If you need to learn the Forward Paddling Stroke to move the Kayak forward, it makes sense that you also need to know the Backward Paddling Stroke that will enable you to move backward when necessary, for instance, you will run into something or someone. Though this may be more difficult to get used to than the forward technique, practicing the backward stroke will greatly help your Paddling performance. It will also enhance your control over the Kayak.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
In this section, learn how to do the Backward Paddling Stroke and know some tips to keep in mind when doing this technique:
- Put The Blade in Water
Rotate your shoulders as far as you comfortably can to one side. Submerge the Kayaking Paddle blade in the water as far back as possible.
- Make Sure The Coast is Clear
Look over your shoulder and check if the coast is clear when you move backward.
- Push The Lower Blade Forward
Push the lower Kayak Paddle blade forward, extending your lower hand and bending your top hand.
- Make Lower Blade Reach The Feet
The stroke ends when the lower blade reaches your feet. Your lower arm should be straight at this point.
- Take the Blade out of Water & Repeat The Process
Take the blade out of the water. Rotate your body and do the stroke on the other side.
Do not forget to glance over your shoulder in between strokes to avoid crashing into something. It may help to have a reference point behind you so you will know that you are moving in a straight path.
Just like the Forward Paddling Stroke, the Backward Paddling Stroke is a continuous action. Make use of your body as you execute this reverse stroke to make it effective. Take time to practice and you will see the improvement in your overall Kayaking Skills.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.