How Do You Kayak In A Lake? (Easy)

Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in America. There are many different types of kayaks you can use on lakes, but these tips will help you learn how to make your kayaking experience even more enjoyable.

How to Kayak – What Beginners Need to Know – YouTube
Kayaking in a lake can be easy and enjoyable.
Proper technique and paddling form are essential for smooth kayaking.
Choosing the right kayak size and style is important for lake kayaking.
Safety should be a top priority when kayaking in a lake.
Exploring different lakes and their surroundings adds to the adventure.

Wear The Proper Gear

  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
  • Wear water shoes to protect your feet from sharp rocks, shells and coral reefs.
  • If the water is cold, wear a wetsuit or dry suit.

If you’re interested in recreational kayaking, you may be wondering if fishing kayaks are a good option. Our article on the benefits of fishing kayaks for recreational use provides insights into why they can be a great choice for combining leisure and angling.

Find A Place To Kayak

If you want to kayak in a lake, it’s important that the water be calm and free of strong currents. The first thing you should do is visit the lake before you plan your trip. 

This will give you an idea of how busy it is and what kinds of places are available for kayaking. You want to find somewhere quiet where there aren’t too many boats or people getting in your way.

If the water is too deep or cold, your kayak could tip over and lead to serious injury or death if there are no rescuers nearby. 

If there are strong currents in the lake that would pull your boat out into deeper waters at high speeds, this could also be dangerous for both yourself and others around you who may try to help with rescuing efforts if needed – so make sure these things aren’t present when searching for a place where kayaking would work well!

Lake TahoeCrystal-clear waters, stunning views
EvergladesMangrove forests, diverse wildlife
Colorado RiverMajestic canyons, thrilling rapids
Puget SoundScenic coastline, abundant marine life
Boundary WatersPristine wilderness, tranquil lakes

In the table above, you can find a selection of popular destinations for kayaking. Each location offers unique features and experiences for kayakers.

Know The Types Of Kayaks

The first thing to know is that there are several different types of kayaks. You’ll find them classified by their length, width and depth. 

The length of a kayak is determined by the average height of the person who will use it. The width is determined by the size of that same person—a shorter/narrower boat will feel more stable than a longer/wider one for someone taller or wider than average for their age group.

The second thing to know about lakes and kayaking is that they can be very cold! If you’re not comfortable with getting wet yet, try some pool time first so you get used to how your kayak handles in water before trying something like this on a river or lake where currents might pull you away from shore if you fall out while attempting something tricky (this hasn’t happened yet but just in case).

For those considering fishing while kayaking, inflatable kayaks can offer several advantages. Discover why inflatable kayaks are good for fishing and learn about their versatility, portability, and other features that make them suitable for angling enthusiasts.

Choose The Proper Paddle

When choosing a paddle, it’s important to know what type of kayak you’ll be using. The length, width and shape of paddles are all different depending on the type of boat you’re in.

If you’re planning on using a sit-on-top or recreational kayak, then there are three main things to keep in mind when picking out your paddle:

The length of the shaft (or “shaft length”) should be about as long as your height or an inch longer. If it’s too short, it may feel uncomfortable during long paddling sessions; if it’s too long for you, then you’ll have trouble maneuvering around obstacles.

A blade width that mirrors the width of your kayak is also important so that they match each other well without creating any drag while paddling through water—and this can be adjusted depending on whether or not you prefer more power over speed or vice versa!

Finally, some models come with adjustable shafts so that users can find their preferred fit; these usually include rubber stoppers at both ends which allow users to slide them up/down until they reach their desired position within seconds instead of having to spend time trying different lengths before finding one which fits comfortably into them

How To Hold Your Paddle

You will also want to make sure that you have a good grip on the paddle. You should hold it close to the middle of the shaft with your thumb on top and fingers on the bottom. 

This will help provide power while also keeping your wrist straight, which can be helpful if you’re paddling long distances or through rapids. 

Your elbow should be bent at about a 90-degree angle so that your arm is parallel with the water’s surface when you’re sweeping through each stroke.

