Beginner Forward Stroke – handout

Entry Content

The Forward Stroke is the stroke you’ll use the most. Paddle longer and farther with less effort.


  • Keep a relaxed grip on the paddle
  • Align your knuckles with the top edge of the blade
  • 5 points of contact: balls of your feet on the foot braces, thighs in the thigh-braces, bum in your seat
  • Use torso rotation to power your strokes
  • Look where you’re going

Paddle position

Hold the paddle with a relaxed grip, hands at equal distance, elbows bent at 90ยบ. Chest, forearms, and paddle shaft form a rectangular “paddler’s box”. Sit upright. Place balls of your feet firmly on foot braces, feet slightly forward, knees slightly bent, apart. Thighs in thigh braces.

Forward Stroke


Wind up your torso by reaching forward. Use your top hand to plunge the paddle in the water.


Fully immerse the blade before pulling yourself past the paddle.

Power Phase

Unwind your torso.


Take the blade out when your lower hand reaches your hips.


About 50 strokes per minute at normal cruising speed.