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Kayak Strokes



Forward paddling


Forward paddling seems easy, but there is room for improvement.

Forward paddling is probably the most under-appreciated and under-practiced kayaking move. However, as you might imagine, this is the most important move that you can learn. Depending on where you're going to be kayaking, and how long of a kayak tour you intend to go on, good forward paddling may end up saving you a lot of time, effort, and muscle strain.

The most important thing to remember about your forward paddling, however is that you should only work on improving it if you feel that you can't do everything that you want to be able to do while you're in your kayak.

First, you should make sure that you have good posture in your kayak. It's important that you sit up in your kayak instead of leaning back. This way, you'll be able to make all of your paddling strokes as powerful as possible. You should also make sure that your feet are right up against the footrest inside of your kayak. That way you'll have a more powerful stroke than you would otherwise.

Next, you should pay attention to where the paddle goes into the water. It should enter near where your feet are in the kayak. You don't have to be completely precise, however, as it is sometimes hard to figure out exactly where you want the paddle to enter the water - and you will lose power if you spend too much time second-guessing your strokes.

You should work on relaxing your grip on the kayak paddle, as well, as this will make it easier for you to sustain your paddling pace - and can prevent injuries.

It is also important to make sure that you are paddling close to the kayak, and that your strokes are going deep. That way, you'll be making the most efficient paddling strokes that you can.

If you follow this advice, and work on strengthening the parts of your body that get tired fastest, then you'll find that your forward paddling improves.





Reverse paddling


Reverse paddling is an important kayaking technique.

While forward paddling is probably one of the most commonly used paddling strokes, reverse paddling is just as important. In fact, before you go kayaking, you should definitely practice both forward and reverse paddling to make sure that you have the necessary skills so that you do not end up in trouble while you are out at sea.

First, when you are reverse paddling, you should make sure that you are holding the paddle lightly, just like you would if you were paddling forward. This will help you have more control over the paddle, and it will also keep you from getting injured while you are paddling.

Next, you should make sure that you are using the back of the paddle blade when you are kayaking. While you should put the blade into the water near your feet in order to paddle forward, reverse paddling requires you to put the blade into the water near your hips instead. Then, you should push the paddle toward the bow of your kayak while turning the trunk of your body.

You should make sure that you always keep your elbows bent while you are reverse paddling, that way you will not hurt yourself. You should pull your paddle blade out of the water about when you are even with your knees in the kayak.

You can improve your reverse paddling power by reaching further behind your hips.

Finally, it's important to make sure that you are checking behind yourself and over your shoulder while you are reverse paddling. That way, you can make sure that you are not going to run into anything dangerous.

This stroke is even more important since some of the techniques that you will learn by working on it are important in order to learn the emergency stop technique.




Stopping your kayak suddenly requires practice as well.

When you are kayaking, stopping is one of the more difficult things that you can learn. While it is not always obvious as to why you will need this move, you should keep in mind that situations at sea can change rather rapidly. This is also the case in rivers or lakes. Also, since you are close to the water's surface, it is not always easy to see obstacles from far away.

Stopping suddenly requires that you know how to reverse paddle, since chances are good that if you need to stop suddenly to avoid some sort of obstacle, you will need to back away from it as well.

The stopping stroke, also known as the emergency stop can keep you from running into obstacles like tree stumps, rocks, and other kayakers. Therefore, you should definitely work on and learn this move before you go on any long kayaking expeditions.

When stopping, you should use the back side of your paddle blade like you would when you reverse paddle. Then, you should paddle forward with quick, short strokes. This will stop the kayak. If you're worried about the kayak turning from side to side, you can counteract this by using short strokes on either side of your kayak.

If you need extra help learning the emergency stop in your kayak, there are plenty of different kayak classes that will teach stopping as well as several other kayaking techniques. Once you learn the emergency stop, you'll be that much better prepared to deal with the dangers that will pop up when you're kayaking.


The forward sweep stroke


The forward sweep stroke will help you turn your kayak effectively.

While many new kayak models come with built in rudders, that is not the only, or the most effective way to turn your kayak. In fact, if you want your kayak to be as maneuverable as possible, you should practice strokes that will allow you to turn your kayak without using the rudder at all. Considering that it is always possible for something to go wrong with your rudder anyway, it's important that you know how to turn your kayak.

One of the best moves for learning how to turn your kayak is the forward sweep stroke. This move will turn your kayak. Since it is a turning move, you should be working on the power of the move, and find out just how far it is capable of turning your kayak after just one forward stroke.

