6 tips to improve your kayaking skills and experience
Kayaking in Norway will feel like a dream come true. All that gorgeous scenery, the fresh air, those crystalline waters…
But while kayaking is accessible to everyone and you don’t have to be an athlete to be good at it (and enjoy the views), there are still some ways you can improve your skills and experience, so that you can enjoy more of Norway from the seat of your paddle.
Curious to see what these tips are? Keep reading!
Build stamina and strength
Like we said, you don’t need to be an athlete to kayak — but having a strong core and stamina will make the whole experience easier and more pleasant.
Set up a training schedule that involves rotating ab exercises, forward and reverse sweeps (using your paddle), high and low braces (again with the paddle) and some exercises that promote balance, like the tree pose in yoga. If you do this routine a couple times a week for a few weeks before your kayaking trip, it will really help you paddle for longer.
Credit: Karianne Klovning
Let go of the fear of capsizing
As much as you enjoy kayaking (and swimming), chances are you’re not very excited about the prospect of capsizing. And it’s understandable — in fact, many kayakers fear it. But since capsizing is very often a part of the reality of kayaking, it will be a great boost to your confidence if you practice doing exactly what scares you.
Pick a spot with warm, shallow waters and bring a friend along so that you feel safe. The key is to learn how to reach under your kayak and right it by gripping the edge and flipping it upright without allowing any excess water to stay in. Then, with the help of your friend, practice getting back into your kayak — and when you’re comfortable enough, try it on your own.
If you do this a couple of times, you will be more prepared and less likely to be afraid in the event your kayak capsizes while you’re on a trip. Your body will know what to do!
Try the rolling technique
Once you get over your fear of capsizing, you can experiment with a more advanced technique called “re-entry and roll”. What you basically want to do is hold your capsized kayak steady with one arm and enter it while it’s upside down (so you’ll need to be underwater). Once you’re inside the kayak, you need to push with your paddle and body and turn the kayak around so that it rolls back up.
After you get the hang of this technique, you’ll be amazed at how easy and fast it will become to deal with capsizing.
Go kayaking in a challenging environment
Like against a rocky shoreline or in strong waves. This will help you practice different skills and techniques and will prepare you to take longer trips in more varied terrains. Just remember to paddle safely and always wear a vest and a helmet!
Credit: Karianne Klovning
Use different kayaks, whenever you can
It may sound like a counterintuitive thing to do. But hear us out: if you’re only used to one specific kayak, you may find it difficult to practice important techniques (like re-entry and rolling) in another boat. And since the kayaks you’ll rent on holidays may vary a bit in shape and size, it’s a good thing to be able to handle yourself safely in all of them.
Take a course or a guided tour
Of course, nothing beats a few hours in the water with an experienced and certified instructor. So if you really want to improve your kayaking skills and experience so that you can enjoy paddling through Norway’s fjords, may we suggest you take a course or a guided tour?