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

10 Easy Ways To Become A Better Paddler

When you start your paddling career progression is often very rapid. Skill acquisition is quick and you develop the technique required to safely get you down a piece of water. After you have been paddling for a while it is easy to hit a plateau. Moving past this can seem quite difficult but a few changes or adaptations can help you to continue to make progress/develop.

10 Easy Ways To Become A Better Paddler

Consider where you mainly paddle. Change venue if you can. Try a new piece of water.

Paddle more. It’s a simple step that can really speed up your progress.

Get some professional coaching. Picking up or developing bad habits is very easy. Having an expert look at your paddling technique could speed up your paddling development rapidly.

Spend some time in the pool. Practice your weaker paddle strokes on your weaker side in a warm/safer environment can pay dividends by the time you get back onto the rivers.

Are you a creeker, playboater, or slalom paddler? Trying a different area of the sport and therefore a different type of kayak can lead you to develop new skills.


I have found that I have made the most progress by paddling with people, who are at my level of paddling or even better someone who is paddling much better than myself. Learning by watching, copying, and following the lead always works well.

Spending some time working on the same stretch of water can often really help develop your skills. Sessioning a stretch of water with multiple lines, breaking and break out can help hone you skill

Try to do a multi day trip. This can be difficult depending on the part of the world you live in but having a concentrated stint of paddling can really help develop your skills (as well as your muscles).

Spend some time getting the outfitting in your boat just right. Having a boat that fits well will help you transfer your power and weight into the boat more effectively.

What about number 10? Well this one is over to you….(let me know by leaving a comment on this post).


  1. Anthony

    Making class V moves on class III water. That way the consequences are not as bad if you miss your line.

    • Johann Swart

      Amazing training tool! Challenge your friends and take turns over complicating low consequence rapids.

  2. Johann Swart

    Can’t think of a number 10 right now, but paddling with superior paddlers and replicating their lines, strokes & moves has helped me the most. And if you don’t understand why someone is doing something, ask them why, and why they prefer that over a more basic line, stroke or move. Scheet article…

    • Paul Teasdale

      Agreed. Talk talk talk to the heroes in the sport. Hi Johann.

  3. Nigel Emms

    Make mistakes, using a known feature or stretch of river set your self up for a bad line or enter a drop sideways, make mistakes and work on your ability to recover.

  4. Paul S

    10. Drink less the night before

  5. Ian Turnbull

    Work on your weaknesses not your strengths first.

    Don’t know? Then ask a skilled friend or better still a good coach.

    I know it’s uncomfortable and you don’t really want to but it’s your choice. Find out NOW from a friend or good coach or from the river at it’s choosing! And it WILL find it. ;-))

  6. Mark

    Cross train. Jumped on the bike after a 3 year break. Thought I was in good shape from all the boating, but I’m not.

  7. Franz Fuls

    have fun. or quit.

  8. Bjoern

    Learn Open Canoeing! Having a paddle only on one side will develop a deeper understanding of what you can do with the blade. Beginners in kayaking often do things wrong on one side, then repeat the same mistake on the other side and are still all right. Do the same in a canoe and you paddle in circles… Certainly helped me getting a better paddler

  9. imhof Elizabeth

    10: train your combat roll during your first paddling season, then you’ll dare and learn more

  10. John

    Sign up for a class with a real professional instructor.

  11. adam

    Number 10. Find a nice friendly stopper and play in it.

  12. Jamie Smith

    Flatwater play and work

  13. joane farrell

    As stated above, get a solid roll.

  14. Curtis

    Upstream Attainments. Find an old long boat, go to your local class II stretch of water, and paddle upstream. Not only is it a great workout, but the edge control and water reading skills you’ll develop from this are indispensable.

    • Unsponsored

      Superb advice Curtis.

  15. Max Wellhouse

    10.1 Quoting Gretzky, “Practice doesn’t make perfect…PERFECT practice makes perfect!”

  16. Max Wellhouse

    10.2 Separate what your upper and lower body are doing in the boat.

  17. Chickle Chives

    Try handpaddling, it’s amazing how much the water can do for you if you think ahead.

  18. Chickle Chives

    Travel, different countries have different river types with different challenges and techniques.

  19. Nick

    Do stupid things in a safe place. Whitewater courses and other safe water are great places to try rediculous things without consequence.
    Try looping a creek boat, try to make the most rediculous eddy, boof everything and anything, do boaterX runs, just stretch yourself as much as possible when you are in a comfortable and safe environment

  20. David Glasswell

    try leading and organizing a group or trip instead of being content to follow others

  21. Mark Fitzpatrick

    Take a step back and examine your posture!!

  22. Jan

    Blonde babe in bikini next to the unrun rapid will improve your ability to say it’s go time

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