Static brace with euro paddle?

I was trying to do a static brace this afternoon with my old-school WW boat and euro/WW paddle.

I was sort of able to brace for a few seconds after a wet re-entry, but the paddle kept sinking.

I was entirely unsuccessful with a dry cockpit, the paddle just didn’t want to stay on the surface.

Now I’m sure most of my problems were related to not actually knowing how to do a static brace, but is it even possible with a euro, or do you need the extra flotation of a GP?

Depends on the boat
not to mention the paddler. Yesterday I was in a Dagger RPM Max and could static brace it with a WW paddle - no sweat. I can do it in the Explorer I just got with a GP - will try it tomorrow with a Euro and see what happens. The rounder hull of the Valley Aquanaut/Avocet I find harder to brace successfully.

I suspect it makes a lot of difference how flexible you are, your sex, height, etc. I’m male and tall, which may have some disadvantage.

Back to the boat - some boats sit on the side nicely for me - others sink me. I expect that few people use this as a criteria for boat choice, but it sure figures in for me.


Body type and boat
If you are really solid in a static brace, the balance point is between your body and your boat. The paddle is just there for decoration until you slide up and need to actually start moving the boat. That said, when first learning the static brace there is usually an amount of time where you are depending a bit on the paddle for support while in it as well as going up and down. During that time, the GP tends to be more effective than a Euro because it requires less management. If the paddle matters to a high degree, it probably means you haven’t quite found that balance point yet.

The biggest single factor seems to ne flexibility and body type. If you have a lighter weight torso and a less than scrawny posterior (like me) it’s easier than if you have a lot of weight in your torso, and if you can’t get really rotated and arch your back it’ll be harder.

And yeah, there are boats in which I am more challenged to do a static brace - for example my Vela is fussier than my Explorer or either of my WW boats - because the boat has to be pushed well away from me to find that balance point. It takes more flexibility, and in my mid-fifties there are days that this just isn’t going to happen, at least without some nasty payback later.

Body and boat
Yes one can static brace using a Euro paddle. I find it easier with a GP but the paddle is of less significance than the boat, which is of less significance than the paddler’s body flexibility and skill.

The balance brace has more
to do with body technique than the paddle. Once you learn the technique you can do it without a paddle in a kayak that will let you. The buoyancy of the greenland paddle helps you learn the technique and certain kayaks do it very easily and others will not do it. You can use a paddle float to help you learn the proper body technique and then try letting go of the float when you think you can. Arch the back, raise the inside knee and push with outside foot. Good luck.

More body than blade
As others have said, easier in some boats than others. Low volume boats are easier and anything where the coaming is lower than your hip bone is easier.

The “trick” is really what you are doing inside the boat. The top leg does nothing when you are lying in the water, it should drop out of the thigh braces and lie on your other leg. The bottom leg should be pulling up from the thigh/knee and you should be lying in the water with your face AND shoulders towards the sky.

Try the position on dry land - lie on the floor now and have your right leg out perpendicular to you in paddling position and your shoulders on the ground. If you can do on land, you can do on water. If not, you will have a hard time of it on the water. You can have someone help by holding your right leg above the knee to keep it in place while you try and rotate the left shoulder flat on the floor.

Some people are more flexible than others and some can not actually do this and they end up with a shoulder lower in the water than the other shoulder. When this happens, you usually need to rely on the blade to keep you up and then it is no longer a static brace.


foam core blades
if your paddle has these it will help tremendously with the bouyancy issue.

i was taught that the upper leg should
push a bit outwards…trying to help rotate the boat more under you…


granted i did not achieve the brace no matter how hard herr instructor tried :frowning:


– Last Updated: Jun-19-07 8:39 AM EST –

The balance brace was invented by the inuits who did it with a tulek on that has an enormous amout of air in it. They would have the paddle positioned under their head for additional boyancy.

Just remember that the reason it's called a balance brace is because you are trying to kick the boat back to it normal floating position while you are in the water. If you were made of rubber, you would lay in the water and the boat would stay how it normally floats.

So with the pfd on, the flotation of the paddle in the water, bending and arching back with your head in the water and the boat trying to flop back to it's floating position you achieve balance. Hopefully.

top leg doing

Try it both ways on dry land and you will find which is more effective. If you relax the top leg, you are able to pull up more effectively on the bottom.

