Brace Recoveries

The Low Brace

It usually takes the equivalent of a slap on the face to get me to really learn something. In the case of the low brace it took a shoulder dislocation.

We are usually taught that to perform a correct low brace we should hold our elbows high in order to get the best use of our torso muscles, and to position the paddle with the wrist in line with the forearm, as in the below illustration.

Elbows high, wrist in line = strong brace, right? This is NOT “how it works”

This is often called “monkey” position. Don’t mimic it! A more effective, efficient, and SAFE low brace focuses on proper use of balance and “hip snap”. As the boat starts to capsize, simply place the back-face of your paddle blade flat to the water and use your lower body to “right” the boat back flat to the water with a quick hip snap. The paddle stays near the surface of the water and is pulled back over the center of the boat once you are upright and balanced again, ready to continue paddling.

A better position is shown below

Notice that the wrists turn slightly to position the paddle blade flat to the water. This is a fairly weak position for the wrists, but if done correctly you won’t need much strength to right your boat.

To really get the timing of the movement contact someone who knows how for a lesson. Don’t develop bad habits that can ruin your paddling forever!

Coming soon: The High Brace…


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