A look at the basics

As a new kayaker, I thought this was very interesting and helpfull.

What do the more experienced folks think.


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Just one disagreement
The feather and control hand stuff. Most non-racing sea kayakers I know as well as instructors have dropped the construct of a one-sided control hand based on your paddle feather and have lost any dogma about the fethering. The control hand is the one that’s closest to the water, always, in this approach, so it switches side to side.

Other than that I thought it was good. But it’s still what it is - it isn’t going to give you the feeling of how to brace and control the boat nless you get wet.

Pretty good, although …
The advice to put the paddle in the setup position before capsizing is bad. It teaches people to roll when they should be bracing. EJ says a bit about this in his rolling and bracing video. When learning to roll, it is fine to set up and capsize backwards. When practicing rolling, always capsize in a realistic way (such as missing a brace).

How About The Paddle Float Re-Entry
In class, I was taught that the paddle sits behind the cockpit as shown, and my body is positioned between the paddle and the bow of the boat. In other words, the cockpit is in front of me, instead of the back deck as shown in the animation. Then, I launch myself towards the rear of the boat at about a 45 degree angle with the boat, not a 90 degree angle. Using a 90 degree angle, the boat is encouraged to roll, and possibly flip, while at 45 degrees, only half of the rotational force is encouraging the bost to flip.

What do you pros think about this?


But that’s not the biggest issue…

– Last Updated: Jan-22-08 4:49 PM EST –

I hadn't encountered exactly what you describe Lou, for the most part the paddle-float re-entry comes down a lot to boat and paddler specifics. I'll remember it next time I am practicing anything like that with the Vela though - the point about reducing the likelihood of flipping the boat by changing to that angle seems a good one.

Actually, the thing that I hadn't spotted until I looked just now was the "jumping up" idea. There is no mention of trying to get into a swimming position closer to the surface and pulling the boat under you as much or more than jumping up over it.

My guess is that either this site is entirely aimed at quite fit and lean men with good reach, or even the women in Norway are long armed and terribly buff.

Forward Stroke is Well Done
Wow, I was really impressed with their graphic display of the forward stroke. It was very well done.

I sometimes wished the little line drawing showing the paddler head on was bigger. This animation showed leg movement quite well.

I also like the first short animation in the forward stroke section. This shows the kayak moving forward while the paddle moved outward from the boat, not backwards. This gave me the same feeling I have while rotating my torso against a blade that feels fixed in the water, so all the force is directed toward pulling the boat forward.

I think overall the site is very well done.

whatever floats your boat
Rationale for behind the cockpit reentry

  • body mechanics makes it easier to grip paddle shaft: base of your palm lies on top of paddle shaft, fingers grip coming
  • smaller cockpits require legs first reentry, behind the cockpit makes it a bit more expedient
  • center is more buoyant than the stern - getting on the back deck might be easier for some folks

This site was discussed at some length…
…on NSPN back in September, including a contribution by the site’s creator…


Very interesting stuff.



Great Intro
To a lot of the concepts in a highly visible form.

I learned quite a few things I don’t need to know, but might someday (SOT guy here).

Much better than stick drawings and inarticulate descriptions of what a high brace is.


Check Out The Foot Position
Hey Celia,

It looks to me like the animated person actually has one foot semi-locked on the paddle and appears to tip the boat towards the paddle float. Perhaps this is a variation that involves tipping towards the float to avoid flipping the boat and using the footlocked on the paddle as leverage to get the belly on the back deck. Or, it could be a wrong demo of the technique.

If I get some pool sessions in soon, I’ll give it a try also.