Low Brace Stroke

The low brace is a support stroke. It is mostly used:

  • To counter imbalance and prevent capsize. 
  • To stay upright when broached in small or medium waves. 

The key to this stroke is coordinating paddle use and body movement. Its effectiveness doesn’t rely on strength.

Technique Tips Practice Drills


  • Ensure you have an upright posture and normal hand position on the paddle.
  • The paddle shaft should be near to horizontal, low and close to your body running 90 degrees across the kayak from left to right. 
  • Keep your wrists straight and your elbows well above the shaft (visualise a ‘gorilla’ position). This provides maximum power and reduces the risk of injury.



  • Place the back of the blade on the surface of the water on the side that you need to recover your balance. This gives you something to push against for initial balance.
  • Use your knee and a hip flick on the same side to bring the kayak back upright and level. Relax the knee on the opposite side. 
  • Open the wrists to slice the blade out of the water.
  • Bring these elements together quickly and seamlessly.

In surf (beyond basic skills):

  • When broached (going sideways in moving water), edge your kayak into the wave and support yourself on the blade on the wave side.
  • The blade can be kept on the surface of the wave as long as the wave has the strength to support it. 
  • Time your knee-lift / hip flick / blade recovery to coincide with the loss of support from the wave.   

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