High-Angle Forward Stroke in Kayaking

High-Angle Forward Stroke in Kayaking

The search for the “perfect” forward stroke is something that paddlers spend their whole careers doing. But even if you’re not a pro, it’s never too late to upgrade your technique and get more distance out of every trip! Mastering the perfect forward stroke is easier said than done. Sometimes even the most experienced paddlers have to spend their entire kayaking career to master it. In order to get the hang of this forward stroke, you will have to focus on two core areas and they are kinesiology and biomechanics.

When the wind is too much to take on a long race, high-angle strokes are perfect. They allow you to get somewhere fast without sacrificing efficiency and power in your stroke because they don’t have as much effort going into each push! For casual touring where speed isn’t an issue but getting back onto shore still matters – this powerful sprinting motion will make sure that not one second goes wasted while making progress towards safety. The best thing about this High Angle Forward Stroke is that the power of this stroke can be dialed down while making zero sacrifice on the efficiency front.

Get Started

It is important that you maintain an upright posture. To draw more power from the rotation of the torse, you need to make sure that the upper body is slanted slightly.

Wind Up

First you need to stretch your hands forth and they should always stay at shoulder height. Next you need to move your body along with the left shoulder forward. The idea is to coiling up the torse to mimic the body posture of a pitcher who is planning to unleash a fastball. It is important to push off your right foot brace while doing this.


While your upper body is still in that coiled position, you need to spear the left paddle into the water as far as possible. But make sure that you are not changing the position of your body while doing so.


Now, it is time unroll your coiled up torse by pulling the left blade back to its former position and by pushing out left foot brace at the same time. Use your right hand to push the kayak forward. Your right hand should always stay in upright position. It should be held high. While making forward stroke, the hand should be kept below the forehead and above the chin. Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle at all time.


Next you need to untwist your coiled torso so that your left hand can reach your hip. Now, take the blade out from the water gracefully. Keep in mind not to bend the elbow while doing so. Now you need to make your upper body move to the right side.

Wind-Up On Right

Again, it is time to move your right shoulder forward. Prepare to plant your right blade and push off your right foot brace by rotating your right shoulder forward and shining your belly button light at ten o’clock.

Posted by
Arthur G. Moore

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.

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