Being able to efficiently get your kayak from point a to point b is more than just utilitarian, it is elegant. Boat control is everything in kayaking and the more strokes one knows how to perform, the more effective the kayaker will be in getting where they want to go and enjoy the process of doing so.
At their core, kayaking strokes have the same basic parts and should always be performed while maintaining the paddler’s box. The list of six kayaking strokes found below are the first ones that kayakers should learn and are the prerequisites to learning the more advanced kayaking strokes.
1. The Forward Kayak Stroke
The forward stroke is the first kayak stroke that paddler’s should learn. While most people who pick up a kayak paddle assume they are doing the forward stroke correctly, they most likely are not. That is because, unless they take a lesson, beginning kayakers always move the paddle with their arms rather than by rotating their torso. The basis for all other kayak strokes is found in ones ability to be able to correctly do the kayaking forward stroke.
2. The Kayak Back Stroke
Some of you might be thinking why a person would want to learn how to kayak backwards. Well, it does happen in tight quarters or in finding the quickest method of getting to a flipped kayaker or simply when one has overshot their target that being able to kayak backwards is a necessary manuever to know.
3. The Kayak Draw Stroke
The kayaking draw stroke is one of the “coolest” strokes out there. If you really want to impress your friends learn how to “draw” your kayak one way or the other. Practically speaking the draw stroke will move the kayak sideways which is a big help when you want to come alongside another kayak or pull in closer to a dock that you are next to.
4. The Kayaking Forward Sweep Stroke
The forward sweep stroke can be used to make a turn, adjust course, or spin the kayak. It is the only other stroke in this list that can be done while the kayak is underway.
5. The Kayaking Reverse Sweep Stroke
The reverse sweep stroke can be used to turn the kayak around. It can also be performed while paddling backwards.
6. The Kayaking Spin Manuever
While not a stroke per se, the kayaking spin maneuver uses a combination of forward sweep and reverse sweep strokes. Taken together these strokes will spin the kayak in place. This is a handy maneuver to know for when you need to turn your kayak around.