If you have been thinking about going kayaking but think it might be too hard or strenuous, you have no reason to worry. It is a stress-free and great way to get some fresh air and exercise and enjoy breathtaking views. Kayaking is a very approachable activity. The basics can be learned in just a few minutes, and your kayaking experience can be as leisurely or as challenging as you want it to be. Here are some useful tips to help you learn how to kayak.
Launching Your Kayak
The first thing you need to do is get your kayak into the water. Slide your kayak into the water perpendicular to the shore and with its bow pointing in whatever direction you would like to go. Climb inside of the kayak and push off using your hands. Once you are out in the water, you can begin to paddle.
Maintain Good Posture
Maintaining good posture is critical in kayaking. It helps you to avoid injuries and allows you to paddle efficiently. To position yourself accurately, be sure to sit up straight. Keep your spine straight, so it is easy to move your torso side to side.
Hold the paddle in your hand correctly by placing your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be at a bit less than a 90-degree angle at the elbows.
Make sure that your feet and legs are correctly positioned as well. Bend your knees, so they are touching the sides of the kayak. Press the balls of your feet against the pedals so that you can control the rudder.
A fishing kayak with pedals can really come in handy when the angler needs to maintain a constant forward motion. This is the reason so many people choose to use pedals while they are fishing.
How To Paddle Your Kayak: Basic Kayak Maneuvers and Strokes
The following are the essential kayak maneuvers and strokes to learn how to kayak:
Basic Forward Stroke
This motion is relatively straightforward. Here are a few pointers to help you perfect this stroke:
Keep your paddles close to your kayak. The boat will attempt to turn if you have further away.
As you are paddling, twist your torso. That will help to make your strokes more powerful. Also, push with your legs as you are paddling to make your strokes even stronger.
The basic concept here is using the strong muscles in your legs and torso to help propel yourself. If you use just your arms, it will be necessary for you to expend much more energy to keep your kayak moving and you will get tired very quickly. Don’t grip your paddle too tight and make sure to relax your arms. This will help give the muscles in your arms a rest while your whole body is working to push the kayak forward. Don’t shift your weight too much while you are paddling.
Basic Reverse Stroke
This is the reverse of the forward stroke and used for backing the kayak up.
Turning Your Kayak
Performing the sweep stroke will turn your kayak. There are both backward and forward sweep strokes. To turn your kayak left (counterclockwise) you need to perform the forward sweep. Keep your paddle low (lower than your shoulders) and begin your stroke to the right and front of the seat. Rather than pulling straight back, instead, arch your paddle towards the back, and as you are doing this twist your torso. That will pull your kayak counterclockwise.
To turn the kayak to the right (clockwise) do the same movement but with the paddle on the left instead.
This is the stroke that can be used to move your kayak sideways. That can come in handy if you want to approach another kayak or a dock. Hold your paddle along the side of your kayak. This should be the same side that you want to move towards. Have both of your hands on the water with your paddle at a relatively steep angle. The edge of the paddle needs to be at an angle away from the kayak while as the blade moves in a forward direction. Flip the paddle when you get to the end of the stroke so that the edge of the blade is angled away from your kayak. Then pull back the paddle. Your kayak will move sideways when this is repeatedly done.
How To Get Out Of Your Kayak
To land your kayak, use the same technique that you used to launch it, but in reverse. Hold your paddle perpendicular to the shore and use the kayak for support as you are climbing out of it.
As you can see, although there are some strokes and maneuvers that you need to become familiar with, it isn’t that difficult to learn how to kayak. Once you get the basics down, you can then concentrate on honing your techniques and more importantly enjoying yourself out on the water. Take a look at other techniques that can be used as you search for the right kayak.
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