Kayaking Tips: 50 Tips and Tricks for Beginners

If you are reading this article, it means that you are interested in kayaking. I’m glad to inform you that kayaking is an amazing sport. It is fun, challenging, and healthy.

For a beginner, there are tons of things for you to learn about the art of kayaking. By the end of this article, your knowledge on kayaking will definitely increase as I take you through important Kayaking tips and tricks.

Keep reading for deeper insight.

Trick #1: How to Keep Your Balance While Kayaking

© Image by Tomas Zuñiga from Pixabay

When people start learning how to kayak, they usually have trouble balancing themselves while they are on water. These 5 simple steps will help keep your balance.

1.   First, make sure that you are sitting in a kayak as straight as possible with your head up and spine straight. Also, keep your knees slightly bent.

2.   In case the kayak tips to one side because of wind or any other reason, lean towards that side until it starts to level itself out. You could also use your paddle for support if required.

3.   After leaning towards the correct direction and leveling yourself try paddling forward and backward until you get used to balancing yourself effortlessly on water. Remember this is just an example so if you want to paddle backwards go ahead. You can do whatever makes you comfortable while at it such as rowing, kneeling, standing etc.

4.   Keep adjusting your body at any time if you feel like you’re not balancing yourself anymore. Also, make sure to move around a little bit because sitting in one position for too long can be detrimental to your health.

5.   While kayaking back and forth practice crossing the wakes of other boats or obstacles such as rocks, fallen trees or docks (if you are kayaking on a lake). This will help you lessen the chances of falling over while kayaking next time you hit something.

Trick #2: How to Paddle Properly

1.   Make sure that you place your elbows at about 90 degrees and keep them close to your body. Your upper arms should form an “L” shape while doing this, then hold onto the paddle with both hands, and grip it tightly between your thumb and pointer finger. Now focus only on putting pressure with those three fingers rather than using other muscles and too much force.

2.   To get started paddle your kayak forward by using a smooth motion that you should be able to repeat consistently every time. The key is to propel yourself forward using your entire body rather than just your arms. Your lower body such as, knees and hips should also help in paddling efficiently without causing too much fatigue.

3.   If you are facing resistance while paddling, it means that either there’s no more water behind the boat (in which case you need to turn around) or because of applying pressure with only two fingers instead of three and not keeping up with the speed and momentum of the kayak (in which case slow down a little bit). Now, if you are moving forward after slowing down your paddling then your elbow angle might not be at 90 degrees. To fix this, try to straighten it out by placing one hand on top of the other right behind the paddle.

4.   Also, remember that proper paddling involves using your entire body instead of just your arms so experiment with different ways of propelling forwards or backwards while kayaking until you find what works best for you.

5.   Paddling is important but also keep in mind that it can be strenuous so don’t overdo it if you feel tired and winded easily . Also, keep doing warm-up exercises before kayaking as well as doing something physical during breaks such as stretching or yoga poses. This way you can avoid muscle soreness or fatigue.

Trick #3: Properly Loading Your Kayak

Loading your kayak properly is important because it greatly affects how easy or difficult kayaking will be for you especially if you’re a beginner.

For instance, loading the boat improperly will cause it to tip over or worse might sink entirely.

1.   Put down the seat all the way down so that it is flat with no incline at all.

2.   Insert your legs into the designated areas of where they go and push them in so they are nice and snug between the sides of your yak. You should have enough space left between your legs for storing some gear such as water bottles or anything else that is small. You can use this area to store your valuables too instead of putting them in with the rest of your stuff.

3.   Now you need to make sure that your kayak’s center of gravity is properly distributed between both sides so it doesn’t tip over easily.

 Trick #4: Learn How to Get Back Into Your Kayak

Since most beginners don’t know how to roll their kayaks, what happens when you accidentally fall off? You need to roll over using a kayak technique called Eskimo Rolling first in order to get back into your boat instead of swimming towards it.

The Eskimo roll is actually very easy to do. Just like rolling, all you have to do is lean on your side after getting upright again and then use sweeping motions with your paddle to roll back on top of your kayak.

Trick #5: Don’t Be Afraid To Try Different Kayaking Techniques.

