Paddling Technique

Sitting Position

  • Sit straight forward – the contour of the boat will force you to sit on an angle (no more than 10 degrees)
  • Hip up against the side of the boat
  • Outside leg out in front – if possible foot flat up against footrest
  • Inside leg underneath you – knee pointing to the front of the boat (not on an angle)
  • Do not let your knee rest on the side of the boat

Holding the Paddle

  • Inside hand over the top of the handle
  • Outside hand, 1 to 1 ½ hand grips up from the bottom of the shaft   

Arms & Shoulders

  • At the start of the stroke “are you ready” the outside arm should be straight – lock elbow and wrist
  • At the start of the stroke inside hand should touch your cap or forehead and keep the inside elbow up
  • Keep shoulders straight and open chest  


  • With paddle in position (as above) rotate from hips – keep head up and watch strokes

The Catch

  • Drive the blade into the water at an angle of 45 degrees using the inside hand/arm to drive with power  


  • Pull the paddle with power (but do not begin to pull until the blade is in the water) rotate from the waist and extend the outside shoulder (keep open chest) use leg drive, make sure the outside hand gets wet, the outside arm stays straight, and inside hand (top hand) keep over the gunwale, sit up at the end of the stroke


  • Start to pull the blade out at your knee - by the time it gets to your hip it should be out of the water.   DO NOT GO PAST YOUR HIP


  • Return to the start of the stroke and do it all over again


  • Good timing will always be an important goal. Timing is taken by watching the strokes at the front of the boat.