Braces with video

-- Last Updated: Apr-19-13 10:47 AM EST --

How do my Braces look? should my paddle be behind me or more out the side? Am I doing this right?

elbows in, sit up
Your high braces are too high and too far behind you, in my opinion. That exposes your shoulder to injury. Keep that “wet-side” elbow tucked to your rib cage, and perform the brace while sitting upright, not lying on your back deck.

You don’t show low braces - I’d focus on those, as they are also useful, and safer. Best to go for a low brace if you can, and if you need a second try, you can go to a high brace.

I agree with Nate
You are reaching too far out and back which exposed the shoulder and if you miss will put you under your back deck. Keep the bracing arm out in front of you and elbow low. Keep that offside hand down near the coaming.

And, as you work on things, try more and more to brace either sitting upright or leaning forward a little bit – it’s a more aggressive position and when the brace fails, you aren’t out of position to go to the roll.

As a fellow big guy in a small boat, you are going to want to get used to having your weight shifted forward a lot of the time whether you are running easy creeky stuff or trying to play. Having your weight over your back deck is a defensive position and it will bite you in the @$$ in a lot of Class II+ and harder water.

The hip snap looks solid during your rolls. Only other thing I might suggest learning is to automatically go to a very low “high brace” as you sit up – on your right side, you’d crank your wrist back to set a climbing angle on the right blade and push forward with your body motion as you sit up. It squirrelly water, that is an effective roll to brace trasition.


braces different between white water and
Are braces different between white water and touring kayaks? Seems that white water folks do it similar to what the OP showed - bracing behind them. In touring, the brace is right next to you (see the videos at for examples). Is there a reason for this? Do the volume and distribution of white water boats require this?

Don’t lead with your head and shoulders
Don’t lead with your head and shoulders on your braces. Use the paddle for a little leverage, get your boat rolling back up underneath of you, bring your head and shoulders back over the boat last. Just like finishing a roll. It will make it much easier and more reliable.

Your brace is only as good as your roll
Your sweep roll works but it would be a good idea to master the c-c roll also. The c-c roll will put you in a better position for paddling aggressively. It will also give you a brace that will put you in a more aggressive position faster. The c-c is a difficult roll to learn but is well worth the effort.

I prefer this one …

I don’t think there is a fundamental difference b/w WW and sea kayak bracing and the way the sea kayaker in your video shows it seems to me puts a lot of stress on the shoulder. Notice how the guy in my WW video link puts his elbow in the water first…

You are getting bad advice.
The brace you are doing is the brace that matches the C to layback roll that Eric Jackson teaches (see his video). A brace that matches a C-to-C roll, the traditional “high brace” (shown in the video posted) does have potential shoulder problems if you extend the paddle. That is not true if you do a lay back hip snap since there is very little pressure on the paddle. However, since you apparently do a sweep roll you should match your brace to your roll. So learn to do a sweep (or sculling) brace in the high brace position, or learn to do a C to layback roll.

practicing a brace and doing an actual
brace are quite different. In my opinion its totally natural to practice bracing with the paddle behind you and the head coming up last- very similar head position to finshing a roll. If the goal is to immerse the head and still be able to brace up then your positioning works quite well since it approximates how you finish your roll. You can also practice sculling your paddle from front to back to front, while immersing your head before bracing up, just another way to practice. Actual bracing in ww involves reachiug for water in wide variety of positions to stabilize the boat and includes both high and low braces. For example on really big water I’ve even braced at head level. We should all practice bracing just like we do rolling. We’ll be better paddlers if we do so.

I’m jealous of your roll. It looks great.

everyone for the info. I’ll have to read this a couple of times. Low brace, I’m still working on. Not very good using that one yet. I do have a copy of Eric jackson’s video…