Therefore, you should start out learning the forward sweep stroke while sitting in one place in your kayak. You should be able to turn your kayak in circles relatively easily using this stroke. After you've learned the techniques that you need in order to do the forward sweep stroke, you should work on doing it while you are actually moving. After all, that is when you are more likely to need this move.You should also consider that you will need more practice with the forward sweep stroke while moving than you would otherwise. With the extra practice, you'll be able to figure out just how strongly you have to paddle in order to turn your kayak as far as you want to.

The forward sweep stroke is similar to regular forward paddling in that the paddle should enter the water near your feet. However, it is different in that instead of paddling straight back, you should sweep the paddle out in a wide arc that ends up pointing near the back of your kayak. This should turn your kayak - but make sure that you pull the paddle blade out of the water before you hit the back of your kayak.

Once you learn the forward sweep stroke, you'll find that your ability to turn your kayak is improved immensely.


The reverse sweep stroke


The reverse sweep stroke is also highly important to learn in order to turn your kayak.

After you have mastered the forward sweep stroke, the reverse sweep stroke is another powerful turning move that you should consider learning in order to make your kayaking more effective. This stroke is also best learned while sitting still at first. However, once you have mastered the reverse sweep stroke, then you should practice doing it while moving, and also practice combinations of the forward and reverse sweep strokes.

Just as you would in a regular reverse stroke, you should have the paddle blade enter the water near your hips. Then, you should push the blade out in a wide arc and toward the bow of your kayak. Make sure that you are using the back of the kayak blade when you do this.

Like most other kayaking moves and strokes, you should also make sure that you are always keeping your arms slightly bent. This will help you have more control and power over the kayak paddle. You will also be able to prevent some injuries by paddling this way. If you're especially worried about injuries, you should also make sure that you are only holding onto the kayak paddle lightly. That way, you will not injure your wrists.

You should also make sure that the paddle is remaining low when you stroke - and also keep in mind that moves like the reverse sweep stroke require that you move your torso a lot. If you are not moving your torso when doing the reverse sweep stroke, then that means you have a little trouble with your technique and should work on improving it.

By doing the forward and the reverse sweep strokes together, you will be able to turn your kayak very quickly.


The draw stroke


The draw stroke is an effective method of pulling your kayak to the side without turning.

Once you've learned how to paddle forward and in reverse, you may want to learn the draw stroke. This stroke is also called "pulling" the kayak, and will help you to move from side to side in the kayak. This stroke is also somewhat more difficult than the regular forward and reverse strokes, so you may need to take some extra time to learn it.

This stroke is primarily useful for avoiding obstacles, though it is also useful for people who do whitewater kayaking so that they can make sure their kayak is properly lined up with the rapids.

First, you will need to turn your body a little bit toward the place you are planning on moving the kayak towards. Then, you should raise the arm that is farther away from that side of the kayak. You should reach as far away from your kayak as you can and put the paddle blade into the water. Then, pull the paddle closer to your kayak (you should be aiming somewhere between your hips and thighs.

You should keep in mind that when you are doing the draw stroke, you want to keep the kayak paddle as vertical as possible. That way, you will not be losing any power in the draw stroke.

Make sure that you also pull your paddle out of the water before you hit the kayak, as otherwise you may do some damage either to the kayak or to the paddle you are using. If you are noticing that the draw stroke is not working properly for you, then you should adjust your technique as needed until the kayak is pulling entirely in the direction that you want it to.


The sculling draw


The sculling draw is another effective sideways kayaking move.

After you have learned the draw stroke, you may want to also learn the sculling draw. The primary uses for this kayak stroke are so that you can move the kayak sideways for more than just one short stroke. In fact, the sculling draw is the best way to move your kayak from side to side continuously instead of stopping after each major stroke.

The sculling draw is important to learn as it will help you to move your kayak sideways without much trouble. This is also one of the hardest strokes to learn, just like the draw stroke. Therefore, you should be careful to make sure that you practice the sculling draw so that you'll be able to perform this move when you need it.

The first thing to remember when you are performing either the sculling draw or the draw stroke is that your kayak paddle should be as close to vertical as you can make it when you do the stroke. Something to keep in mind when you are learning and practicing the sculling draw is that there are a lot of differences that you can effect while you're paddling just by making slight changes in the way that you are holding the paddle and what direction the blade is pointing in the water.

The best way to learn this is to spend some time experimenting with the sculling draw. You should also make sure that you only do it a few inches away from your kayak so that you will have the maximum sideways movement with your kayak. You should always remember to be careful not to hit your kayak with the paddle, however, so you should not try to do the sculling draw within about six inches of the side of your kayak.

Once you've learned the draw stroke and the sculling draw, you'll be able to move your kayak from side to side and will be better able to align it to avoid obstacles.


The support/brace strokes


The support/brace strokes can help you avoid capsizing.

