Edging will improve your ability to turn your kayak. Edging is used in a wide range of paddling environments from flat water to powerful surf, particularly for non-ruddered kayaks.

By edging your kayak you change its underwater profile. Edging will also reduce the waterline and lessen the amount of resistance between the hull and the water. The greater degree of edge applied, the greater the effect on your kayak. 


Imagine your body divided into 3 parts - your head, upper and lower body - each acting independently.

To edge your kayak: 

  • Keep your head over the centre of your kayak. 
  • Keep your upper body upright (maintain good posture).
  • Use your lower body (hips, knees and buttocks) to edge (tilt) the kayak to one side. 
  • Lift the knee to make firm contact between it and the kayak underneath the deck. 
  • Shift your weight firmly onto the hip and buttock of the opposite side. 
  • In most cases when going forwards you edge the opposite side to the direction you want to turn.  If you want to turn left you would edge on the right, lifting the left knee. 



  • Different people with different physical shapes and in different kayaks can edge their kayaks to different degrees. You need to discover your own edge.
  • When your kayak broaches in moderate surf, edging into the surf while doing a low brace helps you avoid capsize.
  • Overcooking an edge can lead to capsize. Having a good low brace support stroke can stop this from happening!. 


Common mistakes

  • Leaning instead of edging.
  • Poor posture means you can't maintain an effective edge.



Practice drills

  • Take the edge to the extreme level of your comfort zone before you capsize. How far up the side of the kayak does the water reach? Can you maintain an edge when the water reaches your skirt? 

Discover the 3 degrees of edging:

  1. Shift your weight onto one buttock on the side to which you are edging. 
  2. Maintain your shift in weight and bring the knee on the opposite side into light contact with the underside of the deck. 
  3. Maintain the same shift in weight and bring the knee firmly into contact with the underside of the deck to lower the edge to the point just before you feel you will fall in.