Grip StyleDescription
Feathered GripAngling the paddle blades for reduced wind resistance.
Offset GripHolding the paddle with one hand higher than the other for improved stroke efficiency.
Palm GripWrapping your hands around the paddle shaft with palms facing each other.
T-GripHolding the paddle with one hand gripping the T-shaped handle and the other hand on the shaft.
Bent Shaft GripGripping a paddle with a bent shaft design for enhanced ergonomics and comfort.

In the table above, you can find various paddle grip techniques to optimize your kayaking experience. Each grip style offers unique benefits and is suited for different preferences and paddling conditions.

Learn Your Balance Point

To begin, you need to find your balance point. This is the point where you are sitting in the kayak and it is not leaning to either side, but instead floating straight and level in the water. It may take some time to really master this, but once you have found it, it is important that you keep yourself there while paddling. 

The more stable your kayak feels in this position, the better control of it you will have over rough waters or windy days.

Dealing with a broken kayak paddle can be frustrating, but our comprehensive guide on fixing a broken kayak paddle provides step-by-step instructions and tips to help you get back on the water quickly and efficiently.

How To Get Into A Lake Kayak

Before you begin, make sure your paddle is in the water.

Next, step into the kayak and put your feet in the footrests. Then sit down—don’t worry, it’s easy! Now you’re ready to paddle around the lake with your friends and family.

Forward Stroke Technique

The forward stroke is the most important technique you need to master. It’s also the easiest, and it’s what you’ll be using for most of your paddling.

The idea is simple: you use your legs to push the kayak forward while keeping your arms out of the water and holding onto a paddle. Then, you straighten out those legs and bring them back in again until they’re underneath your body once more. Repeat this over and over as quickly as possible without getting tired!

You might think that would mean doing one hundred strokes per minute—and that could work for some people but there are two factors that make this much easier than it sounds:

firstly, using a paddle increases momentum so each stroke is like two or even three; 

secondly, since kayaking requires such precise balance anyway (you don’t want to tip over!), having less leg movement makes things easier on yourself by keeping more weight distributed towards where stability matters most at any given moment.

Backward Stroke Technique

The backward stroke technique is used to turn the kayak, slow down and get out of the water. It’s also used to stop and start.

To turn your kayak, you would use a combination of one forward stroke, followed by one or two backstrokes. 

To slow down or stop completely, do five to seven strokes in reverse. If you need to keep moving forward while turning, alternate one stroke forward with one stroke backward until it feels comfortable enough for you take over full control of your movements again.

When getting out of the water after a long day on the lake (or before taking off for another trip), it’s important not to flip over your boat during these exiting maneuvers so be sure not too lean back too much when positioning yourself once again as a human being rather than an aquatic creature!

Are you unsure about the compatibility of kayak drain plugs? Our article discussing universal kayak drain plugs covers the different types available, their installation process, and the benefits of having a reliable drain plug for your kayak.

Entering And Exiting The Kayak

Once you’re ready to enter the water, gently lower your kayak over the side of the dock and into the water. You’ll want to enter from either the bow or stern, depending on where you’re going to paddle. 

If you plan on paddling towards shore, head for the bow; if you’re heading out onto open water, start from one end or another. 

It’s also important not to get too close while putting in—just because there isn’t much current doesn’t mean it’s safe! The last thing you want is an unfortunate run-in with an underwater rock when trying to get started.

How To Do A Sweep Stroke

A sweep stroke is a circular motion in which the paddle is pulled forward, then swept backward. The sweep stroke can be used to turn your kayak and slow down as you’re coming into shore. It’s also useful for getting out of sticky situations at sea!

A simple way to learn how to do a sweep stroke: Take your dominant hand and hold it straight out so that it’s parallel with the surface of the water. 

Then twist your wrist about 45 degrees toward you. This will be what feels comfortable for you when pulling a sweep stroke in real life!

How To Do A Draw Stroke

To get started, you’ll need to know how to do a draw stroke. That’s the first step in any kayaking class or lesson, and it’s an important one!

What is a draw stroke? It’s one of the basic strokes that is done when you’re in your kayak—the other two being the rudder kick and sweep stroke. 

