Kayaking 101 Tips

Senior couple kayaking in a lake

From the Upper James River Water Trail to the Pigg River Blueway, the Roanoke area is full of opportunities for kayaking. If you’ve never gone before, you might be worried about getting in the water. Let’s go over some basic kayaking tips, so your first adventure will be a blast.

How to Launch the Kayak

You’ll need to get the kayak in the water before beginning your adventure. Don’t drag the hull to the water. Instead, recruit a friend to help you carry it to the water. Place the kayak in shallow water, making sure it’s perpendicular to the shore. The bow of the kayak should face out to the water while the stern is near the shore. The stern should also be in the water, even though it’s next to the shore.

Look for the deck line that’s located in front of the cockpit. Place your paddle on the kayak resting one of the blades directly under the line. Then, straddle the cockpit and lean forward, grabbing it with your hands. Slowly sit down in the cockpit seat. Next, move your legs and feet into the cockpit. Scoot back until you are in the seat and your feet are on the pegs. Then, you will be ready to grab your paddle and go out a bit to move past wakes and waves. Once you are on calm water, attach the spray skirt. If you don’t have a spray skirt, skip this step.

How to Hold the Paddle

Once your kayak is in the water, make sure you’re holding your paddle correctly. Rest the middle of the shaft on top of your head while holding the paddle with both hands. You’ll know that you’re gripping the right parts of the paddle when your elbows are at 90-degree angles. Next, put the paddle in front of you, keeping your hands in the same position. Check the blades to ensure they are in line. Also, make sure the longer edge is on top, and the scooped sides are positioned toward you. Then, adjust your hands, so your knuckles are on top of the shaft. Once your hands are in position, relax your grip, and you’ll be ready to paddle the kayak.

You might also like: Prepare For Your Next Summer Road Trip With The Fam

How to Paddle

There are three components involved in a kayak stroke. The catch phase is the first component. You’ll submerge one of the blades in the water, making sure it’s right next to your feet. During the power phase, you’ll need to move the blade behind you. Rotate your torso to give the blade the power to move through the water. Also, use your upper hand to guide it through the water. Then, you’ll need to go through the release phase. Once your hand is behind your hip, use a slicing motion to remove the blade from the water.

These tips will help you on your first kayaking adventure. As you spend more time kayaking, you’ll pick up on additional tips that will help you become a pro.