How to Hold a Kayak Paddle? A Beginner’s Guide

  • By: Josh Rosenberg
  • Date: August 1, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Kayaking is an easy thing to do but it becomes very complex for beginners to do kayaking precisely. The main thing that matters a lot in kayaking is the way you hold a kayak paddle because holding a kayak paddle in a wrong can be very bad for your body and your trip. In this situation the right does not matter, you can get soreness of muscles even if you are using the right kayak paddle but holding it wrong.

If you do not have a good grip on the kayak paddle that makes you comfortable then there are many chances that you will get tired early. So many people don’t even know how to hold the kayak paddle, so this guide is for those people. In this guide, you will know how to hold the paddle of your kayak perfectly.

In this guide, we have explained how to hold a kayak paddle. A number of tested methods have been listed that will surely be helpful for you. Do not forget to try them at least once!

How to Hold a Kayak Paddle?

How to hold a kayak paddle comes as an essential step when you start kayaking, because if you don’t know how to hold it then you may ruin your day. How to hold a kayak paddle is not a difficult task, but if you are new it may take some practice.

While holding a kayak paddle make sure you put your hands where you feel comfortable, and don’t listen to what others say. It is because everyone has their own comfortable choice, some like to put their hands too wide and some like them too close.

Other than that, if you want to know how to properly hold a kayak paddle step by step then read this guide and follow the steps.

Check Paddle Blades Position

Check Paddle Blades Position

The position of the kayak paddle blades makes a lot of difference while kayaking. The advanced kayak paddles have two types of blades feature, in this kayak paddle the blades of one side have a long edge and the other side have a short edge. So make sure you use the side with the long edge if you want to go fast otherwise you can use the side with a shorter edge.

Another type of paddles blades is called the cupped blade, these kayak blades are cupped just like a hand of a swimmer to give more power. But while using them it is very important to use them in the right position, while using these blades make sure the cups are pointed towards the back of the water.

Other types of paddle blades are flat. In this case, the position of the blades does not matter, you can use them in any position you want.

Be Comfortable

Holding a kayak is all about comfort, because it is what matters the most while kayaking. As you have read in this guide every person has their way of putting their hands on the kayak paddle. If you don’t know your way of holding the kayak paddle then you need to find it now.

It may take some time for finding the best and most comfortable grip for yourself but can help a lot. If you don’t know how to start finding the grip you can use the ‘’fixed right hand, left one loose’’ strategy for a good start.

Have a Grip on It

Although everyone has their grips depending on their level of comfort. But by placing your hands at the same distance as the width between your elbows you can get a good grip. You the grip you are using is decreasing your comfort then it will be better if you just change your grip to a comfortable one.

While kayaking if you want to get full control of your kayak then I would suggest you use a paddle with a wide grip. But if you go for a longer comfort then I would suggest you use a paddle with a narrow grip.

There are some of the steps you should follow if you don’t know how to hold your kayak paddle properly. For that take your left hand as the controller, grip the kayak paddle accurately and make sure you do not change it during your stroke.

The blade’s angle can also be set by using your right hand, for that loosely grab the shaft of the kayak paddle with your left hand. And twist the kayak paddle for turning or bracing in the right direction using your right hand.

In this way, the grip of your right hand will be stable but make sure you don’t hold it too tightly because it can tire you and your hands early.

Things to Consider When Holding a Kayak Paddle

There are some of the things you should keep in mind while you are kayaking. Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Your grip on the kayak paddle should not be too tight
  2. Your hands must be centered on the paddle shaft
  3. The size of the kayak must be according to your height
  4. The position of the kayak must be correct while kayaking
  5. The size of the kayak paddle should not be too long or too short


What Happens if you use a Very Long Paddle for Kayaking?

Normally, you should use a paddle of a size that does not make you tired but if you use a very long paddle for kayaking then it will become very difficult for you to carry the paddle in the water.

What Happens if the Kayak Paddle is too short?

The usage of short paddles is very bad for kayaking and your health. The shorter paddles can lead you to sore hands, knuckles because of rubbing against the boat, and back pain because with a short paddle you need to lean forward to reach the water.

Where Should you place your hands on the Kayak Paddle?

According to the general rule, the distance between your hands should be a little wider than the width of your shoulders. And while holding the kayak paddle straightly then the rounded portion of the kayak paddle should be facing you.

Which Kayak Paddle is Best for Kayaking?

The kayak paddle which has proved to be the best for kayaking is the Carbon fiber paddle. It is an expensive paddle but has the best quality and is the lightest of all paddles.

Which Paddle should you use if you are a Beginner?

If you are a beginner in kayaking then you should use the kayak paddle with a flat blade. The flat blade paddles are very helpful, they are much easy to position under the water and help you to roll back over if your kayak flips.


The first and most important thing while kayaking is how you hold the kayak paddle, it can make your and also can destroy your day if you hold it wrong. Now, by reading all this guide you would have known how to hold the paddle of your kayak.

So, go and hit the waters without any fear. There are many types of kayak paddles of different designs so don’t be intimated by any of those, because the main thing that matters is how you use it.

To get on the water in a boat is not a task of only experts, a normal person with some information just like you got in this guide can do kayaking. Once you get an expert in holding the kayak paddle correctly then you can move on to leveling up your paddling skills.

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