Beginning Kayaking Tricks

How To Do Wave Wheels In A Kayak

The wave wheel is one of many down river moves. It’s done as a paddler is traveling down a rapid and they have a nice wave and at the very peak of that wave, they’re going to do a double pump. And so as you come up and over this wave, you’re throwing your bow onto the backside of the wave. And it’s actually an easier way to get vertical and start cartwheeling than just trying to do flat water cartwheels or cartwheels in a hole.

So it’s a really fun move. And what you’re going to do is paddle fast down the wave train. Take one last forward stroke. That actually pulls your bow up and you try and shoot past the wave. As you hit your highest point, you’re then going to rotate as far as you can and bring the bow underneath your body. So again, you’re like the axis of a wheel. You want to be straight out to the side of your boat and really pull that boat through the move. And then you’ve finished and keep on floating down the wave.

Entering a Wave from Above

There’s two main ways to get onto a wave. You can either ferry onto the wave, which is easiest, or you can get onto the wave as you drift down to it. The best way to drift down to a wave is to face upstream as you begin, and then start paddling upstream to slow your momentum. As you come down to the wave, you want your eyes to look right at that face of the wave of the entire time, right where you’re going to want to end up sitting. As you come down the green water in front of you that’s when you want to paddle really hard and you’re going to lean back a little bit on that green water to keep your nose up. Once you feel the foam hit you in the back, that’s your signal to lean forward and take some fast forward strokes to slide down the face of the wave.

The Power Stroke Move

Being able to time your tricks on a wave comes from the ability to move around on the feature. When I’m kayaking on a wave, I want to be able to do fast climbs to pull myself up to the top or curve over to the shoulder of a feature in order to bring myself to the very peak of the wave. When I’m at the very peak of the wave, this is where I can really accelerate down the face, and then I can use a big powerful power stroke to lead into any move that I want to do.

Timing your tricks is really important. If I come down the face of the wave too far, then it’s hard for me to get enough balance to do anything. Also, if I start too soon, it might not have all the energy that it could have. So you want to get a lot of energy buildup on the way down the wave and then you can either from there, do a spin on the face or a number of other more advanced moves.

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