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Kayak Corrective Paddle Stroke Tips

Forward paddling, that's your powerful straight line paddling, but your kayak really wants to go in a straight line. Slightest bit of wind, slightest wave action is going to put it off course. So I'm going to look at ways that you can make your kayak go where you want it to go in a straight line when you're being pushed off.

The forward paddle stroke comes into this area and finishes round about when it reaches the front of your cockpit. But generally when you're paddling forwards, you have high pressure on the bow and low pressure at the stern. So your stern is pushed aside far more readily by the wind than your bow is. So if the wind is coming from my back, there's a tendency for my kayak to turn up to point into the wind, and it's the stern being blown sideways that makes it go in that direction.

So at the end of my paddle stroke I can take the paddle in a neutral position from here with no pressure on either of the blade until it is behind me. I drop my elbow to my hip, which aligns the power face of the blade towards the water, and I push lightly across my body with my top hand. And that light pressure is enough to draw the blade through the water, sideways and bring the stern around.

Once more: that action is forward stroke, slice away at the end of the forward stroke and bring my elbow to my hip to align the power face down. Light pressure across my body to maintain that position and the boat and the paddle move together in that direction, to point my bow where I want it to go.

So that's adjusting from the stern. 


The video clip shown above is a segment taken from the DVD: "Nigel Foster's Sea Kayaking: Volume #5 Forward Paddling."

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