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Bending Branches

How to Edge & Lean a Kayak

The video clip shown above is a segment taken from the DVD:
Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown Vol. 1
available in the store.

Edging is one of these things that we do all the time whenever we're paddling. We use it all the time. Sometimes without even thinking about it, but if you think about it just know, then we can start to improve that.

Edging Technique
So the first thing we do is we put our weight on this right hip, and then my left knee comes up and contacts the deck. And that lets me fine tune that edge. My body is in a C-shape, and my head is centered over the boat. Let my knee off and weight off my hip.

On my left side pushing down on my left hip, lifting up with my right knee and, again, C-shape with my head centered over the boat. If I want to go farther, I'd let this knee fall down and keep my head centered over the boat. Then knee back off and set right back up again.

It's easy enough in flat water but practice edging so you can use it in rough water as well.

Edging vs. Leaning
The difference between edging and leaning:
Edging is we're in balance and we're in control, and Leaning is when our center of balance gets outside the center of buoyancy of the boat and we fall in.

So for edging, I'm flexible in the middle, and I edge here and hold it in this position. My head is centered over the boat. For leaning, everything is fixed. So I've got everything inside of the boat fixed. My hips are fixed to the boat, and my body is upright and my head is fixed. So when I move my head off to the side, if I don't do something, I fall into the water.
So edging, I'm in balance; leaning, I'm going off balance.

Why would you want to lean? Sometimes when you're going fast, you need to lean out to the side to get the boat to do a turn, and you get support from the paddle there. Any time you want to get support as well for doing support strokes you're probably being thrown over so it's a lean you're coming up from then.

These are all of the foundations of all the turning and steering techniques Gordon will explore in later coaching sessions.

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More Articles

 • How to Turn Your Kayak
 • Kayak Foot Brace Positioning & Edging
 • A Kayaker's Body English
 • Staying Upright in a Kayak
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