I don’t think I can push away with the top leg at the same time as pulling on the bottom leg. It might be like that old game where you tap on your head and rub your tummy in circles which some people are better at than others.


going to have to try it on land…

– Last Updated: Jun-19-07 10:29 AM EST –

had never thought of that since i was not die-hard trying to learn it....
Hugh (from your neck of the woods) was trying to get me to do it in a pool this winter....had never thought about it before....
rob-who is good at that old tummy rub game-til you ask him a question....oops...

In the water, I could show you in
in a few simple steps. Online, however, I’ll probably confuse the heck out of you.

As posted above, I let go of my paddle all together. Can do it in my Inazone ww boat while floating the pools between the ww rapids. Its not difficult, its just understanding what to do and comitting to the manuever. Nothing overly special. Just kinda fun. Nice way to cool off.

When you swing a baseball bat, at the point of contact with the ball the batter will “roll” his wrists. This is also the point of clarification for a “strike” if the batter did indeed roll his wrists, or a “check swing” if the wrists were not rolled yet when the batter held up and reversed his swing.

Thinking now in terms of the eskimo roll. Eskimo (you, in this case) is in the first “C” of the C2C roll position, which is upside down, head looking up toward the surface of the water. Now take only the first step, hip snap. Complete only your hipsnap, then freeze, head still looking upward (meaning no head dink yet.) This is the ending point for the static brace. If you try it, and commit to it, you will slowly float your face thru the surface of the water.

Starting from the upright position, think of it like the baseball swing, capsize but never roll your hips, kind of hold them in the ending hipsnap position. Use your hips to hold the boat as upright as posible.

Think of a big arch form you but to your shoulders, arching the rest of yuor torso over the cockpit coaming of you boat.

You’ll get it soon. Good luck

Me too

– Last Updated: Jun-19-07 3:34 PM EST –

I do it like you. I push with my furthest foot, pushing the boat back towards it's normal floating positon.

Try it in 6" of water. Lay in the sand and try pushing the boat away and back to its floating position. Arch your head back with the water level right across your face. It helps to wear a mask so you can even try arching your head underwater. One thing I do if I'm haveing trouble is twist my body in the boat first so I am entering the water on my back not my side. In the shallows you can slowly work your way out to deeper water and it makes trying it easier. You can also try it with a paddle float and slowly deflate it to teach yourself.

All that said, some people will never balance brace a boat. If you're a really big upper body type and or tall too. Just too much weight to balance out the forces. Some small light people can lay and float on the water with a pfd on doing absolutely nothing.

I have one boat I can only balance brace in salt water. In fresh I slowly sink no matter what I do. I usually do a tiny sculling motion with the GP every few seconds and I can stay up. Or if I don't breathe and hold my lungs full of air.

Furthest foot?
Jay- I’m not sure what you mean by the furthest foot.

The leg I drop is what I call the dry leg - the one furthest from the water. The wet leg - the one in the water if the boat wasn’t there, is the one that is pulling up.

Once you are laying in the water - back arched etc… there should be only one leg doing anything - the wet leg.

The upper leg, dry leg - if it is trying to do anything or being actively kept in the braces and on the foot pegs, you will likely see a kayak that eventually starts to roll over towards the body in the water.

One way to roll back up, you would need to put the dry leg back in the braces, recock your body by allowing the boat to roll back upside down and hip snap up.


push or pull - if it works it works.

– Last Updated: Jun-19-07 4:01 PM EST –

I do it the same way Corgamas was taught. If I'm on my back on the right side of the kayak, I push the foot peg with my left foot. The left side (high side) is toppling over on you and you would want to push it away. All of my paddling companions do that too. The fact that you pull up is interesting. I never heard of that and you must be quite flexable. I never assume any way is right or wrong. I'll give your method a try.

not sure who taught me
I’m not even sure who taught me that way… maybe Cheri, maybe Jed…


Cheri taught me to roll
17 years ago. GPs were’nt invented yet.

Some kayaks
need the dry leg to push while the wet leg pulls up and other kayaks you don’t need the dry leg to do anything and you can just let it drop. Every kayak is a little bit different so try not to get too stuck on that just one technique is the only one.