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Forward Paddling Stroke in Kayaking

People of all ages can try Kayaking because it is easy to learn and you do not really need to know a lot of technical know-how in order to enjoy paddling in the river or sea. What you need to know are some easy skills and techniques that will enable you to steer your Kayak and reach your destination. This section covers some maneuvers that you need to know to go Kayaking:

Forward Paddling Stroke

The Ultimate Kayak Forward Stroke for All Kayakers

Ken Whiting breaks down the technique for an efficient, comfortable and powerful forward stroke.

One of the basic Paddling techniques that you should learn is the Forward Paddling Stroke. This will enable you to move the Kayak or canoe forward. You will be doing this technique most of the time, so it is important to learn how to do it the right way. In this section, learn how to make an efficient Forward Paddling Stroke:

  1. Use One Hand to Hold Paddle

    Hold your Kayaking Paddle with one hand (top hand) about the same level as your ear.

  2. Lean Forward

    Lean slightly forward. With your other hand (lower hand), submerge the Paddle blade completely in the water as far forward as possible. The stroke will not be efficient if the blade is submerged too deep or too shallow.

  3. Pull Lower Blade Back

    Using your shoulders and torso, push your top hand forward, at the same time pulling the lower blade back.

  4. Move the Top Blade In Front of You

    When the back of the Cockpit is almost at level with the lower blade, the top blade should be moving in front of you.

  5. Move The Top Blade Close to Water

    At this point, the top blade should be moving lower and closer to the water, in line with the gunwale or the upper edge of the boat.

  6. Get The Lower Blade Out of Water

    When your lower arm bends at the elbow, get the lower blade out of the water.

  7. Rotate Your Body and Repeat

    Rotate your body on the other side to make another stroke.

The Forward Paddling Stroke is a continuous motion. It should be done smoothly to make it efficient. Practice the right body movements in relation to your Paddle so you will be comfortable doing the stroke when you head out.

Last modified: March 13, 2020
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