Ski Paddling Skills and Techniques
Efficient, correct technique needs to be taught from the beginning. The stroke is divided into four phases catch, pull, exit and recovery.
- The blade entry angle at the catch should be 48 to 53 degrees.
- The blade should be square, not open or closed.
- The top hand should be between the shoulder and the top of the head.
- Body position is with shoulders in front of the hips.
- Body rotation (twist) should be from the waist.
- Keep the blade/shaft in a perpendicular (vertical) position for
as long as possible.
- Keep the angle of the top arm the same without pushing, but maintaining
a downward pressure on the shaft.
- Controlled leg drive.
- Controlled buttock and hip movement.
- Symmetrical (equal to and fro) body rotation.
- The pulling hand should not travel past the hip.
- Exit range is between mid thigh and the front of the hip.
- The blade/shaft angle should be approximately 45 degrees.
- The blade should exit with the outside edge being as close to
vertical as possible.
- The hand should come up to head height quickly.
- There should be a slight pause to allow the kayak to run and to
achieve effective set up for the next stroke.
- The elbow should not go above shoulder height.
- The top hand should come across in front of the face.
Board Paddling Skills and Techniques
The knee paddling stroke can be broken down into five phases - reach, catch, pull, release, recovery.
- Reach out and take a full stroke.
- The arms should extend to the maximum.
- Look forward and keep the head and chest close to the hoard,
your butt should be up.
- Not fully extending arms
- Keeping head and chest too high.
- Looking down instead of forward.
- Sitting back with your butt on your legs.
- There should be a feeling that your hands have caught something
solid as they enter the water and you are pulling the board over
- Propulsive force on the hands should go from zero to maximum
- Keep your hands relaxed and you should feel the water on your
- Maximum power is not applied.
- You don’t feel the solid grip of the water on your hands.
- The hands are driven deep and the arms are buried up to the elbow.
- Maintain an even pressure with maximum power.
- The hands should travel parallel to the centerline of the board.
- Chin and chest remain close to the board with your butt up.
- Do not lift or throw the water.
- Not burying arms deep enough.
- Allowing the head and shoulders to move up and down. This causes
the board to hobby horse and slows you down.
- Hands not traveling parallel to the centerline of the board.
- Not taking a full stroke.
- Do not lift or throw water back as it wastes energy.
- The exit should be quick and smooth to eliminate any drag.
- Throwing or lifting water
- Hand exit is not smooth and quick.
- The elbow is bent and high.
- The hands are close to the surface of the water and close to
- The hands are relaxed and they move straight forward.
- Look straight forward and keep the head and shoulders close to
- This keeps the board on a smooth even glide.
- Keep your movements relaxes, easy and smooth.
- The best way to check an efficient recovery is from head on.
- The hands should travel a straight line.
- This is the shortest most relaxed route.
- Elbows are not bent.
- Hands and arms travel to the side or up instead of straight forward.
- Looking down at the board instead of straight forward.
- Shoulders, arms and hands are not relaxed
- Duration of recovery is too long.
- Head and shoulders are lifted causing the board to rock nose to tail.
Surf Swimming Skills and Techniques
Surf swimming can be broken down into four phases - pull, push, exit, recovery
- High shoulder position at start of pull
- Catch position simultaneous with opposite leg kick
- Good catch position down and out with elbow fixed
- The leg actions during the pull should be a relatively soft kick
or cross-over action
- Limited hand slip during pull and always sliding forward, allowing
body to follow
- Arm position in mid-stroke must be vertical with elbow and hand
- Accelerate through the push with elbow and hand close to the
body, wrist cocked
- Timing of recovery arm’s entry must be at the mid-point
of the opposite arm stroke
- Kicking during push phase should be with the same side leg ensuring
good transfer of force, correct timing for fixing knees and hip
at end of kick
- Avoid early exit of the elbow
- The hand should be holding the water all the time
- The exit of arm must begin with elbow first, but not too early,
after push is over.
- The exit hand only pulls as far back as the hip bone (iliac crest)
rather than the thigh.
- The exiting hand must face backwards, towards the feet – not
upwards, towards the sky.
- Make recovery arm relaxed elbow forward before hand.
- The body should be rolled ninety degrees to the recovering side.
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