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Improve Your Flat Water Loop: Five Tips and Tricks

The flat water loop is one of my favorite freestyle kayak tricks. You can do it anywhere, it is a sick trick to impress your friends, and it is also super fun! Even better, it’s good for you: working on your tricks in flat water is a great way to dial them in and practice areas that need improvement so you are ready to go when you can get on whitewater features.

The flat water loop took me some time to learn, especially how to stick the trick. Here are five key tips for styling your flat water loop. This isn’t a step-by-step guide to getting your first flat water loop, but assuming you have the basics down and would like to improve—maybe you only stick three out of ten attempts, keep face planting, or can’t consistently get your stern to catch and bring your boat around—these tips are for you!

Tip 1. Timing

The flat water loop is a lot like life: timing is everything. When I was learning this trick, I found I was often bouncing too much or not enough and jumping too early or too late. Don’t overdo the bounce. I like two bounces, then go…every time I do this trick. Figure out how many bounces is your sweet spot and keep it consistent.

Tip 2. Head Position and Hands

You don’t need to overdo the bouncing to get the “pop” you need. When you throw your loop, look up to the sky and get your hands out of the water and above your head. This will really help drive your boat up out of the water, helping it get more aerial.

Tip 3. Tuck-to-Unwind Transition

When you transition from the tuck to unwind, lean back to open your body up but also push your feet away from you to land the stern.

Tip 4. Foot Drive

Don’t stop too early. When you’re mid-loop, it’s important to keep pushing through your feet and driving them away from you for longer than you think. I like to square up to shore or a landmark and visualize throwing my feet directly at that spot. This cue really helps getting your stern to catch so you can land your loops.

Tip 5. Loop Stroke

As you are unwinding and pushing your feet away from you, use your loop stroke to help force your boat around to land the trick. The loop stroke will also help keep your landing straight.

Each of these tips really helped me break down the trick and figure out my flat water loop. With a little bit of practice you should be getting consistent flat water loops in no time!

Check out the example footage below:

Catch you on the river!