I know you experienced folks have this down pat and have developed your own unique paddling styles, but as a beginner (just had my first paddle trip to launch my second season of paddling) I am still very conscious of attempting to develop good habits for this “work horse” stroke. For the sake of discussion in this advice thread we are not talking about any type of racing or power stroke, but merely the forward stroke style techniques that one would use on an extended paddle trip.
Here’s what goes through my thought process (mental how to checklist) as I get in my boat and pick up the paddle:
- grip = relaxed with hands spaced just a tad wider than shoulders.
- posture = sitting up straight, but I do feel myself lean forward slightly on the catch.
- forward stroke = I’m able to keep a nice relaxed grip throughout. My top hand is usually open and I push away as I pull with my bottom hand. This seems to assist me with torso rotation and I find I have less than 85-90 degrees of elbow bend at the completion of the stroke.
OK, it’s not all about me!! Here is what I’d like to learn from you intermediate to experienced brothers and sisters:
- Am I on the right track here with my technique?
- Even as experienced paddlers, do you have one side that feels more natural than the other? (BTW, I’m hopelessly left handed and feel my technique is more natural when I’m executing the stroke on the left side of the boat).
- As intermediate to experienced paddlers, do some of you find even though you learned the basics, you have developed a foward stroke that may not be text book, but still have an efficient stroke that you can use mile after mile on an extended paddling trip?
- Do you ever see other experienced paddlers that may have a very unorthodox forward stroke style, but hey—it works??
- What are the most common mistakes that you notice as a paddler approaches that would clearly indicate that it’s a “newbie” and hasn’t developed a proper technique?
- Is there anything else I should be asking?
I have learned lots in this paddling forum and I want to offer a hearty THANK YOU to all that have taken the time to offer some really great advice and tips that foster my learning as a new kayaker.