Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Forward Paddle Stroke for Propelling Your Kayak - Animation

Although the river provides much of our forward momentum, whitewater kayak paddlers need a powerful, efficient forward paddling stroke for navigating with the current, across the current or against the current at critical moments. The explosive power and high endurance paddling strokes needed for kayaking at a high level come from torso rotation.

A. Forward Paddle Stroke - from the kayaker's perspective.

Forward Stroke Animation 1 (opens in a new window).

1. 90 degree rule sets hand positions on the paddle; extend arms straight to form a strong paddler's box.

2. Tilt your paddler's box on its edge with your left hand as the top hand.

3. Rotate left and plant your vertical paddle completely in the water at the bow on the right.

4. Rotate torso to the right to power the paddle.

5. The forward stroke ends when the paddle blade reaches your hip.

B. Forward Paddle Stroke - from the river's perspective.

1. Animation 1 above was done from the kayaker's perspective, but what is really happening is seen from the river's perspective. When you "plant" your paddle blade in the water it stays fixed at that location. Your torso rotation actually moves your kayak ahead to the location where your paddle is "planted."

Forward Stroke Animation 2 (opens in a new window).

More about: Kayaking Techniques.

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