Another type of kayaking stroke that is often overlooked are the support/brace strokes. These strokes exist to help you gain some more control over your kayak if you are having trouble, or if you are in an area where the water has started to get rougher. Essentially, you should learn these strokes if you are going to be going on any major kayak tours. You can learn the strokes by practicing them often (usually in a pool or lake with smooth, calm water), or by taking a class that will teach kayaking basics.


While the support/brace strokes are important to keep you from capsizing, you should also make sure that you know what to do after you capsize. From the wet exit to several different roll moves, it's important to be prepared for the chances that your support strokes don't work to keep you upright.

However, while you should be able to learn the different moves after you capsize, the brace strokes will work most times. It's important to realize, however, that they are far more difficult than most other strokes to learn, so you will probably need to practice them far more than you would strokes like the forward or reverse strokes.

There are two basic support moves, the low brace and the high brace. You may not need to know how to do both strokes, however, you will always be better off if you know how to do both strokes. That way, if you're ever in a situation where one of them is not possible, you'll have a different technique that you can try instead.


The low support stroke


The low support stroke will help you maintain support while you're kayaking.

The first support or brace stroke that you should learn is the low support stroke. This is the easiest stroke for beginners to learn, so you should probably work on learning it first, before you start working on the high support stroke. There are a few skills that you should learn through this technique. First, you should gain the ability to sit your boat up and to bring your kayak back up to an upright position when it has only partially capsized.

You will probably learn the stroke while you're sitting still, but eventually you'll need to practice it when your kayak is moving through the water.

You will need to make sure that your legs are braced against the kayak. After all, if you are sliding around in the cockpit, your strokes will not be anywhere near as strong as they need to be. You will also have more trouble controlling your strokes and this will make it much harder for you to go where you want to when you're kayaking.

Next, use the back of your kayak paddle blade and try to keep the paddle as close to horizontal as you can. When your kayak starts to tip over, you should bring the tip of the paddle to the surface of the water and hold it there. This should keep you from tipping any further. However, if you want to bring your kayak back to a vertical position, you should pull your hips in closer to the paddle blade. This will make your kayak more stable, and bring it back to a completely upright position.

You should make sure that when you're using the low support stroke that you are not actually placing your weight on the kayak paddle, because that will only drive it into the water. However, you should use it for support when you bring yourself back upright using hip movements.


The high support stroke


The high support stroke is more difficult, but will also prevent capsizing.

The high support stroke is similar to the low stroke in that it will help you to maintain your stability and prevent capsizing while you are on the water. However, it requires a different technique and is likely a bit harder than the low support stroke. For this reason, while it is a good idea to learn both support strokes just in case they are needed, you will probably want to learn the low support stroke first. That way, you'll already know one of the strokes if you need it, and it will make it easier for you to learn the more difficult high support stroke.

Unlike the low stroke, the high support stroke will use the front or "face" of the paddle blade instead of the back. You should make sure that you keep your hands in the right position while you are working on the high support stroke, as well, otherwise you may find yourself dislocating a shoulder or getting another highly preventable injury.

You should hold the kayak paddle in a horizontal position at about shoulder height. Make sure that you keep your elbows under the paddle. Then, you should try to tip yourself over as though you're going to capsize.

As soon as the face of the kayak paddle hits the water, you should use the paddle for support and use your lower body to move yourself upright again. This is another place where the hip flick will come in handy - so if you have not learned that move yet, you should start learning it now.

While the high support stroke is more difficult than some other support strokes, it is highly useful to learn this stroke as well.


The low brace turn


The low brace turn is one of the best ways to turn the kayak while in motion.

One of the things you may find difficult when you're first learning how to kayak is turning the kayak. There are basically two things that you can always try when you're first learning how to kayak. First, some kayaks come with rudders built in, though this is not recommended, as you will not have as much control over where your kayak is going as you might. Next, there are the sweep strokes, but these are not always useful.

The low brace turn is a good stroke to learn if you are looking for something that is especially useful while your kayak is still in motion. This is also the type of turn that you will want to learn if you are planning on going kayaking in whitewater. One thing to keep in mind while you are doing the low brace turn is that you'll need to keep your elbow at an almost 90 degree angle with the paddle shaft. That way, you'll be able to keep yourself from getting any injuries when you're performing the low brace turn.

The first thing you need to do in order to work on learning this turn is to start kayaking forward. (Unlike most other kayaking strokes, the low brace turn has to be learned while you are in motion). Next, put the paddle blade flat on the water on the side of the kayak that you are trying to turn toward. This will both support your kayak, and it will also drag that side of the kayak around, turning you.

Something to keep in mind when you're performing the low brace turn is that it is very easy to slow your kayak down too far if you do not pick up the kayak paddle right after you have made the turn.


The stern rudder


The stern rudder is an easy to learn form of steering your kayak.

