Your Inner Paddler

by Rod

in Sea Kayaking

Be in touch with your Inner Paddler

I want to start some coaching next year 2017  to pass some of the information I have gained over the nearly 40 years of paddling  to help other paddlers, but to do that, I felt I also needed to fill in some of the gaps of what I have learned. A lot of the stuff I have learned has been from experience although I have done some courses over the years, paddled with experienced paddlers and read books and watched videos. Recently I have been doing more research, but theory is no good unless you can do the practice as well. Paddling is a practical physical sport and eventually you just have to get out there and do it, just like Niki says. Over the next couple posts I want you to think about your paddling and I am going to go back to the basics and start from there. This is probably more in line with sea kayaking but a lot of the information can be used in other facets of kayaking like touring or surfing and a lot of the information also is more commonly used in  white water paddling, river running and even sprint racing. A lot of people probably think of sea kayaking as just boring touring on the ocean, but apart from the beauty of the scenery of the ocean, she can also be extreme and ever changing. Eric and I often do a training paddle from the Harbour out around a couple buoys and we always comment on how different each paddle is, even though we paddle over the same areas. To be ready for those changes, and challenge yourself is what I would like to introduce you to.


To do this we have to first learn some of the basics. The basic first step after you have purchased your kayak is actually fit your kayak to you. Have you ever done any modifications to your kayak so that you fit snugly into it. I will admit apart from trying to make the seat comfortable in my sea kayak, that is probably as far as I have gone as well.

While I was racing the idea was to have the foot rest in such a position that you could use a leg drive against the foot rest so that you transferred as much of the forward motion through your paddle stroke as possible to the kayak. This connection to the kayak is even more critical in white water paddling. The idea here is every part of your body below your waist moves as part of the kayak, whether the kayak is moving side to side or up and down, your hips, thighs, legs and feet move as part of the kayak. Naturally if every part of your body below your waist is moving as part of the kayak above your waist will most likely be doing something completely different. This all helps with bracing, support strokes, turning and even rolling. All becomes easier to perform. This doesn’t mean you are locked in so tight you can not move, but sufficient to be able to hold a position if needed. Does it make sense to fit your kayak out this way. The next post I going to try explain this in more detail.

Mick going for a slide

The next step after fitting you to your kayak so you feel comfortable in side it, you need to learn how to get out or as we say do a wet exit. Then you need to learn a couple ways to re-enter your kayak in deep water. Once you know how to exit and re-enter your kayak, you will feel more comfortable and relaxed when you are out on the water. Then we can get onto the more fun stuff like a forward paddle stroke. Yes everyone who buys a kayak probably thinks they can do a forward paddle stroke, That’s easy????? There is more to it than that. Learn correct seating position, leg drive, shoulder, hand and torso movement, paddle entry and exit, all important parts of a forward stroke. Then there is all the other strokes that follow.


Once these basics are in hand there is so much more to learn about sea kayak, all very interesting. We would love to have you out on our paddles. We have plenty more to see and experience.

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