best way to learn a balance brace?

what is the best way of learning this???

other people???books???vid’s???

any good writeups???

anyone want to come to RI to teach me???looks great…

next skill that i really would like to learn…yes partly because it looks cool…i will admit…



Try this

– Last Updated: May-29-06 10:14 AM EST –

Can you work with someone to just help by standing in the water and helping to hold your boat? That would be the fastest way to get the feeling. After doing the appropriate reading videos etc to see how it should work, have someone hold the weight of your boat on its side so that you can gradually commit more to it without worrying about the boat falling over on you. And there are tips like putting your rearmost hand under the edge of the boat to enforce the arc in your back, and keeping the oher hand well out to get your shoulders flat to the water. And doing some yoga if the flexibility is a problem...

This assumes a couple of things. One is that the paddler can control the boat well with the lower body. That is, they can let it fall and lift it back again as needed while fully over on the side. If they can't do that, or need some work on the outfitting to so so, start there.

If they do have that control, and can't find a partner, it can be started by sticking a paddle float on the hand that would normally hold the paddle, and working in very shallow water to be able to push up to recover the boat's balance. That's actually how I got my left side, and I still go back and work with other objects than the paddle when I think things are slipping on the right. It allows you to focus on the body rather than trying to recover from an anxious moment by thrashing arond with the paddle, a normal instinct if it's in your haand and things start to go south.

By the way, you're right. It is way cool. And as long as your thighs aren't so beat you can't lift your boat, it's a halfway passage to something that looks like a more advanced roll.

2 pfds
put on 2 BIG pfds, lay on your back deck with your arms outstretched and 1/2 roll over keeping your lips near the surface.



You can try to learn this
technique with the help of a friend but it is much easier if you can get the assistance of a competent instructor who can help you with trying different body positions that will work for you and your kayak. Some kayaks do this technique almost by themselves and others are very difficult. Good luck.

Another vote for a competant instructor
There are no shortage of Greenland style “mentors” and qualified instructors. Learning to balance brace from a book or video is not impossible but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll fid success that way. Go to a Greenland event, meet other G-style paddlers who can turn you on to how to brace or who to talk to to learn.

Good luck

Practice, practice, practice
I like to practice. Last week I did a mile of leaning/bracing. I just paddled upriver and came back down leaning and bracing the entire way back.

Learning Balance Brace
An instructor is best, and the NE has the largest concentration of Greenland-style kayakers in the USA. The Delmarva Retreat, the largest G-style event in the USA, is fairly close to you and is coming up in October. More G-style events are listed on the Qajaq USA website.

Yes, you can learn from a written description. In my case I learned from trial and error after seeing a short video clip of a Greenlander performing this skill. That said, a good instructor can cut many hours of frustration from your efforts.

There’s been a ton of information posted about performing a balance brace (including specific how-to steps) on the Qajaq USA forum at . The concepts are simple, but need to be understood – as well as knowing that it will take practice to succeed. Do a search on balance brace at the link above and start there. One sample link is at . If you have problems, you can post either here or on the Qajaq USA forum for advice.

Greg Stamer

Always best with instructor…
However, it is easier than it might seem. It is particularly easy with a low volume boat with defined (hard or semi-hard) chines. I also find it is easier with a GP than Euro, but not significantly so.

Like so much else it is boat control. In this case keeping the boat tilted away from you with your lower body.

Balance or static brace is a good resting position and good exercise before rolling etc…

Much Easier With A Low Volume Boat…

Don’t know what you’re paddling for a long boat but it does make a difference, especially when starting out. Also makes a difference if you have a tuiliq on when learning. Once you get it down, you can pull it off without the tuiliq. However, I find I need the help of the additional floatation provided by the GP.

GStamer’s links/descriptions are basically what I went by to learn it.


thought of something else that might hel
get a cheater…for me that was a Wisper modified Dubside style…once you get the maneuvre in the cheater than transfer the knowledge/technique to your other boat…and maybe realize that some boats just wont allow some techniques.

Followup re Instructor
Reread this thread… and I have to agree that though it is a very simple move once you get it, an instructor will get you there faster. This is a move for which the smallest things about the boat hull, paddler position, flexibility and proportions can make huge differences. I am fairly flexible and learned it in a boat that really likes sitting on its side (Explorer LV), so had a much easier time than many once I was set up in the position to start with.

