Kayak Clinic: How to Perfect Your Forward Stroke

Step 3: Power Phase

Start with arms and shoulders to initiate momentum, then use obliques to power the rotation while pulling your shoulder straight back (elbow will move slightly away from body). Finally, drive with the leg--same side as submerged blade--and feel as if your torso is rotating around the axis of your spine. This is a very short phase. Think about powering the boat past the paddle--do not "punch" the top hand.

Morel: Kayaking Safety

Step 4: Exit

Keep top elbow and wrist at chin level until blade exits water at waist. The opposite shoulder keeps rotating forward to set up for the next stroke.

paddling exit 

More: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Kayak

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About the Author

Stefani Jackenthal

Stefani Jackenthal is an adventure journalist and elite endurance racer who has competed and reported worldwide. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Outside, Conde' Nast Traveler, Marie Claire, Runner's World, Shape, Fitness and Women's Health, among others. Visit her site at www.stefjack.com.

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