How to Steer a Kayak

Directing your kayak using a paddle is a fundamental skill. Explore the great outdoors with these beginner kayaking tips.

April 03, 2017

Learning to steer and turn your kayak is important to fully enjoy your experience on the water. It may take some time and practice, but arming yourself with the proper skills and knowledge could help you feel comfortable and confident on your kayaking adventure.

Begin by putting your paddle in the water behind you and parallel to the kayak. Like a rudder on a boat, using your paddle this way turns your kayak.

If you want to turn left, paddle continually on the right side of the kayak. If you want to turn right, paddle repeatedly to the left. Think about it like this: if you want to turn in a desired direction, paddle on the opposite side of the kayak.

It may help to picture your kayak in the water from a birds-eye view, as demonstrated in the video above.

The more you practice these fundamentals the more likely they’ll become second nature and you’ll be able to turn your kayak in any direction you want with ease.