Tag: Basic

Basic Paddle Handling for Kayakers

Paddle Handling for Kayakers pic
Paddle Handling for Kayakers
Image: rei.com

Troy Biddix is an accomplished Detroit partner with Deloitte Tax who guides the delivery of a host of coordinated, client-focused services. Troy Biddix is a member of the Detroit Athletic Club and enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, sailing, and kayaking in his free time.

One of the key aspects of learning to kayak involves mastering basic paddling techniques, which enable the kayaker to control the boat and minimize safety risks. When kayaking, the paddle should be gripped in a relaxed manner, with the hands spread out approximately shoulder width. The knuckles are positioned upward with the thumbs and index fingers oriented in a way that enables the shaft to be comfortably pushed in forward strokes.

For beginners, matched blades, with the paddle blades set in a parallel orientation, are the most common option. Intermediate kayakers often use feathered blades, which have a button in the middle that allows the blades to be arranged at 30°, 45°, and 60° angles. This is particularly useful in windy conditions, when the flat blades will meet significant resistance with every paddle forward.

In addition to the forward stroke, kayakers commonly use a sweep stroke, which avoids the loss of momentum caused by dropping the paddle into the water to make a turn. It involves a combination of leaning toward one side of the kayak while making a wide arcing sweep with the paddle.