Navigating the waterways on a kayak is as much about mastering technique as it is about embracing the flow. And among the nuanced strokes that every seasoned kayaker should have in their repertoire, the high brace lean turn stands out. Let me break it down for you from the eyes of someone who’s felt the water’s resistance and the exhilaration of a sharp, smooth turn.
The high brace lean turn is like merging a graceful dance and a biker’s precise cornering. The crux? Melding the high brace with a deliberate boat tilt for that impeccable turn. The high brace plays the supporting role as you lean into the turn, reminiscent of a biker leaning into a bend. Sure, it’s a blast on placid waters, but this stroke truly showcases its finesse when contending with the eddies born from vigorous currents.
Now, if you’re looking to nail this move, momentum’s your best ally. So, push on and gather a strong forward speed. Setting your turn in motion begins with a deliberate forward sweep on the opposing side. Once that’s in play, extend your high brace laterally, anchoring it slightly past your hip. The secret sauce? Keeping that supporting blade at a climbing angle throughout your turn. This ensures a consistent support from your blade and accentuates the kayak’s pivot as it pushes ahead. Your wrists play a pivotal role, cocking backward, opening the blade’s power face to embrace the oncoming water, allowing it to gracefully skim the water’s surface. And a pro-tip: keep those arms snug to your torso and that top hand low, akin to the playful ‘nose pick’ stance. It’s not just for aesthetics – it safeguards those shoulders.
To elevate that turn, give your kayak a deliberate edge. As your blade digs in for the turn, tilt and roll your kayak with finesse. Envision rolling onto your turning side’s butt cheek, hoisting the opposite knee, all while keeping your head aligned with the kayak’s center and relying subtly on your high brace for that crucial support. The beauty is in the tilt; it amplifies the turn’s potency. And remember, the bolder your edge, the sharper the turn.
But here’s something essential: the strength of your brace is inextricably linked to your relative motion against the water. As your speed tapers through the turn, the brace’s support diminishes. The key then is to gradually flatten your kayak as you decelerate and stabilize. And to cap off that perfect high brace lean turn? Gracefully glide your support blade towards your toes and let it transition, without missing a beat, into a forward stroke. It’s not just about the turn; it’s about seamlessly propelling yourself onward. Welcome to the dance of kayaking.