How to Paddle a Kayak in 3 Simple Ways (2022 Guide)

  • By: Josh Rosenberg
  • Date: June 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

We realize the beauty of water when we dive on it and it feels fresher when we boating in the flat water. Kayaking is the best option for fell the nature of water. For this reason, the kayak is a tiny boat and its size is adjustable with our whole body. The majority of people don’t know how to paddle a kayak?

Generally, before knowing the paddling method of a kayak you may know what type of kayak you should choose. Also, how to size a kayak paddle, how to hold a kayak paddle, and more information about kayak paddling. So, let’s start your kayak paddle set up and start to paddle the kayak.

Types of kayak paddle

You wouldn’t play football on a basketball field. As well as choosing the correct paddles for the kayak is a very significant crucial part of kayaking. So, how to choose a kayak paddle? As we know there have various kinds of kayaks such as touring kayak, fishing kayak, Canoe, recreational kayak, stand-up kayak, kid’s kayak, and rafting kayak.

Indeed, for different types of kayaking, there have various kinds of the paddle, so you don’t face any problems and effort. Therefore, these paddles you must use as what type of kayaking you’re choosing. All above I put an image below here so you understand which paddle is suitable for your kayak.

Types of kayak paddle
Canoe             Fishing               Kid’s            Recreational           Stand-up              Rafting

How to size a kayak paddle

The length of a paddle brings lots of power while you’re kayaking or boating. The longer paddle will help you to ride more rapidly. For instance, the paddler’s size is matters. In this case, paddling rules say paddle kayak length should be chosen as a paddler’s height.

Paddlers who are between 5 feet to 5.10 feet, should use the 220-230cm paddle. Moreover, Paddlers above 5’10”, should choose 230-240cm paddles. If there has any 6 feet above paddler’s 260cm paddles are perfect for them.

All, above, you should keep the wide limit of the paddle in your head. Look at the image for more information and which one is adequate for you.

kayak size
kayak size list

How to hold a kayak paddle

You must know how to pick a kayak paddle and how to hold a kayak paddle correctly. Otherwise, you can’t even move your kayak boat by your paddles. The exact kayaking tips start withholding the kayak paddle. Firstly, you have to hold the kayak at the same distance between both of your hands.

How you will manage your kayak paddle by your hand?  Raise the paddle top of your head and keep your both elbow at 90-degree angles. This technique will ensure you holding it by correct spacing. Above all, try to follow these four steps to hold the kayak.

  • Know first what type of paddle blades you have
  • Orienting the paddle blades properly
  • Adjusting where you grip the shaft
  • Relax your hands on the paddle shaft

How to paddle a kayak

Paddling a kayak might be easy if you learn the exact paddling rules. I hope you understand now how to choose a kayak, and how to hold a kayak? After that let’s start the process of paddling a kayak appropriately.

Indeed, paddling a kayak has 3 major types include forward strokes, reverse strokes, and Sweep strokes. It will also help you learn how to paddle a sit-on-top kayak.

Forward strokes

The elementary paddling kayak starts with forwarding strokes. In Forward strokes paddling, you have required more arm power. Then engage your stronger torso muscles (core and back) in paddling. Before forward strokes, remember these 3 things the catch phase, the power phase, and the release phase.

The catch phase: Hold the wind torso of yours and submerge your paddle blade fully on one side of the boat next to your feet.

The power phase: When the blade moves behind you then rotate your torso. Follow your blade when it in water with your eyes then the torso will do on its own. Focus on paddling and pushing against the shaft with your upper hand.

The release phase: when your hand reaches the exact level of behind your hip Slice that blade out of water.

Read more: Weight limit of kayaks

Reverse Stroke

Reverse stroke is very crucial for moving back your kayak boat. Particularly, reverse strokes are the opposite of forwarding strokes.

The drop phase: Hold your wind torso and submerge your blade fully on one side of the boat next to your hip.

The power phase: Then rotate your torso since the blade moves in front of you.

The release phase: When your paddle blade in front of your feet, slice your paddle out of the water.

Sweep stroke

A sweeping stroke will need you when you want to rotate your boat into various positions. This stroke is a little bit different to learn as kayaking techniques for beginners. So, how to turn a kayak? For left-handed kayak paddle sweep your paddle on the left side.

Extend your arms forward down the blade in the water as submerge. Then swipe the paddle as a bracket symbol. Sweep on the opposite side of the boat from the direction you want to turn. Sweep the paddle wide arc toward the stern of the boat. After passing the paddle cockpit put some power on your body’s rotation to optimize the stroke.

Finish the stroke by slicing the blade out of the water, when the blade approaches the hull behind your cockpit.


What is the fastest way to paddle a kayak?

The fastest way to paddle a kayak is, hold the paddle right before the blades of your paddle. Start paddling into the cross angel method. Move it as fast as you can and push the blades harder into the water. Move your hip for balance and keeping the kayak boat straightforward.

Is it hard to paddle a kayak?

Paddling a kayak is not so hard. But in some cases, you could face difficulty to paddle. Mostly, paddling is hard when you are on the wave. Still, a hard percentage depends on what type of boat you’re using and what types of paddle you are choosing to paddle.

How much do kayak paddles cost?

Any type of motorless boat, you will genuinely require the paddles. Paddles cost relies on different types of paddles. A fiberglass paddle could take 150$ averagely. Lighter weight paddles will take 250-500 $ for a set. The ordinary paddle can cost up to 30-100$.

How do you stop in a kayak?

If you are sitting on the top fishing kayak and don’t know basic kayaking skills and want to stop your kayak. In this case, if you haven’t any paddle then simply lay yourself in front of your boat moves your hip in the right direction. Rather if you have paddles then try to grab the soil in water with your paddle.

Final Verdict

Overall, it’s really important to find out how to paddle a kayak. But choosing the best kayak paddle for you is more crucial. As a matter of fact, I tried my best to increase more knowledge and more topics in this article.

I hope you will find this article helpful and more beneficial. But I have tips for you that, try to choose a recreational kayak paddle, Werner paddles and for more information watch paddle TV.

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