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Low Brace Turn - Where should your paddle be?


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I’m confused (as usual?). Cathy is asking about a low brace turn, not just a low brace. After picking up speed in flat water I was taught to hold the paddle way back in a low brace position (blade back facing down) while edging and then bring the paddle to the perpendicular position for support as I slowed down. Essentially like shown in this video. Perhaps it’s a nomenclature thing.


Most of the paddlers in the video are using a stern rudder into a low brace to accomplish the turns. Some of them were on a wave which is a much more likely place to move from a stern rudder to a low brace. Still, try the perpendicular position and see what it does for you, try it as I suggested to Cathy - in quiet water, no current, now wind to see the difference positioning makes. Don't get the paddle wet and see what happens to the boat. Then try it same conditions but now with the paddle wet - bracing into the water in the 90 degree position and then also 45. THEN report in what you find.



Ah, I wasn’t questioning anyone’s technique; instead, I was questioning the definition of a “low brace turn”. The first dozen or so websites I looked at described it as I learned it (many years ago, probably from CRCK). But I just looked further and found a demo here by Shawna and Leon (the famous Leon) and they include placing the paddle out at right angles. So I guess the definition is a little fuzzier than I thought (unlike the necessary precise definitions in science and mathematics).

I’ll try your experiment but not until I arrive back to New England’s cold water (ugh) because my kayak is already on the car post-100270-0-37866800-1430946662_thumb. getting ready to leave FLA. In the picture you can see that I put my money where my mouth is with respect to bow/stern lines.



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Hmm, Leon and Shawna's video looks convincing. Although, I think in one break in into current he places the paddle a little more aft than 90 degrees initially. Look at half a dozen other videos from Ken Whiting, Nick Cuniff and others, you'll see the more dynamic version.

It's like Ed said. Don't get caught up in one technique, use the one that works best for you in any given condition. Whether you want to turn the boat more or less aggressively plays a big role. If you want to point downriver quickly after breaking in across the eddyline because you need to catch/avoid a downriver feature you're probably going to use the more aggressive variant. .???

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