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4 Fun Games for Kayakers

Well, is summer coming soon? Do your fingers itch again, although it’s still much too cold outside? Then now is just the right time to get to grips with the latest and coolest game ideas for kayakers. In fact, there are some fun (group) games for kayakers and canoeists.

If you’ve just paddled with a kayak so far, you don’t have to be afraid. The level of difficulty of our favourite games is also feasible for beginners. In our experience these games are a great way to make paddling more interesting.

Kayaking is great for your health, muscles and mind. Stupidly paddling endless distances does not appeal to everyone, though. Here kayaking games can help. Even beginners quickly learn how to use the sports equipment in a playful way and still have a lot of fun with friends. Isn’t that more important anyway?

In this article we go into detail about four popular canoeing games and at the end we give a small view over all kinds of other activities with the kayak.

1. Kayak Frisbee

Kayak Frisbee is probably the best kayak game for larger groups. Depending on the size of the field, each team should have at least 6 players. All you need is four buoys, a floating frisbee and a whistle to whistle the game on and off.

Let’s take a look at the rules of the game. Ultimate Frisbee is another popular contactless sport. In the classic variant (on land), two teams try to bring one Frisbee into the end zone of the opposing team. The peculiarity: It is not allowed to run with the frisbee in the hand.

The sport can be easily transferred to the water. The boundaries of the playing area are marked with a total of four buoys. For the beginning we recommend a 25 meter long playing field. A floating Frisbee is the object of the game. Alternatively you can play with a football or a simple ball.

The paddlers are divided into two teams. At the beginning the players of both teams start from their respective end zones. The Frisbee disc is placed in the middle. At the kick-off whistle, paddling is allowed.

The kayaker who is in possession of the frisbee may make no more than 3 more paddle strokes, then the frisbee must be handed over. You are not allowed to play yourself. The receiver must catch the frisbee without leaving his kayak.

In the hard interpretation of the rules, the possession of the ball passes to the opposing team with every failed pass (i.e. the frisbee falls into the water). For beginners or with wind this rule is however somewhat strict. This case should be determined by the referee in advance.

If a player with the Frisbee makes it to the opponents’ end zone, his team receives one point and the possession of the ball passes to the other team. The team that scores 7 points first wins the game.

2. A Dozen

This kayak game is perfect for a group of 5 people. You need at least two kayaks, two floating balls and a whistle.

First two teams with two players each are formed. Two tandem or four solo kayaks can be used for the game.

The rules are very simple. Whenever the game master sets a task, both teams try to complete it as quickly as possible. The tone of the whistle marks the start time as well as the end when one of the two teams has mastered the task.

The team that mastered the challenge first gets one point. The game is played until one team fills the dozen.

The tasks of the team leader should be fun and ideally improve the balance and feel of the equipment.

Some ideas for such tasks are:

  • “Swap positions on the kayak or swap kayaks without falling into the water”.
  • “Turn around on your own axis.”
  • “Throw your ball. The team that first brings the opposing team’s ball to me wins.”
  • “Jump into the water, dive under the kayak and climb back into the kayak.”

3. Catch me if you can!

With three kayaks the following game is the best one to play. It doesn’t matter whether you are on your way with three solo kayaks or six tandem kayaks.

Besides the players and their kayaks you need a roll of (waterproof) tape.
At the beginning the playing field is marked out. This can be done by natural restrictions or you can use buoys.

Each boat is now prepared with two 50 cm long strips of adhesive tape. One strip each is fixed to the bow and stern of the kayaks.

Before the start the kayaks are spread over the playing field. The game leader gives with a whistle the signal for the start of the game.

The goal of the game is simple, but difficult to achieve. The winner is the team that collects the most strips of tape. In general chaos this is a real challenge.

Catch me! is a great training to learn the fast and accurate maneuvering of the kayak. The balance on the boat is also improved.

The game ends when all the tapes have been torn off, or is finished by the game leader with a whistle in the whistle.

4. The Paddle Game

The paddle game is the only game on our list that is played in the country. It is not limited to a certain number of people and even non-kayakers can play. The only restriction is that each player must have a kayak paddle.

The game principle is as follows. All other players line up in a large circle and set up the paddles vertically (with the paddle blade down). The players hold the paddles at a distance of one arm length.

At the command of the captain “one to the right” each player releases his paddle, rotates one position to the right and catches the paddle of the next man before it touches the ground. If a player fails to do so, both that player and the person who released the paddle will be disqualified from the game.

The game is played until there is only one person left. If two opponents are still facing each other at the end, they only catch their own paddle. The captain should call for more difficult tasks such as turning the paddle 360° or turning the players around their own axis.

Further game ideas

Here are a number of other game ideas for children, beginners and advanced kayakers.

  • Basketball with two inflatable basketball baskets
  • A classic race
  • Tug of war
  • Volleyball with an inflatable net

Final Words

With the presented games beginners or children can develop a better feeling for the canoe in a playful way.

Even advanced kayakers can be inspired by the game ideas. The many fast manoeuvres in the games are a challenging workout and also improve your paddling technique.

However, special attention should also be paid to your own safety in all these games. Then it’s more fun!




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