Canoe or Kayak lesson explained

Top tips and advice on canoeing and kayaking lessons

Your first Canoeing or Kayaking lesson

Make sure you are confident with water, anyone considering caneoing lessons should be able to swim at least 50 metres. You should be confident in the water with your head above and below, if you are the kind of person who would panic when under water, think carefully before considering taking up either kayaking or canoeing as a sport or hobby.

When learning the basics make sure you listen to the instructor. You should first get a briefing about canoeing and the possible dangers involved, if neccessay take notes so that you can refer back to these at a later date.

An instructor should also give you an overview on the different types of canoeing/kayaking and the must have equipment, this includes bouyancy aids, life jackets, paddle, spray decks, clothing such as wetsuits to help keep you warm and how to carry your boat.

Most canoe/kayak shops and the local clubs will be able to give you advice

on what you need to get started.

After the initial briefing you will be shown the firts steps, sometimes by watching a training video, watching an instructer on the water or by watching someone run through various techniques on land.

Some of the basics include

Note: Holding the paddle correctly helps with keeping the boat in a straight line, a common mistake is to hold the paddle incorrectly and off-centre, the effect being the boat goes round and round in circles.

As the training progresses, you will be taught about the potential hazards on the water, rescue techniques and rescue equipment.

Canoeing/Kayaking - lessons continue

As you start to take extra lessons, the skills you will learn get harder, although they can be more important to you, depending on the type of paddling you choose.

Two great skills to learn are the Eskimo roll and slap stroke. The Eskimo roll allows you to turn the boat back into an upright position after capsizing. If you can master this technique, you should very rarely have to swim ashore and empty your boat of water.

As an experienced kayaker myself, I enjoy eskimo rolling. You can even learn to do this without a paddle once you master the art. However it is better in most cases to not capsize the boat in the first place, so the slap stoke is equally if not more important to learn and master. This particular paddling stroke allows you to slap the water as the boat starts to capsize; a slap of the paddle against the water stops the boat completely turning over, so no need to eskimo roll. This technique becomes very important on moving/white water where hidden rocks are beneath the water.

After a few lessons and days out on the water you will soon start to get a feel for what you enjoy, then the fun starts. Get ready for days out and even holidays with your club, family and friends.

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"thank you i found your advise very thought provoking and will be taking what you have said seriously as i know this like many other sports can be dangerous if not taught correctly many thanks"