The stern rudder is a quick way to turn your kayak. However, like all of the turning moves that require you to place your paddle in the water, it can have a dragging effect, and may slow you down considerably if you are not careful. While this might not be such a big deal if you are just kayaking for fun, it might be a problem if you are in a race, or some other interesting situation while you're out at sea. The stern rudder is also a good turn for people who are going to be whitewater kayaking.

First, you need to make sure that your kayak is moving in a forward motion before you can learn how to do this move. Then, you should start out as though you are going to do a reverse sweep stroke. However, instead of sweeping the paddle out and to the side to turn the kayak, you'll end up keeping the paddle blade in the water near the stern of your boat. All you have to do to turn the boat is to use the paddle as a rudder at this point.

If you pull the kayak blade away from the back of your kayak, then you'll turn toward the side where you have the paddle in the water. If you push the blade closer to your kayak, then you should turn in the opposite direction. This stroke is more powerful if you are pushing away from your kayak, so you should always perform the stern rudder on the side of the kayak that you want to turn toward.


The bow/draw rudder


The bow/draw rudder is one of the hardest, but most efficient, kayaking strokes.

While the stern rudder will turn your boat by using your paddle as a rudder near the back of the kayak, you can also perform the bow/draw rudder instead. This is essentially the same move, however, it is performed in front of the kayak. You may only need to know one or the other kayaking move, however, it's always best to know several different techniques so that you will always have something else to try if you get in trouble.

This is one of the hardest strokes to learn if you are just starting out, which is why you should probably learn the stern rudder and other turning moves first. That way, if you are unable to perform the bow/draw rudder, you won't have any major problems on the water as a result of being unable to turn. The reason you should work on learning this stroke eventually, however, is that it is one of the most useful strokes that you will ever learn. Not only can the bow/draw rudder be used to turn the boat, but you can also use it to slow down your kayak.

This stroke starts out like the forward sweep, but instead of finishing the move, you should put the paddle into the water at about 45 degrees with the surface. The paddle should enter the water near your knees, and the front of the paddle blade should be facing toward the front of the kayak.

Next, you should pull the paddle toward your shins, and use trunk rotation to make your turn more powerful. This should slow down your kayak a little - and once you finish the bow/draw rudder, then you should complete the stroke as you would a forward sweep stroke. Since this is such a complicated kayaking move, don't be surprised if it takes you some extra work to get it right.


The bow rudder


The bow rudder is related to the bow/draw rudder, but it is slightly easier to perform.

If you have learned the bow/draw rudder, you may want to look into learning the bow rudder as well. This stroke is used for turning while you are moving in your kayak, just like the bow/draw. However, this stroke is mostly used in whitewater, so if you are not planning on going whitewater kayaking, then you probably do not need to spend your time learning this kayaking technique.

This stroke is a little bit easier than the bow/draw rudder, however, as, after you have put the paddle into the water as you would with the bow/draw stroke, you just keep it in one position for the bow rudder. This will allow you to turn the kayak easily, but you will not have to worry about learning how you are expected to move the kayak blade in the water.

One thing you should keep in mind is that just like the stern rudder or the bow/draw rudder, if you leave the paddle in the water too long for the bow rudder, then you may end up slowing down your kayak considerably.

If you are using the bow rudder and you find that it is not helping you to turn your kayak quickly enough, don't worry. It's relatively easy to switch over to the bow/draw rudder instead. In order to make this switch, all you have to do is to start moving your kayak paddle toward your shins. This stroke will speed up the turn that you are making with your kayak. The other thing to remember about the bow rudder is that the faster you are moving when you start, the more likely you'll be able to pull off this kayaking stroke.




Sculling for support will keep you upright if your kayak is at rest.

Even though you will probably learn several other strokes and kayaking moves that will help you to maintain your upright posture in your kayak, the more support strokes you know, the better. Another method that you can use to support your kayak is called sculling for support. Essentially what this entails is using paddle movements on the surface of the water in order to prevent your kayak from capsizing.

First, you should make sure that you are using the front side of the paddle. While this might not seem too important at first, keep in mind that the reason you want to use this side of the paddle is that it will definitely give you more support while you are sculling. You should also keep in mind that sculling for support is really only effective if the kayak is not in motion - if you are having trouble with support while your kayak is moving, then there are several other moves that you should learn as well.

Put the paddle flat on the surface of the water, and then try sculling for support by moving it back and forth. This will give your kayak some support and is very useful if you're in a situation with a lot of wind or high waves. You should make sure that you are holding the paddle shaft as close to the water as possible so that you don't end up slicing into the water.

One thing to keep in mind is that even though it might seem like you need to scull quickly to make sure that you don't capsize, sculling for support does not require fast, uncontrolled movements. In fact, sculling for support is much more successful when it is done with slow sweeping strokes.


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