, you might find yourself doing this alone. With this, if you have ever been involved in an accident, no one is there to help you. This is when the importance of learning self-rescue enters the picture.
With a self-rescue, the first thing that you have to do is to do the wet exit, which will detach your body from the boat after capsizing. Reach under your kayak and find your paddle float. After this, hook your leg in the cockpit, which will prevent the kayak from getting away. Flip the kayak and place the paddle like it would be an outrigger. Pivot your legs, slip it into the cockpit, and slowly move to the kayak. Once you are inside, get rid of the excess water.
7. Know your Kayak
As a beginner, it is also important that you know the different parts of the kayak. From top to bottom, you should learn not only the names of the specific parts but also their uses. More importantly, if there is one part that encounters a problem when you are on the water, it is critical that you know how to perform a quick fix.
8. Learn How to Roll
In kayaking, a roll refers to righting your kayak when it has capsized. This will require the need to use your paddle or the entire body to be able to turn the kayak back on the surface of the water. You need to learn the different ways to do this, such as the sweep roll and the C to C roll. It will help to make your kayaking experience safer and less frustrating.
9. Study Launching and Landing
To improve your kayaking skills, you also need to learn how to launch and land your kayak depending on various situations, such as the location. You can launch either from a shoreline or a dock. Make sure to do it right to prevent losing your balance.
10. Practice Makes Perfect
Last but not least, we suggest that you keep on practicing. This is perhaps the best thing that can be done to take your kayaking skills to the next level. Plan a kayaking trip as often as possible. Even at home, you can practice. There are tons of online videos and reading materials that are available. You can practice even when your kayak is on solid ground. Brush up on your knowledge and practice consistently to achieve perfection in what you are doing.
In sum, kayaking might seem an easy activity at first. But once you are on the water, you will realize that it is actually difficult. To make things easier, take note of the tips mentioned above, and for sure, it won’t take long before you will be able to master the basics.