Friday, April 4, 2014

Kayaking Day 1

I'm taking a four-class kayaking course because although I've done a lot of kayaking in my life (well, relatively, considering I live in Arizona), I've never officially learned the proper strokes and methods to kayaking. My first class was on Tuesday. It was suuuuper windy that day (about 15-20 mph winds), so kayaking was much more difficult than usual - especially when trying to learn new strokes! All the same, here's what I learned.

The first thing we did was learn the different parts of the kayak. I found a wonderful diagram from paddling.com that basically covers what we went over.


The next thing we learned was the parts of the paddle - which the instructor taught us to the tune of "head, shoulders, knees and toes". I found a lovely image from trails.com.

Then... we got in the water. We snuck into the area where the boats dock (the marina) because it was too windy to practice out on the lake. (Curious about where I'm taking this class? Tempe Town Lake - a man made lake in the middle of the Phoenix area.) We learned three different strokes.
1. The front stroke - your paddle should be more vertical than horizontal, and your torso should turn with each stroke - this indicates you are using your core and not your wrists/arms/shoulders, which can get painful quickly. The paddle starts near the front of the boat and moves backwards.
2. The low brace - basically, if you start falling out/over, use this. The only reason we learned it the first class was just in case - the wind was pretty crazy. Anyways, you use your paddle to push down on the water (on the side you are falling towards, this will push you back up). Move your lower body to help guide the boat up, and move your head back in position last. It's a bit difficult to explain, since it seems pretty instinctual.
3. Stop - to stop, dip your paddle fully in on each side, quickly alternating between sides.

Then, we braved the lake a little bit - but we didn't make it that far. I'll update you on class two-four as they come! Any kayaking tips from you?

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