Advanced Paddling Techniques for Kayaking

Advanced Paddling Techniques for Kayaking
After mastering the essential roll technique, kayaking can be taken to the next level with advanced strokes and skills to improve balance, turning, and confidence on challenging lines. Efficiency with strokes and boofing allow the kayaker to tackle more technical waters.


After the kayak tips, rolling is the technique that requires a powerful whip from the hips and leverage from the paddle to become upright again. The ability to roll a kayak from the left and right sides is crucial when paddling Class 3-plus rapids.


When performing a low brace, keep the elbows tucked and your right hand near your abdomen. While slapping the water with a perpendicular paddle, swing your boat upright using lower-body strength. Avoid using a high brace as it can force your paddle to hit overhanging rocks and branches.


In a sweep stroke, make a wide arch with the paddle and allow your hips to guide you into the turn. For quick turns, use a stern draw to make an exaggerated sweeping stroke that pushes water to the stern of the boat.


Sculling can be used as a support mechanism to keep the kayak upright when it is not in motion by moving the paddle back and forth. A more advanced technique, the sculling draw, allows the kayaker to move horizontally across the water by keeping the paddle about a foot from the boat and positioning the blade at an appropriate angle against oncoming waters.


With the correct speed, angle and lean, boofing allows the paddler to launch over waterfalls, rock edges and pour-overs. To achieve accurate timing for a successful boof stroke, reach over the horizon line and pull back on the water pouring over the edge.


According to Class 5 kayaker Silas Hatch, always paddle with other experienced kayakers, especially in Class 3-plus rapids. Scout areas that might be too technical or advanced. Keep float bags in your kayak and wear a tether with a carabiner if objects needed to be towed.

Article Written By Katie Hedley

Katie Hedley is a Virginia native and recently earned her degree in arts management with a minor in Spanish at the College of Charleston. She specializes in outdoor and travel articles based on her experience around the world. Writing has become her medium to share her advice, opinions and ongoing adventures.

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