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. 

Technique Tips and safety Practice drills 


  • 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.
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