Draw Stroke

A side draw stroke is used to move the kayak sideways from a stationary position. It is useful when rafting up, when pulling in to a landing spot such as a wharf, approaching a capsized kayak, or to pick up something floating in the water. 

There are two main side draw strokes, a feathered draw (also called a ‘T’ side draw) and a sculling draw. A sculling draw can be sustained longer and provides more support than a feathered draw. The feathered draw is the more powerful of the two, particularly when applied with grunt.

Feathered Draw Sculling draw Tips Mistakes Practice 

Sculling draw

The sculling draw is less powerful but more sustainable than the ‘T’ draw. It provides more stability, and there is less risk of tripping over the paddle.


  • Rotate your torso so your body and head are facing the direction you want to move your kayak.
  • The bottom hand is the working hand and will control the blade.
  • The top hand acts as a fulcrum. The palm is open with the shaft cradled in it.
  • The blade should be near vertical with the power face inwards.


  • Trace a figure of 8 from bow to stern with your working blade fully immersed on the side you are moving to.
  • Keep your wrist open when moving the blade towards the bow and your wrist closed when moving it to the stern.
  • Keep looking in the direction of travel.
  • Power the stroke with your torso rotation, not with your arms.
  • To encourage you to use your torso, connect the elbow of your working arm to your hip.

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