You can always try out different techniques with your partner whenever you are on the water especially if one kayaker is more experienced than the other. For example, some people find inserting their legs first easy for laying down flat and paddling while others prefer putting their legs in last after leaning forward and paddling.

Trick #6: How to Paddle with Someone Else

Learning how to paddle with someone else is a great way for kayakers to become buddies and help each other out when it comes time to train or go on an outdoor adventure together.

When one partner is struggling, the other partner should be able to spot them and remind them about which technique works best for rolling successfully.

Try working as a team by coordinating efforts such as taking turns paddling or swapping sides each time a certain amount of paddle strokes is achieved.

Trick #7: Use Your Body to Turn Your Kayak in Different Directions

When learning how to kayak, newcomers tend to make the mistake of using their paddle as a rudder for steering. It doesn’t take long before they realize that it isn’t effective since kayaks have round surfaces which means that it can only go straight due to the flat blade of a kayak’s paddle.

Steer with your body’s weight instead by leaning towards one direction while paddling so the head of your kayak can be pointed in a different direction. You should always paddle on the opposite side that you want to turn.

Trick #8: Practice Your Maneuvers and Save Time

It takes time and practice before you’re able to maneuver your kayak properly but there are some shortcuts to take when learning how to kayak quickly.

Try practicing their rolls instead of staying upright all the time since it requires less energy than using other techniques like forward paddling or back paddling.

Trick #9: Practice Controlling Your Kayak with Paddles and Body Weight

Start controlling your kayak with body weight instead of using only one blade from one or both paddles. This means you will have more control over where your kayak goes and which direction it is headed in.

Trick #10: Practice Paddling In a Straight Line

The biggest struggle for beginners is learning how to go in a straight line without veering off course. Learning this skill usually takes a lot of time and patience because there are different factors, which affect your kayak’s ability to stay on track such as wind, current, or even waves from other boats. Practice this as often as possible so it becomes easier and adjust according to the conditions around you so you don’t waste energy trying too hard.

Trick #11: Keep Your Paddles Moving When Paddling Forward

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is stopping their paddles when they start paddling forward. This will cause weird movements and can throw off your balance. It is best to keep both blades moving on both sides so your kayak moves in a straight line all throughout.

Trick #12: Adjust the Angle of Your Paddles for More Control over Your Kayak

Another trick that beginners should use to learn how to control their kayak is adjusting the angle of its blades. This means that you should be able to change the position of your hands on each blade while paddling which will allow them to paddle at an angle.

By doing this, it causes your kayak’s bow (front) or stern (back) to face upward or downward depending on what you want.

Trick #13: Put Your Back into It

It’s crucial that beginners brace themselves before leaning into their strokes since leaning requires more energy.

The best way to brace is by leaning on your lower back instead of your tailbone because the latter can be much more painful than the former when you slip or fall into the water.

Trick #14: Get Both Blades Working At the Same Time for Better Control over Your Kayak

If you are having trouble controlling your Kayak, try getting both blades working at the same time so you don’t have to use one blade. Using two blades simultaneously will move your kayak much faster and in a straighter line all throughout.

Trick #15: Find Your Center Of Gravity When Paddling

If you cannot stay upright while kayaking, try looking down at their belly button or sternum to find where their center of gravity. This is important for beginners since it allows them to lean in a certain direction without causing the kayak to topple over.

Trick #16: Try Dragging Your Feet for a Better Control over Your Kayak

Another trick to learn how to kayak is dragging your feet along the surface of the water. This helps beginners gain a better control over their kayaks, especially when they are trying to adjust its direction or stop facing either left or right.

© Image by Monty Todd from Pixabay

Trick #17: Get Comfortable With Being Wet

Since kayaking usually means being close to the water, it is inevitable that beginners will have some level of wetness on them by the end of their first day.

Trick #18: Keep Your Strength in Check When Paddling

If you plan on going kayaking especially in the open water, then it’s important that beginners have some sort of strength training routine. This helps improve overall paddling ability. By doing some form of weightlifting or simple exercises like push-ups and crunches, beginners can increase their endurance and speed.

