Recreational kayaking is mainly done by casual paddlers who likes to have a relaxing day on the water. And even in terms of kayak sales, the recreational kayakers are the ones who make for the largest segment on buying kayaks. And recreational kayaks are less expensive when compared to other type of kayaks and also come with a large cockpit that allows for simple entry and exit. The beam is also much wider that provides the needed stability in the water and the kayaks are much lighter and easy to handle. In this article, we are going to learn about how to master your kayaking techniques in recreational kayaking.
Entry and Exit
One of the first thing you need to master in kayaking is the getting in and out of your kayak. But it also largely depends on the location from which you enter or exit the kayak. If you are a beginner to recreational kayaking, then it would be better to start near the shoreline of a lake so that you can easily hop into the kayak from the edge of the lake and push the kayak forward with your hands.
If you are entering the kayak from a dock, make sure to select the lowest point in the dock and have your kayak positioned parallel to the dock. Now sit down on the edge of the dock right above the kayak’s seat. Now slowly position your feet in the kayak on the front side and gently push your butt over the kayak’s seat quickly. If you want to be more comfortable, you can even cling on to the docks and ensure your paddles are well within the reach once you get into the kayak.
You can use the same procedure for getting out of a kayak in a dock. Position the kayak parallel to the dock, hold on to the dock with your hands. Now gently stand up in the kayak and climb on the dock. The key to a successful exit from the kayak is to maintain your balance and the more you practice, the easier will it be to get in and out of the kayak.
Holding the Paddle
A kayak paddle consists of two blades attached to the edges of a shaft. And the shaft is the part that you hold in your hands and the blades are used for pushing your kayak forward. And make sure to you hold the paddle in the right way, as the concave or the smoother part of the blade facing you. But when you are paddling backwards, the smooth side of the blade should face the opposite direction. And while holding onto the paddle, your hands should be separated at nearly the size of your shoulder width.
And according to veteran paddlers, it is important to keep your body straight. As sitting straight will help you in using your upper body weight to give you more power to paddle. When you start bending your torso, you begin to give more pressure on your arms and may begin to feel tired quickly. And for efficient paddling, it is important to push the entire portion of the blade into the water as it will give you the needed thrust to push you forward.
Mastering Your Turns
Another important aspect of kayaking is you need to enhance your skills to turn. Generally, many beginners turning a kayak is much simple if your paddle in the opposite direction. But is easier said than done. If you want to master your turning skills, you need to practice and do it in the right way or else there is every chance of you to flip over.
When it comes to turning your kayak, there are several ways you can use after you have mastered the art of entry and exit, holding your paddles and going straight without any issues. Let’s look at two different ways to turn your kayak. The first method involves using your paddle as a fulcrum to help in turning your kayak.
- The first step in turning your kayak is to stick your paddle into the water
- And make sure you have a steady grip on to the paddle
- The angle of the paddle is important to making wider or smaller turns
- If the angle is sharper from the cockpit, you can take wider turns
- And remember that your kayak will turn to the side where you stick your paddles.
- So if you want to turn right, then stick the paddle to your kayak’s right side or to the left side if you want to make a left turn
- And it is also important to remember that your kayak almost comes to halt or slows down considerably, so once you complete the turn you need to paddle quickly to move forward.
And the second technique is a lot simpler than the previous one and here also you will be using your paddles. To push forward your kayak, you’ll be using forward strokes and in the same way with a little bit of tweaking to the forward strokes, you can easily turn your kayaks. While moving forward, you will be pulling your paddles back straight whereas to turn your kayak, you need to pull it back in a semi-circle angle. Try to push it in an angle close to the stern of the boat and your kayak will start turning in that direction.
Mastering the Art of Stopping Your Kayak
You don’t have brakes in your kayaks so that when applying a brake it come to an instant stop. So it is upto you to bring your kayak to a stop and even when you stop paddling it won’t stop immediately. One of the simplest ways to stop your kayaks is to reverse paddle. Yes, you push forward your kayak with forward strokes and to counter the forward motion, you need to use backward strokes to make your kayak to a standstill.
Kayaking is always fun and when you master these skills, you can have lots of fun with recreational kayaking.