How we love the internet, it has given us everything we could ever ask for when seeking information. The trouble is that not all the information out there is correct, or more often then not very complicated. So here are some tips on what to learn first .
The most important thing to do is make sure you have the right equipment, a stable craft to paddle, you never grow into a boat if its to tippy to start with. Next the right paddle, shaft soft with more of a composite of fiber glass then carbon, male on a surf ski small to medium blades at 209-2011 in length, women small blades 206-208cm in length and if in a seated kayak men 214-217cm, women 2012-2015cm. If you have these things then you can now learn the important parts of paddling that will help you to learn the correct paddling technique.
The catch, the catch is the front part of the stroke, the part where your trunk should be twisted and when the blade hits the water in a square to the boat position.
As seen in this picture from having the right rotation and the hand height up the paddler is able to have the blade square to the boat to get the best catch. The catch is where the blade gets a full amount of water on the scoop part to help propel the boat forward.
By using the twisting motion known as rotation you get to use bigger muscles this then helps generate more power on each stroke making the boat travel faster. The best thing is it also spreads the work load over bigger muscles, helping you go faster easier. When you rotate you need for your exit of the blade/paddle to be out wide and your wrist twisted up, this helps the blade come out clean and lift no water. When you pull back with your arm and its bent you will scoop water up and lift the tail of your craft up, this leads to bad boat movement.
This picture has a great display of the body rotated, the blade lifting no water and having excellent boat run.You can also see on knee has lifted up and one down, this is known as leg drive. Leg drive happens as a result of body rotation of every stroke.
Picture yourself sitting in your craft, fixed in, now rotate your hips around, when you do this it makes one leg longer to your foot plate or pedals and the other shorter. So as you paddle in this motion you find your using your trunk and getting lots of power. Leg drive will just happen, it's not something separate.
If you get these few things right with your paddling the rest just falls into place with the training you do.
Never give up, never use equipment that you can't handle and never stop enjoying your paddling.
If you need any help with what gear you should use, whether it be ski, kayak, GPS, paddle of paddling clothes let help you out as I want you to enjoy paddling as much as I do.
Yours in paddling