Paddling Strokes & Stroking
One thing about this sport that is important to learn correctly is how to paddle the kayak; just like every other sport there are right ways to paddle and wrong ways to paddle. The correct way to paddle is taught in every kayak class and this is for good reason, it is much easier to learn how to paddle correctly than to correct improper techniques later.
There are companies such as Rising Sun Kayaks that have classes for beginning enthusiast, intermediate person and advanced person, for each depending on the type of water the person will take trips in they will learn new techniques to help in situations where they need special maneuvers to avoid things such as currents, waves, rapids and other obstacles in the water. Parts of classes like these also teach about currents and the weather in order to be safe on the water no matter what class rating the water.
Part of paddling correctly is choosing the right oar, this is done by measuring the oar in a standing position and the knob of the handle should reach the eye level from the floor when placed in front of the feet. This alone will help the person paddle properly, if the paddles are not the right size; if they are to long in the water they will drag and if they are to short they can rub or hit the side of the kayak.
There is a proper way to hold paddles, when the oar is held incorrectly it can not only make paddling a kayak more difficult it can also cause strained muscles, because when not held properly the torso may not be used and instead only the arms which will tire faster and if pushed can lead to strained or sore muscles. To hold a oar correctly the right hand should be on the top of the knob at the end of the oar and the left hand midway down the paddle. With the hands in this position the right hand is used in a pushing motion, and the left hand will be pulling this will give clean strokes that will move through the water with little effort
When using the torso of the body as the power behind the oar it will ensure that the arms do not tire, the paddle will slice through the water with little effort causing less stress on the muscles and will keep the kayak moving in the water in a smooth motion.
If the hands are not held on the paddle correctly and placed in the middle of the paddle this will cause the craft to become sluggish in the water, tire the muscles and there is the possibility of striking the side of the model. This is one reason why it is important to take lessons or classes to learn the proper techniques from the beginning and also as one advances in their paddling skills.