[kaya-ooyook] 'He who rolls up with his paddle in his kayak after a capsize


Forward stroke with Greenland paddle

Although there are many sources explaining this paddle movement in detail, I won't make this effort.
I tried the Greenland paddle now for many thousand kilometers and grab the paddle at the shoulder joints between shaft and blade with three fingers on the blade and two on the shaft.
The blade is canted slightly so that the upper edge of the paddle blade is slightly for forward than the lower edge of the paddle blade.
Also the angle seen from the aft end looking to the bow is more or less 45 degrees, maybe a bit less.
I try to emerge the blade as far forward as possible, keep my hands low (although they start the movement almost at eye level) and use mostly my body rotation for power.

Half and Full sliding stroke,

paddle with stormpaddle
The sliding stroke means that you grab the shaft with one hand and the blade with the other so that the paddle is extended to the side you paddle on.
Then you change your grip and extend the paddle to the other side.
Half sliding stroke means that you grab the blade around 10-20cm from the shaft and the shaft around 10-20cm from the shoulder. The change same amount to the other side.
Full sliding stroke means that you grab the middle of the shaft with one hand and almost end of the paddle blade. Then fully change the grip so that the hand that was in the middle of the shaft now grabs the other paddle blade.
The sliding stroke is the only stroke that can be used with a storm paddle.
Half sliding stroke
Full sliding stroke

Racing stroke

The racing stroke can be used with the normal technique or the sliding stroke.
It just means that you have your paddle almost vertically as you would paddle with a modern wing paddle. The full blade is submerged in the water.
I find this stroke faster, but quite tiresome, so I only use for sprints on short distances.
Turning stroke
The turning stroke is done in a big half circle from bow to stern or backwards, as horizontal as possible and with fully submerged blade.
The advantage of the Greenland paddle is that you can extend the paddle all the way to one side thus increasing the effect.

Low brace

The low brace is a recovery stroke when you begin to loose your balance.
In normal style position rotate your wrists forward so that both paddle blades become parallel to the water surface.
Then, for a brace on the right side,  lift your right arm and place the right elbow over the paddle.
Also curve your upper body to the left, so that it forms the letter 'C' but mirrored.
In the brace push the right hand down into the water, rotate the kayak back under your body with your hips and snap your upper body to the right, so that it now forms the letter 'C'.
As the paddle blade is now deep in the water, do not lift your paddle blade up or you might capsize. Instead rotate your wrists back so that the paddle blades are vertical again and you can lift the blade out of the water with minimum resistance.

High brace

(see also  >Braces)
The high brace is a recovery stroke for any stage of capsizing. I also refer capsizing on one side and rolling up on the same side as being only a very high 'high brace'.
For a high brace rotate your wrists backwards, so that both paddle blades become parallel to the water surface.
Then, for a brace on the right side, lift your right arm and place the right elbow below the paddle.
When bracing on the water surface, you hang below the right paddle blade and rotate the kayak back under you with your hips.
This will become easier when you lie backwards as your weight gets closer to the rotational axis. Also you can move you hips more freely that way.
The brace is a single downward movement of the paddle blade and no sweep, but you can begin to learn from a sweeping movement.
Many schools, clubs or even associations do not teach the high brace as you can dislocate your shoulder when you do this wrong!
Therefore always remember that
  • - your arms are never fully extended,
  • - you do not reach behind you with the paddle blade and
  • - most important that the elbows are always kept below your shoulders!
High Brace into the water
High Brace as a sweep
Roll as a high 'high brace'

Once you can low and high brace without warning on both sides, you probably won't capsize in normal paddling conditions any more.
These techniques are more valuable than rolling with regard to your safety as you never know if your rolls will succeed.
Better not to have to roll unintentionally!
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