Articles - How to perform a Loop in your Whitewater Freestyle Kayak

Ed throws the Loop
Ed throws the Loop
Canoe and kayak - Posted on 30 Mar 2011

OK you’ve got used to playing in holes and you’re comfortable taking your playboating in to the three-dimensional, and can achieve good verticality on your cartwheels and splitwheels. It’s time to throw a new ingredient into your playboating mix… Air-time!
The starting point for grabbin’ big air in your playboat is through loops. Loops can be initiated on either the bow or stern of your kayak and are generally performed in a hole, but they can be done on the flat, or even on a breaking wave if you’ve really got them down.

  The Front Loop

Pre-requisites for the Front LoopSetting up for the loop
To do the front loop you’ll need to be comfortable moving around in a hole and have experience of being vertical in your boat. Don’t worry if your cartwheeling isn’t up to scratch, as the loop can be surprisingly easy and fun to try!


As with a lot of hole moves you need to get yourself on to the back of the foam pile by digging your edges in on your down stream side then rocking back and forth, or sometimes spinning on to the back of the pile works better. From here get your boat pointing upstream, so you’ll be front surfing facing back into the hole.

The reach Initiation
The aim here is to drive the end of your boat into the seam line of the hole against the green water coming from upstream. The harder the end of the boat is driven down the more success you’ll have with your loop. To do this come from the back of the foam pile with plenty of speed by leaning forward, and, if necessary, using paddle strokes. Keep your eyes on the seam of the hole.

Getting the Pop for Front Loops

There are a number of contributing factors to getting pop. In the case of the front loop leaning back, reaching up above your head with your paddle and keeping your eyesight on something elevated above the hole works well. Reaching up with your paddle means that your paddle will act as a pivot point to loop over. If you don’t get pop it’s usually because you’re looking down!

The tuck

The Full Front Loop

This is the hard bit. After reaching up to get your pop you want to tuck forward as your boat goes over vertical. If all goes to plan then you’ll be in mid-air, upside down with your body forward ready to finish it and stun any on lookers! With your body in this forward position, with your torso tucked towards your legs you’ve effectively coiled yourself with a huge amount of potential power. So to finish the loop you want to uncoil by snapping your body back into a normal position and at the same time pushing your feet away.

Top Tip

Retaining Holes
Sometimes in weaker holes you’ll need to put the power on with some quick strokes just after landing to keep your ride going. Very often I use my paddle to help force loops and back loops as the paddle blades catch and give the motion extra force.

The Throw!


• Initiate into the seam of the hole
• Reach up to get pop
• Coil your body
• Uncoil to complete the move
• Use paddle leverage to help

Looking for a new freestyle boat have a read of what the canoe kayak testers thought of the Pyranha Molan Or perhaps have a look at our gallery or video section

Back to Training

Want to comment on what you've seen?

You must be logged in to leave a comment. You can log in here.
If you don't have a user account please register.

Recently Added Features

Canoeing & Kayaking Trips in the Lake District

23 Apr 2012

The Lake District is surely most famous for the spectacular walking it offers in its hill and fells, although it is becoming an increasingly popular destination for canoeists and touring kayakers alik

How to Repair Inflatable Kayaks & Inflatable Canoes

28 Mar 2012

A Canoe & Kayak UK Quick-Guide to Repairing Your Inflatable Kayak or Inflatable Canoe

How to Care For Your Inflatable Kayak or Inflatable Canoes

28 Mar 2012

A Canoe & Kayak UK Quick-Guide to Caring For Your Inflatable Kayaks & Inflatable Canoes...

All You Need to Know About Joining Your Local Canoe Club

25 Mar 2012

Every year more and more people sample the delights of canoe & kayaking through come-and-try-it days, taster courses and adventure holidays, but once you’ve been bitten by the bug, where do you go fro

10 Reasons to GO on a Canoeing or Kayaking Course

13 Mar 2012

One of the great things about canoeing & kayaking is that there’s just so much to learn and experience they can never get boring. To help you get more out of your time on the water. is to GO on a cano

GO Whitewater Kayaking - 6 Great UK Whitewater Kayaking Trips

08 Mar 2012

Want to Go Whitewater Kayaking? Here's a Canoe & Kayak UK Guide to Six fantastic UK Whitewater Kayaking Destinations...

Others in this Category

How to Get Articles Published in Canoe & Kayak UK

31 Jan 2012

A Canoe & Kayak UK guide on how to write better articles about your paddling adventures and how to get your stories published.

A Guide for the Older Kayaker

07 Jul 2011

Nic Burne, whitewater kayaking veteran and father of two globe trotting kayaking fanatics, explains how to grow old disgracefully and takes a reflective look on his river running retirement plan… with

Top Ten Tips for Rolling on Moving Water

24 Nov 2010

Plas Y Brenin Level 5 Coach Chris Evans explains how to perfect your rolling technique so it works first time, everytime in a variety of different situations.

How to Cartwheel Your Whitewater Freestyle Kayak

27 Sep 2010

Top UK Freestyle Kayaker Ed Smith explains how to do this essential basic playboating technique

How to Eskimo Roll A Kayak

26 Jul 2010

Learning to successfully right your kayak from an upside down position while still in it, or, as it is commonly known, to roll your kayak is a big step on the learning curve for many paddlers. We show

How To Master Brace Strokes - Whitewater Kayak Skills

24 Jun 2010

Practical Use of Bracing Strokes for Whitewater kayaking