How to Hold a Kayak Paddle

A paddle is an essential item of all kayaking gears. It helps in navigating our boat and maintaining balance on the kayak. So, you have to know how to hold a kayak paddle properly for a successful river trip. Make sure to follow these following techniques.

How to Hold a Kayak Paddle
  • Save

Tips You Should Know to Handle a Kayak Paddle

Anatomy of the paddle

First of all, the kayaker has to learn about the basic structure of a perfect paddle. All parts of the paddle with the perfect size fulfill different purposes. It features a long shaft that you have to grab firmly while moving across water. Two blades are attached on both sides. When you paddle, the edges keep going into and out of the water leading the boat in the desired way. A complete understanding of the paddle is mandatory for improved performance.

The right direction

Garb your paddle with hands such that they are facing the right direction. Don’t keep your hand too close and maintain about 40cm distance from each other. Sometimes the learners start practicing holding the paddle backward. It may not seem like a mistake at first. But it has a significant impact on stoking power. Keeping the power side facing you will help you to do your task with minimum effort.

Right side on the top

The paddles are available in a wide range of outlines, including symmetrical and asymmetrical. The edges of the asymmetric models are precisely the same in shape. They are suitable for vertical strokes. When it comes to asymmetric one, the lower edge is shorter than the upper side. They are an excellent choice for lower-angled strokes. You can keep any side of a symmetrical paddle on the top, but you should place the right side of an asymmetric paddle on top. Many brands use their logo as well as some other mark for quick identification of the right side.

Control grip

The control grip of a right-handed and left-handed person is their right and left hand, respectively. The control grip remains fixed on the shaft. During each kayaking stroke, the blades will rotate, depending on your loose hand’s reposition. You have to allow both edges to pass through the water smoothly.

Perfect grabbing

A kayaker should balance his knuckles in line with blades. Make sure to keep a 30 cm distance from you. While grabbing, place your hands at the same distance from the center of the shaft. Your grip should not be too tight or too loose. Your knuckles should not become white. Then place the paddle above your head. If the elbows create almost a 45-degree angle, you are holding it right.


For faster traveling, try to push the blades deep into the water. Relax the grip to avoid shoulder and hand pain. Use the thumb and index finger to cover the width of the shaft and allow other fingers to stay on the shaft lightly. Choose your stroke and perform actions accordingly.

Relevant articles you may like at outdoorboat –

What Should You Do When Approaching a Low-Head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak?

What is a Fishing Kayak?

How to Outfit a Kayak for Fishing?

How to Enter and Exit a Kayak with Bad Knees

Final Words

If you are a beginner, only knowing these tips will not work. Practice with your paddle before heading for the final ride.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap