Forward Stroke

The forward stroke is the skill you will use most frequently when sea-kayaking. A good technique is essential for injury prevention, endurance, power and speed. 

The key to the forward stroke is using the bigger muscles of the back, stomach, shoulders and legs, rather than relying on the arms. Good rotation provides the power for the stroke.

A good forward technique can make an enormous difference to how much you enjoy your paddling, and how your body feels at the end of the day!

Posture Technique  Tips Common Mistakes


  • Check that your top hand crosses the horizon at a constant height rather than dropping towards the deck.
  • After paddling for a while, check that you are still sitting tall.
  • If there is a splash when the paddle enters the water the paddle is probably too horizontal on entry. This may be because the paddle is too long or your hands too low.
  • Focus on one aspect of the stoke at a time as you are out paddling e.g. Are my shoulders relaxed?  Is my top hand crossing at eye height?  Am I sitting straight?  Can I feel the catch?  Are my hips rotating? .....     

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