Have you ever been in a kayak? At first, you might feel unstable in it, and the paddle might even frustrate you. As a beginner, understanding your kayak might be kind of tricky, so the best way to get better would be to take a beginner’s class in kayaking or boating.
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It is best, as a starter, to sail in calm lakes so you can get the basic strokes down. Once you get in the water, you should pick out a spot and try to paddle to that exact spot. At first, what will happen is, you will find yourself drifting off course, moving haphazardly. If you keep your strokes short and close to the kayak, and the farther out the blade is, the more turns you will have.
When it comes to a basic stroke, you should:
- Sit up straight
- Stroke deep
- Put the blade in the water close to your feet
- Make your strokes even so as to keep moving on a straight line.
Once you find that you are able to move on a straight line, what you would need to do is to learn how to turn. And one way to do this is to use the paddle blade as a rudder. Drag the blade just behind you in the water, make sure that it is close to the boat. If you keep the angle sharp from your forward position, you will turn easily. The kayak will be made to turn to the same side as the blade. So, if you plan on going left, drag it to the left. If you keep on trying to move toward a particular spot or object, you will get used to how long you need to rudder to correct your path.
What the rudder does is it slows down the kayak, so what you need to do is to work on a steering stroke to keep the boat from moving forward.
Another kind of stroke mostly used is the low brace; this is used to avoid capsizing when you feel the kayak is beginning to tip, what you need to do is:
- Pull the paddle close to your stomach, on the deck
- Stick your elbows out straight and high on each side.
- Depending on the side you are tipping, put the back side of the blade flat against the water.
- Apply a downward pressure, this will help to brace the boat and keep you from tipping further.
- Use your hips to bring the kayak back under your body, letting the blade keep you steady.