Reverse (Back) Stroke and Variations

An efficient reverse stroke has same requirements as forward stroke (see: forward stroke, and efficient stroke clips)

The critical piece of a back stroke is to maintain a vertical paddle shaft (blade) during the power section of the stroke. Good body rotation and keeping the grip hand outside of the canoe are required. I find keeping my grip hand elbow high really helps with paddle placement.

The clip below provides three examples of reverse strokes: 1) Simple Reverse (Back Stroke), 2) Compound Back Stroke, 3) Reverse Draw (Far Back) Stroke. The compound back provides a more power at the catch of the stroke but it is harder to control direction and flipping the paddle efficiently can be awkward.

Additional related clips

Reverse Stroke - Basic:

Reverse J:

Reverse Sweep:

Bow Draw:

Additional Information

Executing and Efficient Stroke - limit turbulence, whirlpools, and splashes
Backstroke Catch - Steep or Shallow:


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July 27, 2019