Reverse Paddling: A Possible New Way to Teach It?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Watch this video that was just recently posted on the Youtube.

This is the first time I've seen somebody demonstrate a reverse stroke that starts off with first pushing down on the paddle at the surface of the water then rotate the blade while pushing the paddle forward.

In my head this looks like a really inefficient stroke as it requires you to change the direction of the force throughout the stroke by first pushing down then forward towards the bow. I always picture a stroke works by grabbing a pocket of water and pulling it through the water. By rotating that paddle 1/2 way through, it allows the water to "fall off" the blade during the rotation.

The demonstration also seems to imply that you should also reach far back placing the paddle in the water way behind your hips then push forward. In my experience reaching far back like that can leave your shoulders in a good position for injury. I've always explained it to the students that while you can reach a bit behind your hips to start; most of the power transfer takes place when the paddle is ahead of your hips so it doesn’t make sense to reach way far back. It also keeps those vulnerable shoulders in a better position from injury.

I'm always open to new ideas and new ways of teaching so I don't want to automatically write it off so I was wondering if somebody can explain to me how this method of reverse paddling is better or different.


David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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