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Old 04-22-2013   #11
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Stern draw is the stroke for this thread specific question. Moving downstream I use the stern draw. Agree with Jacobi that when done correctly you should not be leaning back at all (just rotating your torso from an upright slightly forward position) and when finishing the stroke you should be rotated and cocked in the perfect position for a forward stroke on the opposite side.

For corrections with the your boat turned parallel to the current, bow draw is the stroke. Favre nailed it on this. When you can use the current to move your boat back to a forward position and your speed is already killed because you are sideways the bow draw is ideal to get you moving again. Full sweep also works great in this scenario and is equally as efficient as a bow draw.

A lot of what stroke I use is based on what kind of stroke I'm going to take next. i like the bow draw if my next stroke is going to be timing oriented stroke so I can leave my paddle in the water, eye my landing and then pull the forward stroke through when it's time. It's my patience stroke for late boofs, big seams, low angle holes and crashing waves. For quick corrections mid-rapid I almost always use the stern draw.

Stern draw is the quickest and most efficient of the three and that's what the thread starter is asking about. Contrary to what Don said both types of draw stroke allow you to move forward while turning at the same time. Stern draw keeps your forward momentum better than a bow draw. The stern draw is probably performed incorrectly more than any other stroke I see out there and when done incorrectly it can lead to all of the bad things other posters have mentioned about leaning back, killing speed etc.

Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 04-22-2013   #12
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Quick addition - Leland mentioned something about a stern draw being a reactive stroke and just to emphasize, if this didn't come out above - the stern draw when done properly is NOT a reactive stroke, it is a completely pro-active, keep you moving in a straight line as efficiently as possible stroke, which is how it should be viewed and put into practice.

Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 04-22-2013   #13
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6
This is going to get a bit geeky, so if you haven't been bored by this thread yet, this should do it...

I think there may be some confusion in terms here. What I think RiverWrangler is calling a “bow draw” I would call a “bow rudder”: That is, a static stroke that will only turn a boat if there is water flowing past it. If this is the case, it is true that this stroke can only turn a boat by sacrificing momentum for turning force (just as is the case for a stern rudder).

A true bow draw stroke, as I would define it, is an active stroke starting well away from the bow, then drawn in toward the bow. When paddling downstream, to conserve momentum, the power face of the blade never faces upstream (as is the case in a bow rudder) but starts either parallel to the long axis of the boat or with a slight angle toward the back of the boat. The power face is pulled initially toward the bow then angled toward the back of the boat and finally turns into the last half of a forward stroke. As long as the rearward speed of the paddle during the stroke is faster than the speed of the boat over the water, all forces will work to either turn the boat or move it forward. (Essentially, the first half of a c-stroke for any canoeists out there).

Best results achieved when counter edging (tilting boat away from the side where the paddle is in the water) as is the case for a properly executed forward stroke as well.

In execution, it is very hard to distinguish this type of bow draw from a normal forward stroke to an observer (unless you happen to observe it directly from above, and ideally, in slow motion).

There are a number of problems with a stern draw. First of all, how do you get the paddle in position to execute it? Most people start with a bow sweep that is then finished with a stern draw. If you don’t start it with a sweep, it will certainly be out of rhythm with the normal stroke sequence, and would only happen in ‘reactive’ mode. (One practically never wants to start a stroke far from the bow of the boat when running downstream unless you have been surprised by something).

How upright the paddle is will determine how much forward force is imparted and how much turning force. An angle close to parallel with the water gives the most turning force while an angle close to perpendicular with the water gives the most forward impetus.

So what is wrong with that?

If you don’t need much turning force (perpendicular paddle situation) you don’t really need the stern draw part of the stroke. The part of the stroke imparting forward (rather than turning) momentum always loses efficiency when carried through past the cockpit (due to a combination of physics and biomechanics). Finally, anything that leaves the paddle close to the stern of the boat and underwater (as is the case at the end of a stern draw) is a recipe for getting knocked over by any seam or cross current you run into.

If you are in an emergency, reactive situation and need a lot of turning force, you may want to use the flat paddle angel sweep+stern draw, but you are probably going to be better off using a bow rudder, even at the cost of some momentum, since it immediately can be converted into a brace or a forward stroke, both of which can be handy in an emergency…

I also stick by my assertion that good slalom and downriver racers hardly ever use a stern draw when paddling downriver.
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Old 04-22-2013   #14
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BZN, Montana
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FWIW winning down river run at the NFC. Notice all the stern draws, only using bow draws when in cross current situations.

The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 04-22-2013   #15
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Thanks Glenn! Some nice stern draws by Mr. Casey right there! Full strokes 3 and 4 are perfect examples of the stern draw.

wc3f - that was certainly geeky but unfortunately most of what you said is incorrect. I'm gonna get geeky now too. No need to get into a pissing match, though I do love a good sword crossing and well you called me out specifically as not knowing what a bow draw is.

Wasn't talking about a bow rudder but your description of the bow draw is pretty accurate and is what I was comparing the stern draw to. Don't get me wrong, the bow draw is a great stroke but it's just not as efficient as a stern draw.

