Kayaking is a fun sport for people of all ages, and one of the most popular activities at Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre. It’s a great way to get an up-close view of the beautiful Lake District landscape, at the same time improving your strength and aerobic fitness.
Once you have mastered the basics, you can paddle on rivers, lakes and the sea. If you really catch the bug, it can also be a highly competitive sport, going all the way to Olympic standard.
Michael Jardine is our top kayak and canoe instructor, and is also qualified in paddle boarding instruction. This is Michael’s fifth season at the Watersports Centre. He shares a few basic kayaking instructions to whet your appetite.
Low Wood Bay Watersports have two different types of kayak. Usually for tuition we use enclosed cockpit kayaks – the ones you sit inside. For general hire and for kayak chaos we use sit-on-top kayaks. As you will have worked out, these are the ones you sit on top of! They are also more stable. The principles for paddling, turning and stopping are the same for both types of kayak.
Hold the double ended paddle with your arms shoulder width apart. If you are right handed, your control grip will be with your right hand, and vice versa. When taking a kayak stroke, allow the paddle to rotate and re position in your ‘loose hand’ to make sure that each paddle enters the water smoothly. The control grip does not change positions.
The paddles are curved. With the concave side facing you, put the paddle in the water on the right-hand side of the kayak and pull it back towards you by scooping the water. When you dip the paddle blade into the water, the concave part should sweep through the water. Check your knuckles are in line with the blade. This movement will propel the boat forwards.
When you've completed the stroke on that side, your paddle should be setup for the next stroke on the left-hand side. Alternate your strokes on both sides evenly and you will glide through the water.
If you wish you turn right, put the left-hand paddle into the water and pull towards yourself several times. To turn left, put the right end of the paddle into the water and do the same.
To stop or slow down, put the paddle into the water and push away from yourself. Alternate using both sides of the kayak.
Don’t try to go too fast to begin with. Pace yourself and concentrate on your technique. If you relax and enjoy the scenery, you will start to get a feel for how the kayak and your body work together.
Whether you’re a total beginner or looking to improve your skills, we will tailor our instruction to your requirements. We have a range of kayaks and canoes, or you can bring your own boat if preferred. Give our team of instructors a call on 015394 39441 to book your session.
Our thanks, as always, to Lotti Ducksbury, one of the Low Wood Bay Watersports team, for providing some of these photos.