It is important to know how to do an emergency stop to avoid collision. For example, in a rescue situation you will need to be able to stop effectively and promptly when approaching someone who has capsized.
- Maintain normal hand hold on the paddle.
- Keep your elbows low and flexed.
- Start each stroke with the back of the blade in the water just behind your hip.
- Use a sequence of short reverse strokes on alternate sides.
- The first 2 strokes need to be shallow to slow the momentum of the kayak.
- Then use deeper reverse strokes with the full blade to stop the kayak.
- Exit the water when your hands are mid-way between your hip and your knee.
- The kayak should come to a stop within its own boat-length and within around 4 strokes in normal conditions.
- Being propelled on a wave is a different matter.
Tips and safety
- This stroke can lead you to capsize if you put the blade into the water too deeply in the first 2 strokes.
- Maintain a neutral wrist position with each stroke.
- Find a fixed object in the water, such as an empty mooring buoy, and test the distance it takes you to stop.
- Practice stopping in varying conditions, such as in wind-waves, beam and quartering seas.