Several years ago, when I took basic kayaking skills classes, we were taught to “draw to the hip” as follows
- Rotate to face the direction you want to travel - say 90 degrees to the boat.
- Stack the hands on the paddle
- Extend the paddle out, power face parallel to the boat
- Draw towards your hip, while raising that side of the boat some - edging away from the blade slightly
- Recover the stroke under water with the blade perpendicular to the boat and again draw towards the boat.
That has worked well for me
Recently, at a day of skills with a very experienced coach (both sea and whitewater) we were shown a different draw stroke - one which I had not seen before. It starts the same as listed above, with steps #1 and #2. However, the active part of the draw was much more dramatic and aggressive.
He had us edge the boat towards the paddle, lean far over (past the balance position) and draw hard with the onside arm right at the waterline - from hand to elbow. When the blade comes to the boat, you hip-snap back to a balanced position. It feels almost like a very deep high brace but one where you are not just bracing to recover, but drawing hard through the water towards the boat.
We did it stationary but also on the move. It took me a few tries to trust the support I was getting and truly commit to the off-balance position while drawing but the support is huge. I really liked this move. As for the application - It is not as smooth and elegant as the draw-to-the-chip I described first but if you really have to move over fast, it has some power to it.
I wonder if others have seen of used it, and if you think it could have come from the whitewater side of paddling?