How to do the Kayak Draw Stroke

Canoeing Draw Stroke. Photo Credit: Becky Mason

There are times when in a kayak when you will need to maneuver the boat sideways. Most people assume that this is an impossible maneuver. There is a kayak stroke however that is designed for this very purpose. Read the steps below and learn how to do the kayak draw stroke and amaze your friends as your kayak slides sideways in the water.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 5 – 10 minutes of practice each time

Here’s How:

  1. Position Your Body– Rotate your body completely sideways, facing the direction you wish to move the kayak. Be sure to maintain the paddler’s box, keeping your hands within the area marked off by your shoulders.
  2. The Setup – If you wish to “draw” the kayak to the right, reach the right paddle blade out from the hip and away from the kayak. Rotate the left hand up to just above eye level. Be sure to keep your body twisted all the way sideways. Your head and neck are still in line with your body but you are looking out to the right side of the kayak in this position.
  3. The Catch Phase of the Kayak Draw Stroke – Place the right paddle blade into the water as far away from the kayak as you can. The right paddle blade should be facing the side of the kayak. Your left hand should be about 6” from your forehead and just above your eyes.
  4. The Power Phase of the Kayak Draw Stroke – Pull the right blade in toward the kayak. This will create the “draw” motion and will serve to pull the kayak sideways toward the paddle blade. Bring the blade to within a couple of inches of the side of the kayak. As you get used to this motion you should also use your core body to pull your body to the paddle, thereby creating a scissor effect.
  5. The Recovery Phase of the Kayak Draw Stroke Option 1 – There are 2 ways to recover for your next draw. The beginner way to recover at this point is to rotate the paddle blade out of the water, slicing it out toward the stern of the kayak. You then go back to step 2 above and repeat the cycle.
  6. The Recovery Phase of the Draw Stroke Option 2 – The smoother way to recover is to leave the blade in the water and to rotate it forward so that the face of the blade is facing forward. You then slice the paddle out away from the boat. Once in position for the next stroke rotate the blade back so that the face of the blade is facing the side of the kayak. Return to step 3 above and repeat the cycle.