Impressions Regarding My First Paddle

-- Last Updated: May-31-13 10:12 AM EST --

I just purchased last week, my first kayak ever, a Conduit 13.

This morning I took it out for its maiden voyage on a deep, flat water creek. Since I have no paddling experience and have no frame of reference I can't give you any similarities and differences to any other kayak, but here are my thoughts thus far.

First, the kayak seems very stable to me, a beginner, and glides along fairly well with a steady paddling stroke. I can tell that I need to improve my stroke consistency from side to side as I am regularly having to correct my direction to travel in a straight line.

My paddle is two-piece and can be snapped together with the blades parallel to each other or slightly offset. I experimented with both settings but truthfully at this stage can not tell much difference. I assume there are instances or paddling styles where one setting is better but I am no where near that level yet.

Overall, I really like the boat and think it will be a good boat for me to enjoy, get some exercise, and learn about some of the different aspects of kayaking.

I could have spent less and of course could have spent considerably more but based on my first experience this seems to have been a good choice for my first kayak.

Welcome and congrats!
Sounds like a promising first outing in a great beginner boat.

You’ll probably find that orienting the paddle blades in the same plane (lined up straight) works best for most flatwater paddling in mild conditions. The main reason you feather a paddle (offset the blades) is to keep wind from catching the “up” blade when paddling in windy conditions. At an angle it will slice through gusts more easily. People paddling whitewater, where you need to change direction quickly, use paddles with even bigger offsets. But for touring, straight alignment or no more than 15 degrees offset are common placements.

You’re right, some lessons would probably help your stroke. Til you can arrange that there are some decent videos on YouTube that might help you understand some of the “body english” involved. We all tend to use our arms rather than our core when we begin kayaking. Some instruction helps you find that the power in your stroke comes up through your abs. Your foot pegs should be set so that you feel the push through your legs when you stroke.

You may want to experiment with cadence if you are finding you need a lot of corrections. Use faster rhythm but don’t dig as deeply in the water with the blade. And practice leaning to the side a bit to see how it changes the tracking. Try the leaning while not moving and near shore at first so you get the feel for the kayak’s stability before trying it out on the water. When paddling, sit up as straight as you can rather than leaning back in the seat, and rotate your torso towards the paddle with each stroke.

Have fun with it – there is a lot you will be able to do with that boat.

Thanks Willowleaf
As an avid outdoorsman for years, I can not begin to express how excited I am about this new sport. This will allow me to paddle for paddling’s sake, to take extended trips for sightseeing, and also to give my love of fishing some new tweaks.

I am glad your reported, and it sounds
like you started the same way my wife and I did. Now that your are hooked, it only gets better and better.

Jack L

And a lot more

Expensive Seems To Attract Me
As seemingly everything I have ever taken on has begun seemingly harmlessly but of course I always manage to find bigger, faster, newer, and “better” options to buy and enjoy. The good news though is that I do put these new toys to use and really never complain about quality.

As I stated, one of my primary reasons for purchasing the Conduit was that, in my opinion, it would be a good, bang for the buck, somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of stability, features, and performance and would allow me to build a frame of reference and experience, should I decide to take this new sport up a notch.