Adaptive Paddling refers to adjusting equipment, paddling and/or learning techniques to the paddler's individual situation. You may need equipment adjusted because of physical limitations due to injuries, age, weight, or a medical condition.
In the video below the paddler mentions three simple adaptations: (1) replace foot pegs with a bulkhead (or wall) across the front of the kayak to keep legs engaged and improve kayak control; (2) add padding to provide body support and protect from abrasions; (3) use a lighter paddle to decrease body strain and improve paddle control.
Some adaptations can be made with simple materials like mini-cell foam and duct tape, e.g., extra padding and support. A pretty impressive seat with added support can be fashioned out of sections of foam. A pool noodle folded over a cockpit combing can protect a paddler who bleeds easily and/or is subject to infection from the scratches that commonly occur when entering and exiting the kayak.
ProPel Grip by Creating Ability
Chosen Valley Creating Ability, a Minnesota-based company, has designed equipment providing a variety of adaptations: seats with added support for sitting up-right and stable, hand supports for paddlers needing extra help holding a paddle, leg supports for amputated legs to ensure kayak control (including for rolling), outriggers for added kayak stability.
These adaptations may affect the paddling and self-rescue techniques you use so it is recommended you work with a qualified instructor as you learn to use modified equipment.
Kayak Instruction & Tours offers instructors certified by the American Canoe Association in Adaptive Paddling, and we'd be excited to work with you. Please contact us with any questions.