How to Paddle a Kayak Most Efficiently

A kayaker allows the power and direction in his or her kayak by handling a paddle. This is a vital tool and it facilitates veteran paddlers to merge fluid strokes together, building great momentum. The fluid movements with the paddle are created from the normal strokes that all paddlers need to learn. Paddling the right way can help avoid tendonitis or repetitive stress injury and will also make a more efficient and enjoyable paddling experience. There are a number of methods to paddle a kayak effectively.


  • 1

    Maintain a good position

    Set a control position that is perfect for you. All paddlers are either going to have a left-hand control or a right-hand control. Doing a paddle, with the blades at zero to 90 degree angle to each other, stand and place the corner of a blade on the surface parallel to your feet. If the top blade’s power face is on the right, note that it is a right-hand control; if vice versa then it is a left-hand-control.

  • 2


    Put your hands on the paddle a bit more than shoulder-width apart while sitting in your kayak. Middle the paddle directly between your hands, placing thumbs underneath and palms on top. There will be less leverage if your hands are shorter than shoulder-width apart. Maintain the paddle in front of you at chest to chin height and bend your arms slightly.

    Make sure your control hand does not make any movement as you twist the shaft with this hand. The control-side blade needs to be placed perpendicular to your body when you place the paddle out in front position. On the other hand, the other side should be parallel to the water when at 90-degree angle. This is basically your paddling position.

  • 3

    Blade positioning

    Make sure you place the control-side blade up and back to almost ear level, and stretch the nondominant blade out and down into the water as far as possible. Grab the blade as far as your ankle, and stretch it past your knee level. Put the blade such that it is only one or two inch into the water.

    Move the shaft of the paddle with the control hand and use your muscles and hips to make the nondominant black push back through the water toward you. Remember to grip not too tightly when making use of the control hand to push it, but do force the shaft between forefinger and thumb.

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