Your ideas about counter edging and forward strokes IMO are incorrect, efficiency is best served when your hull is flat. Also, your description of the stern draw is painfully inaccurate. To answer your question "First of all, how do you get the paddle in position to execute it?" - You do not start with a bow sweep, that would make it a full "sweep" stroke. You just stick the paddle into the water straight out from your body. There is nothing out of rhythm with this if the stroke is well practiced (see Ryan Casey's winning run of Jacobs Ladder in the NF race).

As far as the angle of your paddle, a proper stern draw is done at 45 degrees to the water, thereby imparting both turning and forward power at the same time. Just because you use big words like physics and biomechanics doesn't make you right, and the idea that you lose efficiency with any stroke behind your hips is false. You do lose efficiency when you finish a straight forward stroke behind your hips because when done properly you will have out-rotated your torso rotation. However with a stern draw you begin the stroke facing forward with your blade out at your hips and use your torso rotation to pull it to your stern getting the same efficiency as a forward stroke from your bow to your hips. Also to note, at the end of the stroke your blade should end up out of the water, almost touching the stern of your boat and your torso will be cocked and ready for any stroke starting at the bow on the opposite side - completely in balance.

I'm not gonna be like Farve here and be open to arguments. Watch a slalom paddler closely next time you get the chance and well, I'm pretty sure the North Fork video is proof enough. All strokes have their place and I'm open to changing and improving techniques but currently the most efficient corrective stroke going downstream is the stern draw. Period. It's the corrective stroke that keeps you and your momentum going straight before you even stop going straight, which I believe is one of the keys to it. You use it before you turn sideways in anticipation of your next move.
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 04-22-2013   #16
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Regarding what elite paddlers do: I spent over twelve years training pretty much daily in Augsburg, racing at a national and international level for TSV Schwaben Augsburg. In that time I spent many months and in some cases years, training and racing with and against the best in the world of that era. Further, almost every national team in Europe spent at least a couple of weeks in Augsburg every year training, in addition to being one of the two training centers for the German national team. My own coach at the time was Helmut Handshuh, who was also the coach for innumerable world and European champions and perhaps most notably Olympic gold medalists Oliver Fix and Elisabeth Micheler. Another good friend and old teammate, Klaus Gebhardt is the current coach for Olympic silver medalist Sideris Tasiadis. Never have I heard recommended from any of the coaches I had or know, nor have I observed any of the hundreds of elite slalom and downriver racers that I was able to watch, train with and race, using a stern draw as a standard downriver steering stroke.

The second you can show me a video of someone getting a podium in a world cup, world championship or olympics using stern draws regularly, I'll pay attention.
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Old 04-22-2013   #17
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Tons of stern draws and bow draws in this epic run...

I counted 3 stern draws between gate 11 through 13
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 04-23-2013   #18
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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The only true stern draws I see are coming out of gate (I think) 12, two on his right. There a bow draw would have possibly lead to a touch on the gate. You will also note that about every other one of his forward strokes included some form of bow draw. So, something like 20-30 of his strokes. If you are looking for evidence of which is the primary steering stroke, this is hardly evidence supporting your arguement.

A simple test that you can do at home to see which stroke loses more momentum is to find a good tough upstream (attaining) stretch then try it using only bow draws or only stern draws for basic directional control. Believe me, if you do a single stern draw on a tough attainment course, you'll get dropped like fourth period french.
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Old 04-23-2013   #19
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
Dude get over yourself the stern draw is just as effective as any other stroke. Body posture doesnt and shouldn't change just cause you are rotating your core to 45 degrees serious your body can handle it and plus its fast and strong because of that. Ideally a paddler who uses all strokes to his benefit is the champion. I know I'm now worries about times when I'm out having fun so if I need a bow draw to move a couple inches to right before a boof ill take it but I need to move four feet to the left on the north fork I'm not going to be bow drawing the entire way!!! Get real active reactive you guys are trying to be to techy is active or inactive blade(rudder) any stroke that's takin and not left the blade in the water is a active stroke just to clarify guys. So this reactive stroke bs is bullshit just to spell it out for you. Kayaking and runs like the north fork are a lot of reacting so that argument is invalid. A long as the strokes are moving than bow draw can be as effective as a stern draw. Just depends which moves are called for shit ill take a reverse sweep if the move calls for it....
Remember this if nothing else people
Position, angle, speed, timing, adjustment. You never not going to take these strokes just be smart.

Also I do attainments up the gallatin and the reason why you would use a bow draw vs stern draw is completely different here. of coarse you are keeping those ferry angles good but if you needed a stern draw there is no logical reason why its a poor stroke if you are rotating your core correctly. You can take a forward power stroke and turn it into a stern draws( not talking about a full sweep either) both strokes are active strokes. When you surf a wave you are not doing bow draws you are steering the boat with stern draws just saying both strokes are just as important as another including the reverse sweep strokes and cross bow boogie moves! It's all good except swimming

As for racing I don't count concrete man made swim pools as anything to compare against the north fork of the payette. You just watched Jacobs ladder and you still saying bow draw this and stern draw that. Stern draw is much more potent in terms of speed if you don't know what I'm talking about buy a remix and come out west!!
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Old 04-23-2013   #20
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
Both videos posted prove Favre's point exactly, in my not-at-all expert opinion. On the NF run, Casey is using the stern draw often when he is parallel to the current, trying to straight straight and keep speed. In the slalom video the boater spends most of his run perpendicular to the current, criss-crossing through the gates and, as was said, primarily using a bow draw.

Am I wrong?

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