Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Kayaking Technique and other Kayaking topics.
Holding a kayak paddle, the most basic or kayaking technique, is one of the most frequently incorrectly executed particulars of kayaking technique. It is therefore crucial to get this part right or you will lose power in your kayak stroke, cause undue stress on your joints, and worst of all, you'll look really silly out there. Here are some basic points to know in order to hold a kayak paddle properly.
First, make sure the blade is facing the correct direction. Kayak paddle blades are generally curved in nature. The "cupped" part of the curve should be facing the kayaker. Next make sure the paddle is correctly oriented as it is possible to hold the blade upside down. If there is writing on the blade, the writing should be oriented so you can read it. If not, the top of the blade is often longer than the bottom of the blade.
Now you will need to determine your control grip based on which hand is dominant. Grab the paddle with your dominant hand so that the blade on that side of the paddle is lined up properly to pull through the water. Then place your other hand on the paddle. If your kayak paddle is "feathered" then this hand will not look like it is lined up properly with the paddle blade. That is ok.
To determine the proper spacing of your hands, with both hands on the paddle, raise the paddle over your head and let the paddle come to rest on your head. Your hands should be between shoulder-width apart and with your arms at 90 degree angles.