Top 5 common mistakes of the novice kayaker

November 3, 2015

Top 5 common mistakes of the novice kayaker

Kayaking is one of the most exhilarating sports. To go about being a master kayak paddler, you need to know the common mistakes that most novices make and learn how to avoid them.

Top 5 common mistakes of the novice kayaker

Choosing the wrong kayak

Beginners often make the mistake of choosing the sleekest kayak they set their eyes on. Sleek kayaks may offer speed, but they're also the most unstable, so most beginners end up swimming instead of paddling when they use these types of kayaks. It's best to work on your paddling techniques first in a slow but stable kayak before you quench that need for speed.


Huge waves or other hazards could overwhelm you during your first few times on a kayak. However, facing such an obstacle is the most important moment for you to stay calm. You will need all your wits and focus to direct your course, so you can avoid the hazard and go through it unscathed.

Paddle hugging

Strength to paddle the kayak should mainly come from the torso, not your arms. Many novices tend to hold the paddles close to their bodies, making them susceptible to sore muscles and other injuries. You need to maintain your paddler's box and extend your arms, holding the paddle far from your chest in all your strokes. You generate more power and avoid potential injuries this way.

Taking too many risks

Assessing water and weather conditions is one of the first few things you need to do in kayaking. In addition, you should not overestimate your skills; knowing your limitations can spell the difference between life and death. You need to learn how to back out of a kayaking trip when the water is too rough, the current is too fast, or the wind is too high.

Leaning back before a big wave

Faced with the threat of huge waves, it's instinctive for people to lean back. You need to fight this instinct if you want to become excellent at kayaking. Instead of leaning back, you need to maintain your posture, lean aggressively forward, and use your forward paddling rhythm to reduce the chance of being knocked backwards by the waves.

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you on your way to becoming a good paddler.

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