How to Kayak: Holding your kayak paddle

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1. Know the structure of the kayak paddle. 

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Unlike a canoe paddle, a kayak paddle has 2 blades attached to the shaft of the paddle. The shaft is the part of the paddle that you hold and the blades are the part that you use to pull yourself and the kayak through the water.

2. Have your paddle face the right direction. 

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It's a common mistake for beginners to hold their paddles backwards the first time they start kayaking. As a beginner, it may not seem to make a difference which way your paddle is facing, but it does have a big change on your power of stroking. Have the part of the paddle blade that is concave or smooth facing you, the face of the paddle is the part you want to pull through the water.

3. Have your paddle right-side up. 

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Many kayak paddles are asymmetrical meaning there is a top and a bottom to the paddle blade. It is important that you hold the paddle as it is designed, The top of the paddle is more horizontal than the bottom and the bottom has more of a tapered effect. Sometimes there is even horizontal writing on the paddle, keep the writing upright and not upside down and this will help you remember to hold your paddle correctly.

4. Know your control grip. 

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If you are right handed, your control grip will be with your right hand and if you are left handed your control grip will be with your left hand. When taking a kayaking stroke, allow the paddle to rotate and reposition in your "loose hand" to make sure that each paddle always enters the water smoothly. The control grip does not change positions once it is on the paddle.

5. Grasp your paddle and hold it. 

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Grab your paddle and make sure to place the control grip on the paddle first. Have your hands are centered on the paddle and the distance between your hands should be just a little over shoulder width apart.