Learn More About Kayaking!

By Amanda Roland
Learn More About Kayaking

Kayaking is a water activity that people enjoy for leisure and competition. You sit in a small boat that is close to the water with a long paddle or “oar” that is double- bladed for easy paddling on each side of the boat. Typically, kayaks are made to seat one person, but there are two-person and three- person kayaks to enjoy with friends! Learn more about kayaking!

Why is the Kayak Paddle So Special?paddles

Kayak paddles are special because they are double-bladed, meaning there is a tear-drop shaped blade on either end of the paddle shaft. This type of paddle makes it easy to paddle when only one person is in the boat, and it allows you to paddle faster. There are a couple of different types of kayak paddles with different shaped blades. Larger blades, or high-angle blades, are used to give you more power with each stroke. Smaller blades, or low-angle blades, move more easily through the water, making them ideal for recreational kayaking and long days on the river, according to Aqua Bound, an online water sports resource.

All About Your Form

Your arms will do most of the work while kayaking, so be prepared to feel some soreness after a long day on the water. You can also put a lot of strain on your back when kayaking, so make sure to practice proper form!

Sit Tall

Pick a kayak with a comfortable seat that allows you to sit up straight. Having poor posture in your kayak could lead to lower back pain. Plant your feet on the foot pedals and engage your legs and core to help you sit up straight in a comfortable position.

Knuckles Up

According to paddle.com, the way you hold your paddle is important. Hold the paddle up so that the short side of the blades are pointed towards the ground. When you grip the shaft, line up your knuckles up with the top side of the blades. For hand placement, you want to have your hands a comfortable distance apart. “The width of the grip is such that when you put the center of the paddle on your head, you’ll have pretty close to a right angle on your arm,” according to paddle.com.

Loose Wrists

When rowing, you will alternate paddling on each side of the boat. With flexible wrists (don’t have a tight grip on the paddle), put the blade in the water and pull back with your arms, engaging your biceps, triceps and shoulders.

Where Can You Kayak?

You can kayak in all kinds of water, but recreational kayaking is typically done in rivers or lakes where the water is relatively calm. Some like to go kayaking in the ocean for touring purposes, but this requires a longer boat to face small waves and choppier water. Whitewater kayaking is the most intense type of kayaking and requires a smaller boat for easy maneuvering around rocks and rapids.

Visit floridadep.gov/PaddlingTrails to learn more about kayaking and see what the Gainesville area has to offer!

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