That said, it is also not so different from the position you are in to do a full-over-on-your-back scull. So, if you can do that now you’ll likely find it goes faster.

What Is?
a full over on your back skull?


Scull full over
Hmm - I have no idea if/what the name is for this. It’s just how I’ve come to scull these days, especially in spring when we get warm air/cold water combos where getting fully under the boat may send me for the ear plugs. This way I can get a cooler water around me without all the prep, and scull down to where my head is just under the water to cool rather than going all the way over.

Basically I mean doing a normal deliberative sculling stroke with blade or GP in a wide arc preferably just under the water (though you can get away with thrashing around in an undignified manner with a Euro blade), and the boat over on its side or nearly so. My torso is rotated so that my back is pretty much in the water (so the paddle is moving kinda above my head) and I am looking mostly upwards.

This puts me into a postion that is almost there to a balance brace. The boat is already being balanced by my lower body, so all I need to do to convert this into a full balance brace is stick my rearmost hand under the edge of the boat and stretch the other out holding the paddle to get the torso arch set and settle my shoulders more flatly against the water. The worst that happens is I sink for a moment as I stop paddling, but if I hold the position I’ll float right up again.

It’s easier to do this well in the Explorer LV than in the Vela - in the latter it takes more commitment to move from the scull into the balance brace and I am more likely to sink noticeably before coming up again. It’s just a matter of the shape of the hull, and the fact that the LV hull capacity is actually a little oversized for my weight so it’ll balance my torso weight easier.

OK- Thanks
I will try this sometime over the comming weekend. Similar to my attempts at a balance brace, which are not quite sucsessful yet. I am still having to skull slowly on the surface or I slowly sink.


Called an immersion scull
I was apprised by my husband that it is described in the stuff by Greg Stammer (nothing like checking links), and he calls it an immersion scull. I’ve also heard it called a wetback scull by another paddler, but that was a made-up name that I don’t think communicates in the larger world. (I like it tho’ - it’s very descriptive name)

Bracing In RI
Hi there, I am from little rhody, me and a few paddling buddies often head up to Lincoln Woods to practice rolls and bracing. I have developed a good brace, it has saved me many times, I use the method taught by Eric Jackson, he has a great DVD on the skill.

IF you want to join us some time let me know.

floating and balance bracing
I remember teaching a woman to roll. The paddle slipped away just beyond my reach so I let go of her for a second and reached for the paddle. She didn’t sink but just floated there on her back. Her PFD allowed her to float. She was short and small frame so the ratio of boyancy of her pfd to her upper body weight was highly in her favor. A big body builder type will sink like a stone.

If you can scull on your back slowly you are close. You have to arch your back and arch your head back forcing the boat back to it’s normal resting position as much as possible. I push it away with my foot that’s furthest away. If I start to sink, I arch harder, sometimes lowering my face under water. The “balance” in balance brace is getting the boat pulling back to it’s normal resting positon against your tendency to sink. If I still have problems, I will twist my body sidways in the cockpit before I scull down allowing me to arch back more fully.

Some big male upper body types will never be able to do it. Very wide boats can be problematic because the cockpit has distance on the sides. When the boat is on it’s side your body is pressing on the coaming forcing it to topple over on you. A narower boat will be easier because this won’t occur.

In salt water it’s noticably easier.

You can get started with a paddle float on your GP that you gradually deflate. Just avoid that tendency to lift your head.

Thanks Jay
I just realized that I had left out a couple of parts that Jay just filled in, one being that the scull has to be to the point that there is hardly anything on the blade to support you in order to transition to the BB. The other is that at my size and proportions it is a heck of a lot easier for me than for a big or very muscled guy. I suspect that my configuration would even allow me to do it with a lung full of air rather than the PFD in at least one of my boats, which a big guy probably couldn’t manage with a SOF and a tulik. Haven’t tried that though.


Greenland side scull
This a Greenland side scull. By definition it uses your immersed body AND immersed head (up to your face) for bouyancy. This is the skill that Greenlanders master first before learning to roll. A side scull and a balance brace are very closely linked. I posted an image and some thoughts on this at .

A video clip of a Greenland side scull is at (scroll down to Capsize Recovery Techniques).

Greg Stamer