Improving your kayaking from home

Boat maintenance

Keeping your boat(s) in mint condition will certainly serve you well in the long run. I like to tighten up all my bolts and screws. On Pyranhas, most of them can be done with a simple hex key. Another thing to do is to spray some WD40 or other water disperser/lubricant on your ratchet straps if you have them. This prevents them corroding and makes them run satisfyingly smoothly.

It is also a good idea to adjust and tune your outfitting to suit you. Even the subtlest raise in seat height or adjustment of the foam in your hip pads can make all the difference in your contact with the boat and the water.

This is a great outfitting tutorial by Bren Orton, and can be applied to most kayak brands:

How to outfit your kayak

You can buy outfitting foam and replacement parts from your kayak company:




Exo rope system:

Strength and Fitness

Strength and endurance are key factors in your paddling ability. Strength and power are important for manoeuvring your boat, paddling fast and hitting moves. However, endurance and cardiovascular fitness are also vital for being able to maintain control and concentration throughout the duration of a rapid.

Arguably the best workout for kayaking is actually going kayaking, but if you are stuck at home here are some great exercises to try:


Russian twists: Sit down with your feet in the air and your back suspended off the ground and move your hands (you can use a weight) from side to side touching the ground. Do as many reps as possible. This is great as it simulates the side to side motion of paddling.

Other core exercises such as sit-ups, dish, and plank are great too.

Arms and shoulders:

Press-ups, shoulder press and bicep curls are great for arm and shoulder strength.

Video Review

A great way to improve your kayaking is watching older videos of yourself paddling and analysing what you did wrong, did right, or could have done better on. You can keep this in the back of your mind and put it into practice later on. Being critical of yourself and looking for holes in your technique will really help you.


Dee Laps

On Saturday the 11th of July, we travelled the 3-hour drive to paddle the river Dee. The Dee is a river up in north wales that goes through Llangollen. Ollie had paddled the Dee twice before and I had paddled it once. The times we’d gone before were on an overnight school trip. On this trip, we paddled down from Horseshoe Falls (a horseshoe shaped weir) down through Serpents Tail and Mile End Mill and getting out just below Town Falls in Llangollen. Only Ollie had run Serpents Tail before but that was at a lower level and wasn’t successful. Now when we did together, the levels were higher, so some features were flushed through but still a good rapid. Luckily, we both had successful lines down it and couldn’t wait for the second lap for when we could run it again. We next got down to Mile End Mill which was where we had spent most of the time with school. We surfed the waves and did the seal launch off a large rock. After Mile End Mill, we came to a rapid that neither me or Ollie had run before which would also probably be the largest rapid we’d paddled. It was the rapid in Llangollen called Town Falls. It consisted of two v shaped drops but with gaps in the middle which you weren’t meant to go through. On the first run, because we couldn’t get out to look, both of us went straight through the middle of both of them. Luckily, we were fine in the end and we shuttled back up for round 2. On the second lap, we did the same and ran Serpents Tail twice. When we got down to Town falls, we did the same again and went through the middle of the drops. I got a clean line, but Ollie came out the first drop vertical then hit a rock on the second and flipped into the hole. Didn’t stop Ollie from popping a good roll. After getting out and Sean grabbing his car, we drove to the aquaduct. We paddled across it and got the look over the 3cm thick metal wall stopping us dropping off the edge of the 126ft drop down to the river at the bottom. It was a great experience to end the day.