Is balance and paddle strokes needed for kayaking? How do you do it all. What is important? The position of a paddles is important. Most beginner kayaker feel paddling while seated is the correct position. However, you may want to consider how hard balancing is before making the final decision. Always keep in mind that proper seating is important in paddling. The majority of kayaks are built with cockpits, which is one of those things that make kayaks different from canoes. It is important to know that unlike a canoe, kayaker’s sits inside of the kayak (unless you’re in a sit-on-top kayak). This means that the kayaker’s back and legs do not have the support a canoeist would. In a canoe you can kneel, which aids both the legs and back. Most kayakers must adjust to discomfort due to no seat or back rest. Some kayaks do have a seat, this gives them the support needed on the back and lower section of the body.
In kayaks you must balance the kayak with your weight, to do this you want to secure your body at the center of the kayak. This increases your stability and helps keep you from flipping over. Once this is mastered then you can practice holding your paddles in different positions.
Some kayakers prefer a doubled bladed paddle that has a spoon shaped paddle. This first step in getting the paddle in the right position is finding a blade that you feel comfortable with. If you feel uncomfortable with the paddles and blades you will find it difficult in the water to adjust. This leads to getting into a proper position difficult.
Next step is to learn all of the basic paddle strokes and advantage strokes. This will protect you in any type of water you kayak in. Most advance kayakers know that a variety of strokes to maneuver in various situations that may be needed at any time.
Learn and practice as much as possible before you get into the waters. Most times advance kayakers only need to make half strokes while correcting various situations in water.
The bow stroke is one of the traditional draw kayakers use, but it is also a difficult stroke to do. It is done by pulling the blade up and angled into the side of your foot so that your paddle face catches water. Keep your arms close to your body and in the power position.
Your upper body will be rotating towards it, have your top hand at chin height and the other hand close to your body. You can also tilt you kayak a little to help get your boat turning. As you do this it will slow down your kayak slightly. Once the kayak slows draw your paddle in towards your toes and the kayak will turn.
This will place you in the right position to paddle forward. Then do a forward sweep stroke.
The bow stroke paired with the backwater and the J-stroke can help guide you along smoothly. Modern strokes are used to turn the kayak. Other modern strokes are draw stroke, pushover (pry-away), reverses and forward quarter sweeps. These are all great strokes for kayaking.
Tandem Paddle Strokes
When you’re in a tandem kayak, both kayakers work the strokes together, while one takes the lead at stern. Then they preform the J and diagonal draw together while including the back-padding strokes. The next thing to do is get the passenger to learn the quarter sweeps. This is often used to turn the sweeps into a half mood direction.
An advance kayaker will use the sculling strokes, this is done by performing repeated draw strokes in the water. In this stroke the paddle is “sculled”. The C is a replica of the J-stroke.
The strokes are unbalanced so if you’re just starting out you may want to take classes. And attempting the outside pivot and bow rudder stokes could be challenging.
When paddling makes sure you use appropriate strength, this will lead to great power strokes that is smooth. Balance is the number one key to kayaking successfully. So, if you know that you are uncoordinated, then you will have to learn to work even harder to balance yourself.
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