Successful kayak paddling requires a powerful and skilful paddler with an appropriately designed kayak and blade to effectively maximize power to provide forward propulsion and minimize negative drag forces. With a greater understanding of the biomechanical properties and design characteristics of kayaking, coaches and athletes can work towards successful paddling performances. Examination of what is occurring biomechanically under the stress of competition is an important step in improving race times. Since the introduction of kayaking as a sport, an increase in the understanding and research behind the biomechanics of flatwater kayaking has, in part, contributed to improved race times. This information may aid coaches in the development of more specific training programmes for their athletes. It is the purpose of this paper to review previous literature regarding the biomechanical principles of flatwater kayaking and certain design modifications in the context of its application to improving paddling performance.
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