How do you paddle a kayak?


Quick Answer

To paddle a kayak, coil your body forward, dip the blade of the paddle into the water, push the water past you, and rotate your torso to the other side to start the next stroke. Before even starting, ensure you have the correct body position and paddle grip.

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Full Answer

  1. Sit in the kayak properly

    Sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed. Keep you chest open and your back away from the backrest. With your legs together, place your feet against the foot pegs.

  2. Take hold of the paddle

    Pick up the paddle, and position your hands shoulder-width apart in the center. Hold the paddle loosely in an overhand grip. Rotate the paddle so that the blade corresponding to your dominant hand is pointed up.

  3. Begin the stroke

    Uncoil your torso, and straighten you dominant arm. Press your stroke-side foot against the peg, and dip the paddle into the water near the positioning of your feet.

  4. Catch the water

    Angle your rib cage toward the bow of the kayak. Press the blade of the paddle into the water so that you "catch" a blade full of water.

  5. Use the paddle for propulsion

    Engage your core, and push the blade past you. As you push the paddle, rotate your torso. Keep your upper arm relaxed.

  6. Complete the stroke

    Lift the blade out of the water, guiding it with your elbow. Continue rotating your torso, coiling forward in preparation for the stroke on the opposite side. Repeat the steps for your next stroke.

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