5 Tips to Kayaking With Proper Form

By November 12, 2019Blog, PainPRO Sports

Woman kayaking on a river with a lush riverbank


Kayaking is a Year-Round Activity

Even though it is winter in Vancouver, kayaking is still a great way to spend a clear day out on the water. You may be thinking that kayaking is pretty self-explanatory and does not require much instruction, but just like any other activity, there are proper ways to paddle that will reduce the incidence of injury. 


As a BCAK practicing kinesiologist and Paddle Canada certified kayak instructor, I have compiled some tips to help you master kayaking with proper form and put less stress on your body overall.


How to Hold Your Paddle

Hold your paddle and place the centre-point on your head. Adjust your hands so your shoulders form a 90-degree angle. Now, relax your grip. This will help prevent your arms and hands from getting fatigued as quickly. 


Kayaking Form – Posture is Everything

Posture is always important no matter what you are doing! It is also the foundation to proper kayaking form. Start by sitting up and not slouching on your backrest. Think about keeping your shoulders down and relaxed. Now squeeze your shoulder blades back slightly.


The Catch & Release

When beginning your paddle stroke, you want to keep your arm fairly straight and dip your paddle blade into the water at around your toes. Think about finishing your stroke when your paddle blade reaches your hips. That way, you won’t be scooping water up, which slows you down. 


Do the Twist

Think about using torso rotation to help you get more power and efficiency from every stroke. By incorporating this movement, you will use larger abdominal and back muscles instead of the smaller muscles in your arms and shoulders that will tire out.


Adjust your Paddle Angle

A low paddle angle is typically used for longer distance paddling, while a high paddle angle is used for fast and short distance paddling. Unless you are racing, it is best to hold your paddle closer to parallel than perpendicular to the water. This lower angle will help you save energy.


Hopefully, by incorporating these quick tips into your kayak outing, you can be kinder to your body and you won’t tire yourself out as quickly. Happy paddling!


Experiencing lingering pain after a recent kayak adventure? Be sure to explore our treatment options at painPRO!


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