The purpose of this exercise is to move your boat through the water using only one hand on each side of your paddle while keeping it almost parallel with your body. To get started, place both hands on either side of your paddle and hold it still:

Forward Sweep DrawInitiate a sweep stroke and transition to a draw motion to move the kayak sideways.
Hanging DrawPlace the paddle blade parallel to the kayak’s side and pull the kayak toward the paddle.
Sculling DrawUse a figure-eight motion with the paddle blade to generate lateral movement.
Cross-Bow DrawReach the paddle across the bow of the kayak and pull to move the kayak sideways.
Pry DrawPlant the paddle near the kayak’s stern and pull to bring the bow towards the paddle.

In the table above, you can find different techniques for performing a draw stroke in kayaking. Each technique offers a specific way to maneuver the kayak sideways by utilizing the draw motion.

How To Do A Bow Rudder

To use a bow rudder, place your paddle on the water with its blade pointing toward the back of your kayak.

Slowly pull it toward you, turning the paddle forward and using it as a rudder. Pivot your entire body so that you are facing backward in order to apply more force to your strokes. 

To release a bow rudder while still moving forward and away from shore or other objects (like rocks), simply let go of the paddle handle!

Enhancing your kayaking technique can greatly improve your overall experience on the water. Check out our guide on improving your kayaking technique to discover valuable tips, paddle strokes, and maneuvers that can take your kayaking skills to the next level.

You Can Kayak In A Lake Easily If You Know These Tricks And Techniques

You can start kayaking in a lake by knowing the right techniques and equipment. You should know the location where you are going to kayak and make sure there is enough water to allow you to move around freely. 

The paddle that you use should be light so that it does not strain your back while paddling, but at the same time, it should be durable enough to support your weight for long hours of paddling. 

Your balance point should also be taken into account when choosing a paddle because if the center of gravity is placed low on the shaft then it will improve your stability while in motion.


If you follow these tips and tricks, you can easily kayak in a lake. It may not be easy at first but with practice and patience, it will soon become second nature. 

Remember that this is an activity that everyone should enjoy so go out there today!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on kayaking:

  1. Getting Started Kayaking – REI: REI’s expert advice article provides a comprehensive guide on the basics of kayaking, including equipment, safety tips, and essential techniques for beginners.
  2. Kayaking for Beginners – EZ Dock: EZ Dock’s blog post offers practical tips and advice specifically tailored for beginners, covering topics such as choosing the right kayak, learning proper paddling techniques, and essential safety guidelines.
  3. Beginner’s Guide to Kayaking – Gili Sports: Gili Sports provides a beginner’s guide to kayaking, highlighting key aspects such as kayak selection, basic strokes, safety considerations, and exploring different types of kayaking experiences.


Here are some frequently asked questions about kayaking:

  • Q: What equipment do I need to start kayaking?
    • A: To start kayaking, you will need a kayak, paddle, personal flotation device (PFD), appropriate clothing, and safety gear like a whistle and a bilge pump.
  • Q: How do I choose the right kayak for me?
    • A: Selecting the right kayak depends on factors such as your skill level, intended use (recreational, touring, whitewater, etc.), kayak size, and personal preferences. It’s recommended to try different kayaks and seek expert advice before making a purchase.
  • Q: What are some essential safety tips for kayaking?
    • A: Important safety tips include wearing a properly fitted PFD, knowing your limits and the conditions you’re kayaking in, practicing self-rescue techniques, informing someone about your plans, and checking weather and water conditions beforehand.
  • Q: What are some basic kayaking techniques for beginners?
    • A: Basic kayaking techniques include proper paddle grip, forward stroke, turning strokes (sweep, draw, and rudder), bracing for stability, and learning how to exit and re-enter the kayak in case of capsize.
  • Q: Can I kayak alone as a beginner?
    • A: While it’s generally recommended to kayak with a partner, beginners can kayak alone as long as they have a good understanding of safety practices, choose calm and familiar waters, and inform someone about their plans. It’s important to build experience gradually and gain confidence before venturing out alone in more challenging conditions.