Anouk Govil on Playboating: A Few Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Hello, everyone! Anouk Govil here. As many of you know, kayaking is one of my greatest passions. I inherited this passion from my father, and since I was about four or five years old, we’ve gone on numerous trips in and around Colorado specifically to go boating. I was 14 when I finally learned how to operate and maneuver my own kayak. Over the last decade or so, playboating has increased in popularity, which is what inspired me to write this post. If you wish to take your kayaking experience to a whole new level, I suggest that you take up playboating. It isn’t hard at all especially if you’ve been kayaking for awhile now.


Anouk Govil - playboating


What is playboating?

Playboating is a water sport that involves doing tricks or techniques with your kayak. Some call it freestyle kayaking or freestyle canoeing, and it’s basically the same thing. It’s different from whitewater kayaking as you don’t run the whole stretch of the water. You pick a spot, stay there, and do your tricks. Simply put, playboating is playing with and on your boat.

If you can handle a kayak, you can handle a few tricks. There are various tricks that you can do with your kayak, and in playboating jargon, these include: surfing, spinning, stern squirt, cartwheels, blunts, and flips. The more experienced playboaters do a combination of tricks, which naturally raises the level of difficulty and requires .

For this post, I’d like to share with you a few tips for the first three tricks I mentioned above.

1. Surfing. Surfing is one of the first tricks that playboaters learn, and once you’ve got a good grip on this trick, you won’t find it hard to ease into other tricks. This technique involves ‘surfing the waves’ where you generally paddle out of an eddy and you either go upstream, downstream or sideways. For beginners, front surfing (remaining on the upstream) is easier, as back surfing (boat facing downstream) involves other techniques, usually coming out from a spin. Also, front surfing is a good starting point for learning a few more tricks.

2. Spinning. This trick involves making a full 360-degree spin or at least a turn of more than 180 degrees. This usually starts from the front surf and ends in a back surf (as mentioned above). Position your boat on a front surf and then spin your way into the middle of the wave to hold your momentum. If you feel that you are beginning to get flushed, slow down your movements or pause and paddle to keep you on your position before spinning again.

3. Stern Squirt. In a nutshell, this trick involves ‘sinking’ the stern (back end of the boat) into the water while the front end faces upwards, pointing at the sky. Once this position is held, the boat will rotate following the course of the current. To learn and master this trick, it is recommended that you start from eddy lines as the currents help with the direction of the boat.

I hope you found these tips useful. Please stay tuned for more posts on kayaking. This is Anouk Govil; and I hope to see you back again soon!