Trick #19: Keep Your Body Straight For Better Tricks

Another trick for people who want to learn how to kayak is keeping your body straight while you’re trying out some aerials. Beginners should try moving their hips forward first before leaning on one side so they can stay stiffer throughout the whole trick or stunt.

Trick #20: Get Enthusiastic

Beginners should try looking at kayaking as something new and exciting which will give them the confidence to pursue it further.

Trick #21: Sit Up Straight to Make Sure You’re Stable When Paddling

Beginners who slouch over while kayaking are more likely to topple over since they don’t have any back support. By sitting straight up, your center of gravity becomes fixed, which makes it harder for you to fall face first into the water.

Trick #22: Keep Your Kayaking Routine Simple

This helps beginner kayakers avoid confusing themselves and helps build up their confidence slowly instead of being overwhelmed by too many techniques at once. To have a better approach, beginners should focus on one or two new tricks each time they go kayaking so they can slowly work them into their regular routine.

Trick #23: Pick a Beginner-Friendly Body of Water at First

It is important that you pick a location that is ideal for your skill level. Not just because of safety concerns but also because beginners will have a better chance at succeeding in a less strenuous environment.

Trick #24: Keep Your Back Straight and Lean Backwards Slightly To Maintain Balance

Instead of leaning forwards while performing an aerial or any other difficult technique, try leaning backwards so your center of gravity is fixed even further than it already was before. This makes aerials much easier to perform since you will not be struggling to keep yourself balanced while also putting pressure on your arms just to do a trick.

Trick #25: Work On Your Balance Too

Focus on improving balance by keeping your arms as straight as possible. You’ll immediately see an improvement in how well you’re able to control yourself during the early stages of learning how to kayak.

Trick #26: Practice Kayaking When You Have A Few Minutes to Spare

If you’re short on time and need to find a way to get your daily kayaking practice in, then you should try to do it when you have a few minutes free. For example, if you’re waiting for the bus or something like that, try doing some simple tricks with your paddle.

Trick #27: Avoid Rolling Around In the Water

This trick is very important for beginners since it will help them avoid falling over while practicing their balance at the same time. To prevent yourself from rolling over, try to avoid leaning forwards so you won’t tip out of your kayak or accidentally roll it upside-down.

Trick #28: Use Paddle Grips That Are Comfortable For You

The more comfortable the grip is, the longer you’ll be able to use them without having to switch them out, which will help keep up with your momentum and make practicing easier in general.

Trick #29: Attach Some Paddle Leash to Keep Your Paddle Safe

One thing that many beginners overlook is the concept of attaching a paddle leash. If you’re worried about dropping your paddle on accident or losing it, then this is definitely something that you should set up on your kayak.

Trick #30: Practice the Same Repeatedly to Perfection

Instead of trying to learn a whole bunch of different combinations and sequences, focus on perfecting the ones that will help you achieve your goals as a kayaker. If you can keep practicing until you can do things perfectly, then this will allow you to build on those techniques and make them more advanced over time.

Trick #31: Be Careful With Bending Your Wrists Back Too Far

If you try to twist your wrist past its limits, then it can cause a lot of pain and really make kayaking harder than it should be for beginners. Instead of straining yourself, focus on keeping it as natural as possible and only twisting the wrist as far back as you need to in order to pull off a certain trick or technique .

© Image by Barry Jones from Pixabay

Trick #32: Watch Out For Other People in the Water While Kayaking

Since there are many people who enjoy kayaking, you are going to have to learn how to deal with other kayaks sharing the same space as you. One good thing to try is paddling on the opposite side of them when they’re in front of you. This will help build some space between them and prevent you from bumping into each other.

Trick #33: Make Sure Your Kayak Is Dry Before You Get In It

Drying off your kayak before getting in it can be a really important part of beginner kayaking since there’s nothing worse than having your kayak drip all over you while you’re trying to swim.

Trick #34: Practice Rolling Your Kayak Upside-Down

One of the most important things about kayaking is being able to perform a kayak roll. This is because not only will this help prevent you from rolling over, but it will help save your life in case you accidentally do flip out of your boat while out on the water.

Trick #35: Learn About Kayak Terminology before Getting Started

Before you get started with learning how to use your kayak, it’s important to learn about terminologies so that you don’t get confused about what certain things are that you see .

