Getting Started - Basic Paddle Strokes

Paddlers frequently make the error of holding their paddles erroneously. When you catch the paddle shaft, then put it in this manner in which the smooth side that's bent inwardly (top side of the blade) is facing you. To make it easier for you, the new name is on the surface of the blade.



Symmetrical paddle blades have the same shape. The top and the base are identical. However, if your paddle blades are asymmetrical, it has a top and a base. The tapering end is the base of the blade that goes into the water first.

If you are right-handed, then your control grip should be in your right hand and vice versa. To determine the correct control grip, place your kayak paddle on the ground. While one will be lying flat, the other blade will be facing upward. The side facing upward should be your control grip. Your control grip remains the same once you start paddling.

Grabbing the paddle must be carried out in a specific matter. To be able to paddle effectually, it's required to be sure you've got a comfortable grip on the paddle shaft. Should you catch your shaft too tightly, or when you put your hands also near each other, then paddling will likely soon probably be a demanding endeavour. You ought to be in a position to maintain the paddle in just two simple steps.

Grab your paddle using the grip you usually use (controlled grip)
Then lay your other hand in a space that is a little more than your shoulder width. To ensure if this is correct, lift your hands above you while holding the paddle. If your elbows make an angle slightly smaller than 45 degrees, then you have correctly held the paddle.

The Forward Stroke and the Sweep Stroke are the first two paddling strokes that you have to learn. While the Forward Stroke propels the kayak forward, Sweep Strokes are used to turn the kayak.

Forward Stroke

For most of your kayaking trip, you will be using the Forward Stroke. To avoid early exhaustion, you should divide the energy expenditure between your upper body and your arms. Following are the steps to forwarding Stroke.

- Sit up straight and brace your feet comfortably against the footrest. This will help you maximise your upper body usage.


- Determine your control grip and accordingly hold your paddle.


- Always remember to start with your control grip.

- Extend your arms and dip the blade entirely into the water near your ankles. Pull the paddle in the backward direction and move your torso as you pull through the water. This will not only give you enough power to propel the kayak, but also relieve the strain on your upper arm.


- As the paddle reaches your torso, lift the blade out gently without splashing the water.
Repeat the same with the other hand.

Sweep Stroke

Sweep Strokes are used to change directions while kayaking. Sweep stroke follows a different path through the water than the Forward Stroke. Like Forward Stroke, this stroke starts out near your ankles and ends behind the cockpit. It sweeps quickly past the kayak, and more power is utilised at the end of the stroke.

These are the necessary steps for paddling your kayak. All the advanced strokes are based on these basic strokes. So, it is essential to master these strokes before progressing to advanced moves.