Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Training And The Art Of Becoming A Better Paddler


Training is something I don’t mention on the site as I believe if you are out paddling then that is as far as training needs to go. However a few bits and bobs have cropped up in conversation over the last few weeks that I thought I would get onto the site.

Training And The Art Of Becoming A Better Paddler

Do I train? No. What is important is getting out and putting in some water time. Probably the biggest thing I need to mention is variety. If you paddle the same boat on the same water taking the same lines then your skills will become stale. You’ll stay dry and comfy, you may or may not roll but that isn’t really going to help your paddling in the long term.

Training And The Art Of Becoming A Better Paddler

Changing any one of those variables will not only improve your skill level but it also can bring you back down to earth. No one is invincible and being able to cope in different situations in different water is key for any paddler but especially those who enjoy a bit of whitewater.

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If at all possible I like to paddle lots of different types of boats. As a weekend warrior who paddles mainly plastic creekers or playboats I have found it really beneficial to get into old school boats. Those that have a little bit of an edge and need more thought and better boat skills to control.

There is also so much that all of us could learn from the different disciplines within the sport. Smooth, precise boat and paddle control from the world of slalom or good speed and explosive power from polo – the list is endless.

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Playboating in its own right has improved my river running abilities. Playing in waves/features in a controlled way has allowed me to understand how subtle changes in my body position and paddle can dramatically change the way in which the boat moves. It has also helped me develop my roll!

So I guess the purpose of this post is a simple one, a challenge if you like to get out and try a different boat or style of kayaking.


  1. Simon Wyndham

    Practice makes permenant. Self teaching by time on the water I think can only take you so far and could result in a plateau because the key to be able to go further may be elusive.

    There’s something to be said for being taught proper efficient and powerful technique compared with the high probability of ingraining bad habits through self teaching.

  2. Liz

    I think that being coached makes people better paddlers. Training may, or may not be part of this. Think that training is something different to, ‘time in the boat’ though. A lot of people have paddled very badly, on a regular basis for a long time! With training there is a very clear progression.

  3. Glenn

    practice makes permanent… and not always perfect. That’s where coaching becomes a good investment.

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