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Have you tried: Kayaking

As one of Australia’s premier multisport champions, Melbourne’s Jarad Kohlar knows a thing or two about paddling. So on his recent trip to Townsville, when he was competing in and winning Adventurethon, TheGo tracked him down and got a few tips.

” Studies have been done that show that, behind cross-country skiing, it’s the most full body activity” – Jarad Kohlar


What do you enjoying the most about kayaking? The variety is great — you can do it in the river, ocean, lakes… plus different boats give different experiences too. Once you get your skill level up you can do anything and go to places that most people would never be able to get to.

What’s the biggest misconception? That it just uses your arms. Studies have been done that show that, behind cross-country skiing, it’s the most full body activity. You’re working your core, lower back and legs; and your triceps, biceps and forearms are using the least power.

How can people get started? The best way is to see an instructor first as, not only will they get you onto the best technique straight away and ensure your kayaking experience starts as a good one, they can also suggest what gear to get. Don’t go buying anything until you’ve spoken to someone who knows their stuff as there are so many different things to consider like the type of paddling you’re doing and where, your existing skill level, your budget, and more. People can get put off of kayaking easily if they have a bad experience to start with, so get some advice first-up to make it easier and more enjoyable.

Watch our video to see Jarad outlining the key principals for beginner paddlers; with a technique demo.

The audio at the start is a bit noisy with Adventurethon going on in the background, but it clears up after about a minute, so just keep watching 🙂

Some of the main points are:

  • When in doubt, legs out — the low brace is the most stable position in the kayak.
  • There are four key stages of paddling to master — the catch phase, the drive phase, exit phase and the set-up phase (these are all demonstrated).
  • Look at what the weather is doing — the most stable option is to paddle into the wind, the next stable is paddling with the wind and the most unstable is travelling side on to the wind.

Find out more about Jarad at Jarad also owns Peak Adventure and trains other multi-sport athletes:

Getting on the water in Townsville

Kayaks/surf skis are available for hire from Outer Limits Adventure Fitness, plus they also do regular paddling sessions. River-Sea Kayaking also does kayak skills training and river tours.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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