What is a static brace turn?

-- Last Updated: May-15-16 11:04 PM EST --

I know what a static brace is, but can't figure out what a static brace turn would look like.

Saw the reference in an article about sea kayaking (using a Euro, not a GP).


Static brace or low brace?
There is a low brace turn, usually talked about using a Euro, that is a pretty boilerplate turn in sea kayaking. Sure it wasn’t a low brace turn you saw being talked about?

Now strictly speaking, if you go into or nearly into a static brace position with enough speed it is likely the boat will turn some. But I am not sure what real function would be served by combining a turning intention and a true static brace. You might be able to splash up a little spray and look cool if you got enough speed up.

Not low brace turn
Just learned how to do those (great fun) from Roger Schumann’s videos

It was a static brace turn listed in a class. Will have to see if I can find the site tomorrow. It wasn’t a Greenland site.

Axle or turning high brace? That’s what it would be called in a canoe. It is used to turn a boat in moving water or with good forward momentum. It starts with a static bow draw (or high brace) with a lean into the turn, that transitions into a bow draw and a C-stroke to maintain forward momentum. Another version is the post that leans the boat away from the turn. That would probably be more appropriate for long sea kayaks.

Just a guess - I’m an open boater.

Might be…

– Last Updated: May-16-16 8:52 AM EST –

somewhat similar to what is described below, and the static part is used to describe the moments where you are pivoting around a vertically placed paddle that is itself not being drawn in any direction. Essentially static.

Personally I have always heard that called a bow rudder. By the time you are well into a bow rudder the paddle is staying in the same place relative to the boat and it is the boat's impulsion that is making the turn. (It is also one of my favorite turns.)

Take a look at videos of the bow rudder, see how that compares to what whoever you work with is calling a static brace turn.

This might just be an attempt to add a descriptor for the fact that the paddle is not being drawn in any direction while you pivot around it. The same would be true for stages of a low brace or some other turns.

Found the link
No one in my area to work with so I use the Internet for resources. I had been looking for the cross bow rudder and came upon the following site.

No. 9 is what I’m curious about.

"Objectives: Learn to perform the following strokes and maneuvers with efficiency, fluidity and control.

  1. Forward stroke.
  2. Sweep stroke
  3. Reverse strokes
  4. Beam draw (In water recovery)
  5. Sculling draw
  6. Scull for support
  7. Low brace
  8. High brace
  9. Static brace turns
  10. Bow rudder
  11. Side slip (Hanging draw)
  12. Stern rudder"

    Link: http://www.seakayak.ws/kayak/kayak.nsf/0/A11D4B84F5C1982585256D3D0005BEFF

    Maybe it does mean high/low brace turns?

Just looked at the site and while the person who created it is very active, I did not see any indication of certs or training background in either BCU/PNA or the ACA. So I suspect that they put up a list amagalmated from these sources and in the process some personal terminology crept in. Bet it is the low brace turn because I don’t see that listed.

I would say

– Last Updated: May-16-16 9:34 AM EST –

It is a high brace turn of a kayak with forward momentum with the onside paddle blade placed closer to the mid point of the kayak than a bow rudder turn. I was taught to put my offside hand against my onside shoulder with the onside paddle blade extended toward the bow for a bow rudder. I was recently shown how to do essentially the same maneuver with a high brace close to the cockpit. This seemed to me a bit faster in turning my kayak. With your recent shoulder problem a bow rudder like I was first taught with your offside hand against your onside shoulder will provide less chance of hurting your offside shoulder than a high brace static turn. I am not an instructor so take that into consideration.

stray terminology
I think Celia nailed it.

A static high brace turn
With the boat edged offside and the imonside blade vertical in the water. It’s offside companion will be showering you

It’s initiated by s hard sweep offside and the brace accelerated the rotation

In a canoe it’s called a post and is very fast. Edge to the planted paddle side and it’s an axle/duffek used in river tripping

Kayaks of sea touring shape tend to respond better to posts as their sterns are skegged

Sounds a lot like a bow rudder turn…
or at least that’s what I call it in a sea kayak. Or am I missing a difference?

