Saturday, September 5, 2015

Beginners Class

One of the things I don't like about this blogging platform is that it is hard to find a nice progression of posts to learn the basic skills. So here, all in one place are a number of posts to get you started.

You first have to get into the boat, and sit comfortably, with a firm connection to the kayak. Then it is on to the forward stroke.

Some notes on the forward stroke lesson. I hate it. Okay, I don't hate it but it isn't my best work. It is evidence of the fact that after 20 years in a kayak and thousands of miles paddled I am still refining my forward stroke. I much prefer the video the accompanies the book Forward - available for iPad, iPhone and your mac from the iBook store for free. I even prefer this little video which isn't part of a lesson - though my rotation could be a little better, and my hands are dipping a little too much. We actually shot this right after shooting the videos for forward.

When I teach an absolute beginner, I always cover the forward stroke, as well as the sweep, and the various draw strokes. Depending on their skill I may discuss and demonstrate the Low and High Brace

In first lessons I talk about - but generally don't let students try - edging. That is more of a second lesson skill. Edging is the primary skill that moves you from novice to intermediate. It gives you a far better understanding of your boat and how it behaves in the water.

Finally, A discussion of the Ten Essentials for Sea kayaking, and leave no trace in a water environment.

These are the basics of what I cover in a beginners class. Be safe on the water and have fun. 


  1. Do you find yourself using more of a low or high angle stroke these days?

  2. Great question! I am primarily a low angle paddler because it is really the paddle style that is most suited for long distance and relaxed cruising. I do slide into a high angle style when I need a burst of speed. Like turning on a supercharger. I generally do it for a handful of strokes, and move back to low angle.