@2018 Robert Aylesworth

bobaylesworthoutdoors@gmail.com             WIndsor, Ontario Canada

Basic Paddles Strokes

To move your boat through the water you just put your paddle in the water and push.

Although that might be true, there is a whole lot more that can be said.

How to hold your paddle.

This video by Mike Aronoff also covers the names of various paddle parts and some differences between paddles. Many of you know that I use bent shaft paddles to protect my wrists. This may not be as important an issue for you.

Mike also discusses using a feathered (or "offset") blades versus unfeathered. I strongly encourage my students start with flat blades. Some students who have insisted on feathering their blades have developed issues after a few days of constant paddling.

Another issue that I like to introduce early is the importance of keeping a loose grip on the shaft.

Click on the "YouTube" to enlarge.

Moving Sideways - Draw Stroke

Most kayaks are designed to move forward much easier than sideways. But sometimes we need to move to the side just a little bit. Learning to do a powerful draw stoke will save you a lot of bother twisting around and moving back and forth.

This video demonstrates two types of draw stroke. The first is the `in water recovery` and the second is the `sculling draw`. You only really need to know one of these, but I encourage people to try both to decide which works best for them.

ORCKA Safe Kayaking Part 3

This is the third part oft eh ORCKA video. It covers paddling forwards and backwards, turning your boat and paddling straight.

It shows techniques appropriate to our Safe Kayaking or Flatwater A courses. Unfortunately it does not spend enough time on rudders or skegs.

Rudders and Skegs

In most of our courses we emphasis controlling your boat without using rudder or skeg. That does not mean that these are very useful devices.

This is a good introduction to rudders and skegs. I like that they emphasis that these devices are more about going straight than turning. In fact, when they are deployed they may actually make it harder to turn your kayak.

The Forward Stroke


We spend most of our time moving our kayak forward. Seems simple, but anything we do this much needs to be carefully analyzed and constantly improved.

To the left is a great demonstration by Mike Aronoff of a good touring stroke. If you are planning to  paddle for an hour or more at a time you will want to learn how to produce power without exhausting your self or causing injury.

The video on the right shows more detail on how to improve your stroke and an explanation of the difference between a high and low angle stroke.

How To Steer Your Kayak

So now that you can move your boat, lets talk about controlling where we are going.

In this video Mike Aronoff shows how to keep your hips loose and then demonstrates what we call a pivot by using forward and reverse sweep stokes on opposite sides of the boat.

He also shows how a forward sweep can be used while paddling forward to turn the boat away from the paddle.

How To Paddle Your Kayak

This is a pretty good overview of the basic strokes. Some of the techniques are not exactly as I would teach, but he is using some rugged recreational equipment that will tolerate some abuse.