Your Guide to Kayak Edging

Kayak Edging

It’s important to learn how to put your kayak on its side comfortably so that you can move on from the basics. From simple turning to the most complex techniques, edging adds zest to everything. You can literally make you kayak dance to your tune (I mean moves) by practicing this technique.

Leaning and Edging – The Difference

It is better to get your basics right before trying to master Edging. Personally, I think beginners should have a better understanding of what is not considered as ‘kayak edging’ before trying to understand what an edging is. First you need to sit in upright position in your kayak. You need to make sure that your belly button and your nose should be in perfect line. A perfect alignment is what you should be aiming for. Alternatively, you should start moving your head to the right while making sure that the nose is in line with the right knee. You will be moving your head in that direction unless and until that alignment is achieved. However, you need to be careful while doing so because there is a slight possibility that your might fall of your kayak or chair while doing so.

Now in order to edge, you need to learn how to change the angle of the head toward the left shoulder while keeping the weight on the right bun cheek at the same time. Make sure that the nose-over-navel alignment is maintained carefully. Start lifting your left knee as you shift farther right, forming a C posture with your body. You’ll feel a pulling on your left side; edging entails performing side crunches instead of leaning over.

Three-Levels-of-Edging Balance Drill


This is a classic drill and therefore, it is quite popular among kayakers regardless of their experience and expertise. This drill will help you do cool things with your kayak like carve through a turn. In this drill, you will have to keep the kayak in complete control for several minutes at each level. You need to work on your bracing skills first before trying to master this classic drill without using a paddle float. If you want, you can also practice this drill by keeping your paddle rested on the bow of your partner. This will minimize the possibility of kayak capsizing.

Don’t get frightened if your kayak start wobbling. It is quite normal for kayaks to wobble a bit. Your objective is to keep the kayak stead as far as possible. Once you get the hang on this edging thing, you need to try to hold each edge for at least 10 seconds but that would take a lot practice. If you are using a paddle float, try not to rely on it to keep your balance during this drill. This will help you build your confidence. The next stage of this drill is – high-brace drill. This drill will help you move your kayak faster.

C-to-C: Pre-Bracing Drill

In this drill, you have to use a paddle float. Now it is time for you to edge on the right side. You need to go a bit extreme while edging this time around. Had it not for that paddle float, you would have definitely fallen over. We understand that it is not possible for beginners to keep the nose and navel in the same alignment all the time, so try your level best and you will be just fine. You need to make sure that the left side of your body is forming a C posture while the left knee is kept in raised position throughout the drill. Keep your head tilted.

In the next stage, you will have to get your balance back and this can be achieved by doing a doing a crunch on right side. Your right ear should be moved towards the right shoulder while tightening at the waist. Your right hip should meet your right elbow while you are trying to push your paddle hard.

Posted by
Arthur G. Moore

Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.

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