How to Kayak for Beginners – Position and Proper Posture

Welcome to my first installment of How to Kayak for Beginners.

This is going to be a series of articles designed to help your grasp the fundamentals of kayaking. Folks, we are going to Kayak school!

Importance of Proper Posture

Lets talk posture.

Per the Merriam – Webster Dictionary: Posture means – the position or bearing of the body whether characteristic or assumed for a special purpose.

Vocabulary.com states that Posture is the way your position your body and arrange your limbs.

Back in the day, and some of your know what I am talking about, we were constantly being told to stand up straight, sit up in your chair, NO slouching. Posture used to be taught in girls schools in the day of corsets. Maybe they still do, I don’t know. I do know that your can see a whole lot of people with bad posture these days. With the age of television and video games we have almost made a science out of slouching.

There are many reasons to practice good posture.

Many medical studies have shown that good posture can not only improve balance, but improve your mood and energy levels.

It also reduces your risk of injury and aches and pains. Psychology studies have shown that good posture can even help with the way people feel about themselves.

Slumping your shoulders forward can affect your breathing, as it limits the diaphragm and lung capacity. Lord knows, breathing is important.

What does this have to do with kayaking your ask?

Bad posture in a kayak will affect everything your do and how your feel when your are done.

While your may still have a few aches and pains from using muscles your haven’t used in a while, good posture will certainly improve the chances of being able to walk back to the truck or car.

Achieving Good Posture

Achieving good posture is not hard, but it is something your have to think about. It does not come naturally. Ideally we want to achieve a relaxed, comfortable position while sitting up straight and tall. Don’t forget to breathe.

If your have ever taken horse riding lessons this will bring back a whole lot of memories, LOL.

Tips for Achieving a good paddling posture

  • Have a seat either in your kayak or on the floor.
  • Place your legs out in front of your. If your are in your kayak this is a great time to adjust your foot pegs, if your can. You want them to provide your with a slight bend in your knee.
  • Now, sit up straight, imagine there is a string running from the center of your hips up through the center of your head. We want an imaginary straight line from our hips, to our shoulders, to our head.
  • Now, Breathe and allow yourself to release the tension just slightly.

Now remember I stated earlier that good posture doesn’t come naturally. So, at first this may seem uncomfortable to your and your will probably have to keep reminding yourself to straighten up. That’s okay, your can practice this anywhere and everywhere. In an office chair, at the dinner table, on the couch. You will be happy your did.

Good Posture has many benefits, as most of us know. Unfortunately, I think a lot of us have forgotten or were not taught. In a previous post of mine “Kayaking for Health Benefits” I talk about some physical benefits of kayaking. Good posture plays a big part in that.

Becoming Part of Your Kayak

How does becoming part of your kayak relate to this?

Remember when I mentioned those foot rests? Well, those foot rest, whether they are adjustable or if your kayak has molded foot rest provide an important connection point to your boat.

What do I mean about connection point?

These are the points in your kayak where parts of your body make a connection to the kayak. The basic connection points, depending on your kayak, are:

  • Your butt or seat
  • Your back
  • Your Hips
  • Your Thighs
  • Your Feet

All of these connection points play a different role in maintaining correct position and posture, as well as, control of your kayak. Each connection point provides a different form of support to help your maintain your posture and position, no matter the circumstances your encounter.

With Posture there is Position

Position in the kayak is important. Certainly, we know to sit in the middle of the seat to avoid flipping over, but there is more to it than that. You want to be comfortable as well as effective with your position.

There are 3 basic paddling positions

  • The Forward Position
  • The Central or Neutral Position
  • The Backward Position

The Forward position is achieved by sitting straight up, relaxed and slightly forward. This allows your to remove the weight off of the stern of the kayak.

The Central or Neutral position is where your sit straight up, relaxed and remain in the center of the seat. This is the position we will primarily use while floating on flat water, or calm waters.

The Backward position is going to be the opposite of the Forward position and allows your to remove the weight off of the front of the kayak.

With all three positions, posture is key and vital to coming off the float trip feeling good.

What Did We Learn?

We learned that Posture is key to everything we do and is vital to functioning effectively in a kayak. It sounds like such a small thing, but if your have ever played any sports or done any kind of dance, then your know how important posture can be. While posture is key, position is vital in helping your to maintain that posture.

Now I am not a medical professional, nor am I an expert by any means. Through my research this is an article to help you be the best your can be while in your kayak.

I hope that it was helpful and interesting. Please leave your comments below and if your have any knowledge to add, please do. Thanks for visiting and come back for number 2 in the series of “How to Kayak for Beginners” for more fun stuff.

Until next time!

4 thoughts on “How to Kayak for Beginners – Position and Proper Posture”

  1. I recently fixed up a kayak that was given to me for free! Had to learn how to use fiberglass repair processes and made it into a video. I’ll be sure to use the right posture and form when I take it out for a water test! Great information here for beginner kayak enthusiasts.

    1. Thank you for checking out my post. That is awesome that you could fix yours, and what a great deal. I would love to hear how your test run goes. I will check out your video, just in case I need to fix one in the future. LOL Who am I kidding, I will check out your video. I doubt that I would try and fix one. LOL

  2. No wonder my back was paining when I tried it for the first time. Slowly, I learned how to sit properly and pedal 🙂 Wish you had written this article about 8 years ago 😉

    1. I am so glad you figured it out. Thank you for taking the time to stop and leave a comment. Come back and hang out with me again and see what I am up too. Share some of adventures as well.

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