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We recently caught up with James from Boyne Valley Activities who shared his experience of kayaking at adventure races and his tops tips to nail this section of the route. There is nothing to fear!

Whether it is your first attempt at a challenge or are an elite adventure racer, we guarantee these tips are pure gold.

“What I love about adventure races like Quest is the fact that you get so many people willing to give it a go. No other sport has participants trying to figure out their technique in mid-race. Some have never sat on a kayak before. Some have not done it since they were in the Scouts or TY year.  I witnessed this first hand, both as a race director and as a participant in adventure races. The result is a scenario referred to as “carnage” by experienced paddlers. By the end of this post you’ll have some tips about how to avoid carnage and make the most of the kayak section on your next adventure race.”

  1. Spend time paddling. There are four different ways of holding a paddle and only one them is right. You can only learn the correct one on the water with practice and muscle memory.


  1. Get your seating position right. Sit up straight and tall. Look straight ahead with a slight bend in your knee.


  1. Look in the direction you are going!! This is the single biggest mistake a paddler can make. Keep your eye on the prize at all times whether it is your marker or the finish line.


  1. Slow down. Relax. Breathe. Take two long steady paddle strokes rather than 4/6 sharp quick ones. All too often participants bull into this section and burn out. They sap the energy they should be conserving.


  1. Enjoy it. When you nail down the paddling technique, the kayak section of an adventure race will be your recovery section. Take in the views. Enjoy the motion of floating and let the body get ready for the next transition.

We hope these simple tips will help you along your way on the kayak section of your next race. Put some of these into action and you’ll see massive results – we promise. If you want to improve your paddling even more Boyne Valley Activities run Adventure Race Kayak Training  from their base in Trim.

See you on the water!