How many times have you heard someone tell you to pull yourself to the paddle, not pull the paddle toward you? That’s been a tenant of Greg Barton’s forward stroke philosophy for years. Barton is the Olympic sprint kayaker gold medalist and co-owner and co-founder of Epic Kayaks. Here’s what he says about that idea on Epic’s web site:
“It helps if you think that someone has taken a series of poles and driven them into the water down into the bottom on both sides of the boat and you are able to grab each one and pull yourself by. Only take it a bit further and pretend that you’ve got this big old row boat that’s out in front of you and you’re actually suspended just above the water behind it pushing it forward with your feet. So you’re grabbing this pole and trying to push the boat forward with your feet. And there’s another pole on the other side and you do the same thing with that. If you think of it that way it really helps to get the forward force on the legs. In paddling you have to transfer your power to the boat and the two places you are touching are your feet and the seat. But I think the forward force is coming almost entirely from your feet and your rear end is stationary.”
Want to dial in your surf ski forward stroke? Read the rest of Barton’s thoughts on it here.