I tend to agree that this is probably a skill we’ve all learned by a different name. Looking at the list of skills on the website, all I can do is look for skills I learned and determine what might be missing by a process of elimination.

Not sure whether any of my turns/braces are exactly static as I seem to move and adjust my paddle frequently, though my low brace may be held in one place long enough to be considered static at times.


From what I’ve read, my understanding of a static brace is that your back and head are in the water and your lower arm is outstretched bracing off the paddle. I think it’s a pre-rolling exercise and couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to turn in that position, thus my confusion over the “stactic brace turn” terminology.

I’ve been practicing the low brace turn from Roger Schumann’s ACA strokes and maneuvers videos. For that turn, good hull speed is needed and I don’t see anything static about it.

A high brace isn’t in my vocabulary right now. It wasn’t taught at my L2 and it’s not something I want to try on my own.

If the author of that lesson list meant high/low brace turns, why not just call them what they are?

Castoff, we’re sort of on the same page with the bow rudder. The ACA standard is to submerge the blade near your foot. Almost tripped over the paddle a few times last year and found it hard on the shoulders back then. During a phone conversation with a BCU4* coach (he carved my GP), that topic came up and he suggested I plant the paddle near my knees. Worked like a charm and I can easily do them now on both sides with my Euro.

Words have meaning - most of the time.

My thought as well
Static brace is a lovely resting position as well as a rolling prep depending on the teaching style. It is also good for cooling off on a cold water/dry suit and sunny warm air day as well. But turning in it…? Hence my thought of powering into it, dropping over and sending up some impressive spray from your body. Probably would look cool but I have no earthly idea of any practical use for that combination.

From whence came my impression that the guy in the site you found has applied some of his own terminology to what others of us would recognize as a turn we have learned by another name.

bow rudder
Different kayaks seem to have a different pivot point, mine seems to be about at the knees also but I’ve paddled other kayaks where it wasn’t the same in relation to my body. One thing I like about kayaking is the differing variables one experiences from different boats.

I’ve always thought a bow rudder turn
To be placed with the paddle quite far forward

But try it as I described airhead a vertical paddle mid thigh

A high brace
is most simply described as a low brace that is performed with the power (front) side of the paddle.

The major difference is that turning the paddle face down means that your elbows are higher than they are in a low brace, and this is a critical difference because it potentially opens the shoulder to injury.

If you look at most pictures of paddlers performing a high brace, you will see the height of the elbows often reaches (or exceeds) the height of the shoulder. As the elbows rise up, the risk of shoulder injury goes up dramatically (the shoulder is a weak joint and the paddle face is holding back a LOT of force - considerably more than enough to dislocate a shoulder).

For this reason, there is a lot of instruction that does not include your basic high brace. I have found that, in some situations, a high brace is a perfectly effective skill, but I keep my fists below my eyes and my elbows directly below so that they remain near my hips.

In most situations, a low brace is sufficiently effective and it is, generally, a more versatile skill. Switching from a low brace, to a forward stroke, back stroke, or a stern rudder is quite easy. Conditions where I set up a high brace put so much stress on the paddle that altering to another paddle technique will probably cause a capsize (though canting the face of the paddle and pulling as stresses ease will rapidly turn the boat into, and beyond, the decaying wave).

Better paddlers than I NEVER use a high brace and are perfectly comfortable keeping the back of the blade on the water, even as the paddle approaches (or exceeds) perpendicular to the boat.

Short answer, if you can learn to do everything you need with a low brace, do so. It is considerably safer.


No, not way forward way I was taught
Paddle has to be pretty much vertical for a proper bow rudder. Can’t achieve that kind of verticality unless the paddler is well rotated and the paddle blade is around the knee or maybe even closer depending on the rocker in the boat. The position of the blade forward or back is somewhat different between various boats in the fleet, to best free up the stern to skid around. But the paddle isn’t in front of my knee in any of them.

This might be a slight change from older teaching for kayaks. But in general the power of a more vertical paddle and freeing the stern for things like turning is a big part of kayaking of the instruction I have received.