How to Steer and Paddle a Canoe : How to do a Cross Draw Stroke in Canoeing


The cross draw stroke is a way to do a draw
stroke on your off side. On the off side is the side that you’re not paddling on. In a
solo canoe we’re generally going to keep the same hand position most of the time. So if
I’m paddling on the right side as I am here, I’m going to keep paddling on the right side
the whole time or at least for a significant amount of time because switching hands can
be inefficient. One of the things I’m going to do when I cross over is I’m going to slide
my bottom hand up the shaft of the paddle to make it easier to reach on the far side.
If I put my bottom hand toward the bottom of the paddle shaft, it’s going to be very
difficult to reach over there so I slide it up to a comfortable position on the off side
and I reach over to the other side. If you can see my torso, it’s twisting a lot toward
the off side as well. So with the torso twist to the off side, sliding my hand up the shaft,
I’m going to draw in toward the boat. Now, the recovery here can be tricky and if you
bring the paddle too close to the boat, you’ll get the paddle caught underneath the boat
and that can be an instant flip. This is a good one to practice in flat water and practice
a little gingerly at first. But again, there’s the draw and an in water recovery. Typically,
on the off side you don’t do an out of water recovery because again, you’re in a fairly
awkward position already and it’s easier to keep the paddle in the water and just slice
it out to the beginning of another stroke. That’s the cross draw.

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