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3 Tips to Improve Your Forward Stroke

Kayak Hipster demonstrates 3 things to try next time you're working on your forward stroke. The forward stroke is our main way of moving our kayak, so any little thing we can do to make it more efficient can help us in the long run. As we become more proficient and efficient in our strokes, we will be able to paddle further and longer with the same amount of energy.

Here's a quick one with three things to think about next time you're out paddling. So the forward stroke is one of those things that we think, okay, we got it. I think it's more of a lifelong commitment to having a better stroke because it's very easy to learn something new during a class and then over time, our body gets lazy. So we start using shortcuts and we start not doing some of those things that make our forward stroke more efficient. So here's three things to think about next time you are paddling that can make your forward stroke a little more efficient. Keep in mind that different paddles will have different techniques or strokes, and you might be doing a completely different stroke depending on the type of paddling you're doing.

In by your toes, out by the hips

The first thing to think about is where you are putting your blade in, and where you are taking it out. Are you reaching out by your toes and trying to bring the blade all the way to your hips? Or are you just bringing it in right by your knees and then trying to get a little bit of a push on every stroke? Just reaching by your toes and putting the blade in early will give your stroke more time through the water and make each one a bit more efficient. But then also, don't forget, don't let your blade make it all the way in the back of the kayak. You're not being that efficient once it goes past your hips.

Use your entire body

Second thing is using your entire body, using the core, driving with your legs, all this stuff. Once we're in the water and we're just having fun, it's very easy to just forget and go back to paddling with just our hands. So if you're doing a stretch of paddling, you're with friends, and you're paddling for the day, try to think about: Am I using my legs? Am I using my core? Am I using the rest of my body or just my arms? You don't have to be an Olympic paddler on every single stroke of your life. But you can try to incorporate as much of those things into your everyday paddling. So when you go into autopilot, let's say you're talking to a friend, you don't just lose that and start paddling with only your hands. It becomes part of your autopilot to go and use your entire body and use your legs and pump with your feet on those pegs and try to rotate in your seat for every stroke.

Let your kayak glide

The last thing is a lot of times we forget to let our kayak glide. You don't have to paddle absolutely nonstop. You can paddle, let it glide, paddle, let it glide, paddle, let it glide. That way, you're not wasting all that extra power on every single stroke. Once you get your kayak going, it'll glide for quite a bit so why not slow down your strokes so that you could be a bit more efficient. So if you let it glide, there might come a time when for every 10 strokes, you're really now doing only seven. You're able to save some of that energy in between each one of those strokes. Once you get the kayak going, see if you can cut out, maintain the same speed, but let the kayak do some of the work for you. Because once you're going, it'll glide. So give that a try and see if it works for you. So those are three things to think about next time you're paddling and you're working on your forward stroke.

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