Training in small backyard pond

I was thinking about anchoring my Perception Carolina 12ft in my small pond. My idea is to anchor it to two locations on shore with a long rope (and maybe a couple bungee cords) through the back hole used for the optional rudder (I don’t have a rudder for this kayak). The purpose of this would be to train and get a good work out in the convenience of my back yard. Obviously the strokes would be labored without forward momentum but outside of this would it work? Would it hurt the kayak to put stress in different places then it is designed for?

Please let me know your thoughts.



It won’t hurt the boat.

One rope is enough - and you could even attach to the grab loop. I wouldn’t bother with a bungie.

I would personally try to find a little bigger water and do laps or something.

Thanks for the reply. I was thinking of two to keep me from drifting but on second thought I agree one should work. I have a river a mile away that I can enjoy longer outings on but I was thinking for those times I could grab an hour after work or so. Also the scenery in my back yard is actually quite enjoyable with my Irish Setter, ducks, and geese. I do have room to turn a 12ft kayak but not without loosing most of my speed.

I think it is a great idea.
Kind of like running on a treadmill.

We have a small river with lots of cascades in our front yard, and I have a swimming hole in one area that is about fifty feet long and twenty feet wide.

The water is funneled in at one place about four feet wide, between two large boulders, and is an awesome place to just swim in place for the excercise.

go for it !

Jack L

That’s a new one!
Never seen anyone ask that question before, and it’s an interesting idea.

Can’t answer your question about stressing the kayak, though I doubt it’ll harm it a whit.

The big disadvantage is that, without actual forward movement, you won’t get important feedback on how good your stroke form is. But it would still be exercise.

Try it out and please report back!

Some thoughts

– Last Updated: Jul-07-11 8:36 PM EST –

Well, it would be great if it were just like the situation Jack described, where he can swim in place against the current. The situation Jack describes feels exactly like swimming in still water - you can't tell you aren't going anywhere. I frequently do that in one of my local rivers. Paddling a boat against the current and going nowhere also feels like normal paddling. Watch only the water going by instead of the shore or river bottom, and you can actually fool yourself into thinking you are going somewhere.

You already thought of the problem in your situation - which in your words is having no "forward momentum". Of course, what you mean to say is that the boat is not moving through the water at all. I've towed tired paddlers, I've towed boats that were swamped after going through rapids, and I've even towed a medium-sized sailboat with my guide-boat. That last situation was most similar to pulling against a fixed object, and doing so is sheer torture. Yes, it's exercise, but you will not learn anything about good technique, and if you are similar to me, it won't be fun either. In normal paddling, the paddle blade doesn't move much in the water as the boat is propelled and not much effort is needed to make the boat move. Tether the boat to shore and you create the polar opposite, with the paddle blade slipping a lot, but only because it's necessary to simply complete the stroke, but the effort to move the blade through one full cycle will be enormous. I think the only way this will come remotely close to simulating paddling would be to use a paddle with extremely tiny blades, which would slip through a full length of stroke so easily that it might feel a little bit like "real" paddling. I still don't think it will aid your technique, and you may even develop poor form.

It's probably worth a try if you like tinkering with ideas, and as long as you skills are already advanced to the point that you can avoid learning bad habits.

I agree with Guideboatguy
You’ll need a special paddle with small blades. Maybe just a dowel would be enough, or it might need tiny wings to feel right. Just play until you get something that feels right.

I think bungies are a good idea. They should help to simulate the surging feel of real paddling. Or maybe not.

As for hurting the boat, it takes 5 or 6 pounds of force to move your boat at 3 or 4 mph. And that’s the force that the rope would have to hold back. Hardly enough force to damage anything.

Just do it …
Drive that 1 mile to the water and throw your boat in and go paddle.

There must be hundreds of places to paddle around there within easy driving distance.

If It Was Me

– Last Updated: Jul-08-11 9:56 AM EST –

I'd use the pond to practice bracing and rolling. I'd jog and/or bike and do sit ups if there wasn't enough time to go to bigger water. You'd think that kinda stuff wouldn't cross over to the kayak but it does.

Hang a gate or two and do flatwater slalom or English gate stuff. You’ll get really good at turning tightly and accelerating hard.

go for it
We have a 2 acre pond that you can get a fair straightaway run on. Yeah, it’s not cross country workout but it keeps me paddling more often and is relaxing.

Thanks for all the help
I am going to try it out soon. I will try using a dowel instead of a paddle.

Thanks again,