Paddling A Kayaking

Proper Technique For Paddling A Kayaking

This article describes the main points of proper paddling technique for kayaking.

First, a couple of words about the phases of paddling in a kayak, there are four of them:

  • Initial position: The oar is at eye level, the elbow of your “pushing” arm is pointing back along the oar, the hull is facing the boat. The hand that is going to be the “pulling” arm is pointing forward. The phase in which all muscles are maximally relaxed
  • Hook: the hull stretches slightly forward with the “pushing” arm slightly outstretched, the “pulling” arm grips the water and begins to catch the prop. This is the phase during which tension begins to build up. Reaching its maximum value at the moment of finding the support and the beginning of the next phase
  • Wiggle: work with the support by turning the body, tension is maximal, held as long as necessary, weakens towards the end of the action. The stroke is completed when the pulling arm reaches the pelvis line. But if everything is done correctly, this arm cannot physically go beyond the pelvis.
  • Returning to the starting position, lift the arms up gaining the first position, but on the other side.

Here we have to take into account the following moments:

  • Pulling and pushing arms are just terms, in fact, the arms are not pushing or pulling anything, they are just holding the oar.
  • Rowing technique in a raft or a canoe is the same, but the starting position changes.
  • Range of motion: on smooth water depends on how you can turn the body. If you can turn the body is not an easy task, it may be only 5-10 cm. On rough water here is added work jets and amplitude will already depend on how well you captured the jet.

Now, the general points about shad rowing:

  • So, the main point to learn proper paddling technique for kayaking is that water does not tolerate abrupt and equal movements. Any movement in the water should be smooth, but that does not negate the fact that with some practice it can become quite fast. Although often in rafting the speed of waving an oar does not play a special role. For example, you can watch the professional slalom paddlers, those moments when they are not chasing seconds, and just enjoy the process.
  • This is another important point, you should not move your oar along the boat, you should move the boat along the oar, i.e. You should find a support in water and relatively to this support turn or advance the boat. Motion is relatively standard on a smooth water, but when you are in a moving stream. It often takes 10-15cm of movement of the oar in the water to move the boat a few meters or less.
  • When rowing, there is a continuous alternation of the phases of maximum tension and maximum relaxation. Going back to the first point, there is a smooth change of phases.
  • Then develop previous points – when you are rowing and turning the boat, the whole body is in motion, the impulse is in the pelvis and from there goes to the hull and legs. Hands are essentially a function of holding the oar in position. All movement is by turning the hull relative to the support and pushing the boat forward with legs.

And now there is an interesting nuance:  

Since the whole body is working, it should be in a normal condition and the size of muscles plays some role. But the main role is the ability to work these muscles in the extreme range of rotation and stretching. This means that for an “iron man” with tight pelvic and pectoral muscles it becomes very difficult to make a normal stroke, the work immediately becomes non-optimal, you get tired quickly, overstraining muscles that compensate for the lack (underdevelopment) of the right ones.

To check if everything is good or sad you can try to reach the floor with legs straightened (then back). Stand like that for 30 seconds, remembering to breathe deeply and smoothly.

Standing at 40-50 cm with your back to the wall, feet shoulder width apart, feet parallel to each other. And put both palms on the wall without breaking the position of your legs.

Read Also: Kayak Or Raft and how to hang a canoe on the wall

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