Kayak – How To Paddle Backwards

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 26,932
    Kayak instructor Mike Aronoff demonstrates the basics of paddling backwards.

    Mike Aronoff

    Mike is an American Canoe Association highest level Instructor Trainer Educator in both Coastal and River Kayaking as well as WW Canoe. He is also a British canoe Union Coach with the 4 Star award in Sea Kayak. He is the Chairman of the Coastal Kayak Committee of the USA and on the ACA Safety Education and Instruction Committee. Mike has co authored a number of books on paddling and wrote the ACA Kayak Trip Leading Course. He is a guest instructor in many parts of the US for various programs. He is the owner/general manager of Canoe Kayak and Paddle Co. LLC, a northern Virginia based paddling school and outfitter with an Annapolis, MD branch. Mike is also a registered Idaho Guide and leads trips there and locally. He is most active in certifying ACA paddling instructors in sea and river kayaking.

    You are probably wondering what is that guy doing going the wrong directions in his kayak. Sometimes you want to go backwards. You go backwards a lot for a couple of different reasons.

    Often we are doing some exploration, you might be down, narrow or creek, and it's actually too narrow to turn around, so you want to back up. Other times you are going to want to back up because it might be easier to back up than to turn for example doing a rescue or to help a buddy out, to go back in and get something.

    Also, because we are paddling forward 95% of the time, its good exercise it balances your muscles out of back out. So, paddling backwards is good stuff to practice and to know how to do well.

    A reverse stroke is done again, using the torso; I didn t introduce myself, I am Mike Aranoff with Canoe Kayak and Paddle. Well lets start off with a reverse stroke, we are sitting upright, rotate back, placing the paddle a couple of feet off the hull, back face to the water, press down, exit at about the knee, then you take back the other side.

    I am going to back away from you, the idea is that I will be able to go backwards straight. Backstroke is also the same stroke you use when you need to stop the kayak, exactly the same stroke, pretty valuable, the backstroke.