Trick #36: Be Aware Of Edges When Paddling Forward

Sometimes it can be hard for beginners to understand how the edges of their kayak work. Since this is such an important part of any kayak, it is crucial to make sure that you have a good handle on the way it works.

Trick #37: Get Comfortable With Your Gear before Paddling Far

Although it can be really exciting to go kayaking right away, it’s important that you get comfortable with the equipment that you’re using before attempting to go out on open water.

Trick #38: Use a Paddle Leash to Keep Your Stick Safe

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is keeping their paddle too close to them while kayaking. If you are not careful, then your paddle might fly off and float away. To avoid this tragedy, attach a leash onto the end of your paddle so that it does not fly away when you are not looking.

Trick #39: Tempting As It May Be, Do Not Kayak With Kids

While it may seem like fun to take your kids kayaking with you, this is something that most experts don’t recommend. The water can get scary if they start to sway or slip.

Trick #40: Learn About Other Kayakers near You before Getting Started

Before getting started it’s important to learn about other nearby kayakers since being aware of their presence can be an important part of kayaking.

Trick #41: Get to Know Your Kayak before Taking It out On the Water

Pay attention to where the weight is located  and get comfortable with moving it around so that when you do go out on open waters , you’ll have a smooth experience.

Trick #42: Keep Your Paddle Dry At All Times

If your paddle gets wet, then you will have a harder time lifting it up out of the water. Worse yet, if all of the wooden parts are exposed to water, then they might warp.

Trick #43: Keep Your Cool When You’re Stressing out about Wildlife

One of the most common reasons why beginners decide not to go kayaking is because they are afraid about what wildlife might be lurking beneath the surface. If you do want to be extra careful, then keep your eyes peeled for any signs of nearby wildlife but do not stress out about it.

Trick #44: Have Conversation While You Paddle For Fun

It might seem like a drag to have to do some cardio when you could just take a boat out onto the water , but kayaking can actually be pretty fun if you give it a chance . One good way to make sure that kayaking is always fun? Bring interested friends along with you, and chat about interesting things as you paddle along.

Track #45: Keep Your Kayak on a Trolley to Make Travel Easy

One of the best ways to make sure that you have an easy time taking your kayak out onto the water is by investing in a trolley.

Trick #46: Have Fun When Kayaking But Be Careful.

Kayaking can be a ton of fun if done correctly; there are tons of tricks and tips to help you stay safe while having fun at the same time.

Track #47: Learn How to Roll Your Kayak Before You Attempt It on Open

© Image by dannynee from Pixabay

One of the most important kayaking tips for beginners is learning how to roll your kayak, especially if you want to be able to do it on open waters. Practice in a safe space- like in a pool or in a secluded area – before attempting it out in open water, since this trick can sometimes take years to perfect.

Track #48: Use Your Water Shoes As Paddle Shoes When It’s Tough To Walk On Sharp Objects

It can be difficult at times to walk onto sharp objects while wearing shoes that are extremely comfortable for kayaking, but luckily there is an easy way around this problem. Just wear your water shoes when you are kayaking so that they have more grip

Track #49: Buy a Spray Skirt to Protect Yourself From The Elements

One of the most important kayaking tips for beginners is to buy yourself a spray skirt. This way, you’ll be able to block out all of the elements so that they don’t get in your way and will keep you nice and cozy.

Trick #50: Invest In A Dry Bag To Keep Your Stuff Safely Away From The Waters

It can be extremely difficult to carry around items when they are soaking wet. A waterproof bag would come in handy.


Kayaking can be a ton of fun if you manage to stay safe and do it properly. There are tons of kayaking tips out there; this particular list consists of 50 tricks that every beginner needs to know. Now that you have read up on these tips and tricks, make sure to try them next time you go kayaking.

Kayaking in Island Park Idaho (Where to Go)

Kayaking in…

Kayaking is a fun activity to do with…

Campsites with Kayaking Nearby

Campsites with…

Lovers of outdoor recreation and water sports often…

The Best Hiking Chalk Bag

The Best…

Chalk bags are the unsung hero of climbing.…

Scroll to Top