Hanging Draw

Can anyone give me tips on the hanging draw? I dont seem to be able to do it consistently. Most of the time I just spin in circles.

Do you keep ur paddle near the kayak or away?

Is it nearer the bow, center or stern?

Thanks in advance.

hanging draw
The key to the hanging draw is the placement of the blade at the pivot point of the boat. Usually this point is at the thigh just in front of the hip, although this varies from boat to boat. The way to find this point is to start by placing the blade in at the thigh perfectly neutral (no pitch on the blade so it slices cleanly through the water). Then open the blade slightly ( the leading edge or front slightly outward). If you start to turn (yaw)slide the blade towards the stern. I have included a short video as an illustration.

I hope it helps.



Hope this helps
Hi Ken,

The hanging draw can be a little tricky because it can be hard to find the sweet spot.

When I do it, I rotate my torso towards the side I want to draw (you should be able to drop your paddle without it hitting your kayak). I lower the same blade (as the side I’m drawing on) into the water so that the paddle is now vertical and the blade slicing through the water. Then I rotate the paddle shaft to open the leading edge of the blade.

Placement should be about 12 inches from the kayak and at the pivot point of your kayak. If you place it towards your bow, you will turn towards your drawing side (similar to a bow rudder). If you place it towards your stern you will turn aways from your drawing side (similar to the drawing part of a stern rudder).

Figure out which way you are turning when you do this and you should be able to change your placement to compensate. Or you can use those turns to your advantage if you need them.



Pic worth 1000 wds.
Thanks for the video!!!

Helped me understand the concept totally.

Here’s a video clip…
of a hanging draw. The good demo starts at about 40 seconds.


Hope this helps.


speed of boat changes center point
The “center of effort” of the kayak changes with respect to the speed of the boat. As the boat slows the bow lossens up too so for most need to plant the paddle in back of hip when moving fast and as boat slows move plant forward some.

Also, metaphor of motorcycle throttle useful, plant blade neutral and open it slowly and a little at a time otherwise only effect is to brake and turn the boat regardless of plant.

It also helps to edge the boat slightly because when moving forward the bow is more fixed like in thick gravy and the stern more like on marbles. A slight edge holds the stern a bit and the boat will slide over more equally. Every boat different experiment how your boat works.

handy way to learn

– Last Updated: Nov-17-05 10:24 AM EST –

is to induce a touch of YAW away from the intended slipside. Take your last stroke on the side you want to rudder on. YAW left/ slip right. It makes it a little easier to find the sweet spot.

btw- the name 'hanging draw' is a contradiction in terms. how can a draw (a dynamic stroke that pulls the boat sideways) hang without motion (or DRAW action)?? I like the term sideslip as the maneuver, hip rudder as the stroke.

when you get it wired on the 'draw' side try it on the 'pry' side of the blade. plant the blade at the pivot point and rudder the boat the opposite way using the backface and 'push'. this is when you know you understand the pivot point. I call this one the pryslip.



I assume
it works better in boats with more tracking like sea kayaks cos they dont turn and spin as easily?

Cos I usually see this done with a sea kayak and only a few times with a river kayak.

it’s a bit easier to maintain course in a tracking boat but any boat’ll do it.


Paddle Length
I really struggled with a clean hanging draw at first. Especially when slipping into it from a forward stroke. I use a Lendal kinetic blade and had a couple people suggest it may be the blade shape as well. A friend advised me to try a shorter paddle shaft. I went from a 215 to a 210 and it was almost miraculous. With the shorter shaft it was almost effortless to bring the blade into the “sweet spot” and send the boat gliding off. Not that that will work for everyone, but shaft length is certainly part of the equation as well, especially with the blended stroke.

Much harder in a WW boat
WW boats are designed to turn. If you paddle forward and let the boat glide it will turn almost immediately and with unpredictable direction. The faster you go the more spin momentum the boat develops. A hanging draw can be done but not without a lot of correction of paddle placement. But it doesn’t really matter since it is a useless stroke for WW. In current you want the boat to move in a controlled arc.

Use it lots for WW canoeing
Only we call it a side slip.

Use it to slip out of an eddy onto a wave without losing your bow angle. Use it going downstream to fine tune your position without changing your angle.

The sweet spot constantly changes with the current and your hull speed so you have to continuously adjust but once you get the feel it’s not hard.


what about the “new” duffek?
Isn’t the “new” duffek (currently being taught by EJ, Ken Whiting, Tyler Curtis, etc.) basically a whitewater hanging draw? The position is the same (forearm basically on the forehead, torso rotation, and vertical blade) and the resulting lateral movement of the kayak is the same as well. I absolutely love this move in whitewater as I can basically manuever around the river with hanging draws and pivot turns rather than sweep strokes. Also it’s great for quickly catching eddies.

If I understand you …
that draw stroke is not an open draw. The paddle blade is placed at the “sweet spot”, but is neither open nor closed. For example, the eddy turn that EJ talks about is a forward stroke placed across the eddy line blended into a normal static draw (parallel to the boat) with edging. Or did you have something else in mind?

yup, that’s the one…
Isn’t that a blended hanging draw? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the transition basically a forward stroke into a hanging draw to move sideways on the river and by edging the boat and slicing the draw toward the bow, the kayak eddies in which transitions into the forward stroke once more to complete a full eddy turn with a single stroke? I always assumed that that particular manuever originated in whitewater due to the slalom origins. Since I learned to use it in whitewater first, I was actually surprised to see that it is a common manuever in sea kayaking. (Unfortunately I can’t do it very well in a sea kayak using my Greenland paddle). Tom, I do get confused with the various manuevers and their respective names between the two paddling disciplines so if I’m off base here, let me know.

Asking Me for the correct terminology?

I can only repeat what I’ve heard.

As I recall in the Solo Playboating (OC1)vids with Kent Ford & Bob Foote et al they call it a side slip.

Hey a rose by any other name…

Speaking of which I always thought a Dufek was a static bow draw (turning stroke) into a forward stroke? Maybe that was an Old Dufek.


whoops you’re both Toms!
I was talking to Dr. Disco but your opinion is just as valid. Yes I believe that was the “old” or “classic” duffek but I’m totally the wrong person to verify this. I’m still a newbie at kayaking and I have no real sense (or appreciation) of its history yet.

I really like the lendal
kinetic! I had no problems side slipping with it. My white water lendal is the same, great surface to work with. I am however a little more handy with a flat water side slip with a GP.

A Duffek (sp?) is an open face, static bow draw that is blended (neutral to closed face to perpendicular) into a forward stroke. The compound stroke that EJ demonstrates for entering an eddy is a forward stroke that blends into a neutral static regular draw. That means the paddle ends up parallel to the boat near your butt and is not moved at that point. The advantage of EJ’s stroke is that you do not lose momentum and do not slip backwards out of the eddy. The Duffek keeps you in the eddy but requires additional forward strokes. EJ also does eddy exits with ferries with the same stroke.