Reverse Stroke

Reverse strokes are used to propel the kayak backwards. This skill is useful to get away from hazards, into and out of narrow creeks, sea-caves, gauntlets, or in rescues. 

Technique Tips Safety  Common mistakes Practice drills

Technique Setup

  • Maintain normal hand position. 
  • Place the back of the blade on the water as far back as your torso rotation allows (keeping your elbow tucked into your hip to protect your shoulder).
  • Keep your paddle shaft almost parallel with the kayak - you achieve this by torso rotation. 


  • Fully immerse the blade and bring the paddle forward by unwinding your torso. 
  • The path of the blade runs almost parallel to the kayak, instead of sweeping. 


  • Pull the working blade out of the water when the working hand is about mid-way between your knee and foot.
  • Repeat the stroke on the other side. 
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