Canoeists: box stroke help

Came across this video about the box stroke. (2.09 on the video). After watching it a few times in slow motion, gave it a try.

What’s the secret to keep from traveling? I can pivot, but not without my kayak traveling.

Thanks for any advice!

I don’t kayak, only canoe but since you asked…it’s fairly simple to pivot if stroke contains NO forward component on the bow draw portion. It’s common for folks to reach forward to begin and then pull back toward themselves (even a little will do it) during the draw. Try to keep draw and pushaway (rear portion of stroke) perpendicular to the hull. Depending on trim you need to find the sweet spot for stoke placement (fore or aft) to negate forward movement. Heeling the hull to lift the stems if possible will help also. Sort of a “feel” thing that comes with practice.

Like Steve said the person in the video is pulling the paddle straight towards the boat a little in front of the center of rotation then slicing the blade parallel to the boat then pushing directly away from boat just behind the center of rotation. That kayak appears to have some rocker at both ends too since you can see that the ends are not disturbing the water at all.

Thanks. And yes, I think I was reaching forward. Sounds similar to finding the sweet spot for the hanging draw/sideslip, which I eventually did after considerable practice.

The box stroke is basically a lateral draw done in the bow quadrant, and a lateral pry done in the stern quadrant, linked by feathered recoveries rearward and forward. The draw in the bow quadrant will have the tendency to pull the boat toward the paddle side, in addition to pivoting it, and the stern pry will have the tendency to push the boat away from the paddle side, in addition to pivoting it. If these two components are done at equal distances from the center of the lateral line of resistance, the tendencies to push and pull the boat will balance out.

When you execute that bow draw and stern pry, you want to do them with equal force, and with the paddle shaft as vertical as practical so that the pull to the bow and push from the stern is done as perpendicular to the keel line of the boat as possible. If one stroke is done more as a lateral draw and the other a reverse sweep for example, they will not tend to balance out effectively. As has been said, the common tendency is to perform the stroke too far forward. As the stern pry becomes closer and closer to the pivot point, it will serve more to push the hull than it will to pivot the hull, and there will be some tendency for the boat to crab sideways in addition to spinning.

Another thing to watch is to make sure that your paddle blade is equally feathered for both the rearward and forward recovery. If you don’t have the paddle blade as fully feathered as it can be, it will have more tendency to either propel the boat forward or backwards as the case may be. Even a fully feathered paddle blade will have some tendency to propel the boat with an in water recovery. So you want to make sure that the feathered rearward and forward recoveries are executed with equal force and that the paddle blade is equally submersed for both, and that the recovery phases are done with equal paddle excursion, so that the tendency to push the boat forward or backward is balanced out.

Also, keep in mind that the so-called pivot point of the hull will not be in the same longitudinal location along the hull in stationary water, and when the kayak is moving forward or backward relative to the water.

and that pivot point varies from boat to boat
Often the stern pry conponent is weaker due to not beibg able to rotate the torso enough and because a kayaks stern is skegged
Symmetrically rockered canoes are easy in comparison

Terrific analysis, @pblanc and thanks for that reminder, @kayamedic.

Lots of things to think about but such challenges are a nice change of pace. I appreciate the good advice.