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Home > Adventure, How To, Kayaking > Trick or Treat? 5 Tricks to Try in the Water

Trick or Treat? 5 Tricks to Try in the Water

Kayaking is an amazing sport that has skill levels suitable from beginners to experienced riders. While some of us may be completely satisfied floating the river, others take it to a whole new extreme with flips and tricks cascading down whitewater cliffs. We picked out a couple of our favorites and are willing to share as long as everyone remembers to practice safety first!

1) The Stern Squirt

Hey, we didn’t come up with the name, but it sounds fun, right?! One of the most popular tricks and a fun one at that to play around with as a beginner taking the sport to a new level. For all of these tricks, the type of boats differ, and you may want to try some different ones out to see what you like the best. After finding the right boat, head out to a small eddy – one with just enough motion to start out with.

Approach the eddy line roughly at a 45-degree angle. As your heels cross the eddy line you need to do something that you have trained your body not to do since the first day you started kayaking – lean upstream! This is a multi-dimensional move that requires us to balance our weight over the boat while letting the water do the work for us. Wind your torso up as far as you can and plant the blade fully in the water on the downstream side of your boat. Try to get the paddle shaft parallel to the side of the boat for best results and a longer stroke. The stern squirt helps break down the notion that there is one way to do things, and forces you to be aware of your edges.

boofing on a bellyak

2) The Boof Move

Boofing on to our second trick…may not be the technical term but sounds right. The Boof Move is really all about  the timing and the stroke. Ideal timing happens when the wave is giving maximum lift to the front of your boat and it’s timed with a solid, powerful stroke that will send the boat downstream, not making it spin out one way or the other upon landing. Learning this split second of timing takes practice. Good body mechanics also equal good boofing. Tucking the knees up and leaning forward as you drop are two important body mechanics to work on. This is what gets the bow up and keeps it there. The longer you hold it, the flatter you’ll land. As always practice is key so get out there and start boofing!

3) The Blunt

Ready to take your riding to the next level? The blunt is a gateway move – you have been warned! Catching even a hint of air can be addicting in the world of water sports. Feeling the water splash as you land and realize you are halfway to flying is pretty enticing! In technical terms, the Blunt is a 180-degree rotation around the bow of the boat, elevated more than 45 degrees. The boat does not touch the water at one point of the execution for an air blunt.

4) The McNasty

The McNasty is an elevated 180-degree rotation starting in back surf, linked with a front loop. Basically, a crazy way to do a front loop. Spin to get yourself into a back-blast. Once you’re backwards, you drop your edge, take your opposite blade and pry the bow under the water, which lifts the stern up. Continue to pry until you get your body upstream. The key for this one is to turn your head and look straight upstream. Square up your hands, tuck for a front loop, take a strong loop stroke, and do a front flip out of it. The do it again, and again…and maybe one more time.

Sage Donnelly cartwheeling

Sage Donnelly Cartwheeling

5) The Cartwheel

The cartwheel is one of the key fundamental skills in freestyle as it is the basis for many intermediate and advanced moves. The cartwheel involves placing your boat on edge and sinking either you nose or stern and then moving to sink the opposite end nose or stern in the water. Here are some steps to master this trick:

  • Set up on the top of the pile ready to initiate your first end.
  • Come down the pile and aim to initiate your first end into the seam where the green water meets the foam pile. Do this by putting your boat on edge and doing your double pump just before your boat hits the green water.
  • Use the slam stroke to bring your bow all the way through the water and stern up into the air.
  • The moment your boat is vertical and your stern is straight in the air take your initiation stroke out of the water and put your other blade in the water ready to do a forward sweep.
  • As the bow goes over vertical get ahead of the boat and get your paddle in position to do another back sweep stroke to smash the bow back into the water and the stern back into the air.
  • As the boat passes over vertical get ready to repeat stage 4 – 7 and cartwheel away end over end until you are dizzy or tired and have to stop.

Safety first and dry bag second! See ya out there!

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