Kayaks are an efficient means of exploring our coast and inland waterways. While most kayaks don't share the weight capacity of a canoe, they are typically faster, more efficient and less affected by wind and current.
To propel or move a kayak we must have a prime motivator. I am typically motivated by money, food and my wife. My kayak is motivated by my paddle through my manipulation of it.
Any old paddle and any old method will move your kayak, but there are efficient ways of manipulating your paddle and less efficient ways of manipulating your paddle. There are also different styles of paddles with completely different methods of manipulation:
- Low Angle Style
- High Angle Style
- Greenland Style
- Wing Style
- Single Blade
We can slash these paddles through the water or we can efficiently maneuver our kayaks by using these tools the way they were designed to be used.
One of the most important factors in proper kayak movement is using the larger muscles in our body:
- Hip Flexors
The paddle should be held properly as well. We want to protect our smaller joints and bones such as the muscles and bones in our wrists. To do this, we want to keep them in neutral alignment as much as possible, using our larger muscles and joints whenever possible.
To accomplish this we need to incorporate a technique called torso rotation. In torso rotation, the arms support the weight of the paddle and transfer the forces created by your core, to a small extent they also push and pull.