USK's "Essential Kayaking Strokes "
Volume 6 in the USK "In Depth" Instructional Video Series
© 2010

Welcome to volume 6 in the USK "In Depth" instructional video series. I cannot believe how much time it took to get this video completed. Since the video has a 3 hour and 28 minute running time I t makes sense the editing would take a while. However, that was the quick part believe it or not. I have been writing the script for the strokes video for the past four years at least. Each time I came back to the script I realized there was more I needed to add. The hardest part was to finalize my presentation approach and to solidify my philosophies about strokes with respect to paddling.

All of our other videos cover, in great detail, different aspects of kayaking. However, a strokes video "is paddling." You can go out for a paddle and never need to do a wet exit, capsize recovery, a brace, a roll, high wind turns, go through surf zones or use a chart and compass. You do have to use your paddle to move your kayak. I estimate that 90% of kayaking is paddling forward. Therefore, the details of a forward stroke turns out to be the core of paddling your kayak. That means this strokes video would be the foundation for kayaking in our video series. Wow! The self-imposed pressure was on to produce an instructional video that would introduce a new paddler to the basic foundations of taking strokes. It also needed to contain information that would be useful to a seasoned paddler. After watching the finished product for the umpteenth time during final editing, I can say I am pleased with the final result. I can honestly say USK's "Essential Kayaking Strokes" video is the most comprehensive strokes video available on the market today. It will probably retain that distinction for a long time (possibly forever), because I don't think anyone else is going to be crazy enough or have the time to produce one that has more details.

I do want to take a moment to discuss my thoughts about a forward stroke. You notice I didn't say, "The forward stroke." I find it very annoying and misleading when I hear instructors insist there is only one way to do a forward stroke. In recent years the trend in paddling has moved to shorter paddles with a higher angle stroke all in the name of efficiency. Throughout our video we discuss being efficient. We also discuss sustainability, which is rarely discussed by those pushing the high angle forward stroke on their students. Saying a high angle forward stroke is the best way to paddle and being able to sustain a high angle stroke for a full day tour are two different issues. If you have equipment that forces you to use a particular stroke then your strength and endurance better be able to sustain that stroke style. This video discusses the many different ways to perform a forward stroke. I believe your stroke style needs to match the equipment being used, the environmental conditions around you and your ability to sustain the stroke style you are using. A message heard throughout the video is there is no one perfect paddle, or perfect kayak, or perfect stroke style. We promote a two-paddle philosophy so you have a greater range of options as energy levels and conditions change throughout the day. After watching the video you can decide for yourself if you believe one forward stroke style should be used in all conditions or change your stroke style to meet the dynamic nature of paddling.

Since overuse injuries are common in paddling, we spend time discussing the causes and offering solutions so you can minimize and hopefully eliminate overuse injuries. We also cover the other strokes necessary to move your kayak in other directions other than forward. All of the strokes are demonstrated on calm protected waters because that is where you need to start your stroke development. It is vital for you to feel how your strokes move your kayak without wind or moving water affecting your boat. This way you know that you are the cause of the movement, not some outside influence. Once you can reliably perform your strokes and move your kayak as you wish then it is time to move into a variety of different environmental conditions. When you are ready for those conditions I suggest you get USK's "the Art of Maneuvering your Kayak" video, which is volume 7 in our series. We hope to have the Maneuvering video on the market in by December of 2010.

We wish to thank our loyal customers who have supported us over the years by purchasing our videos, taking our clinics and purchasing products from the USK web site. Your e-mails praising our videos and web site are delightful to receive, because it lets us know we are doing a good job. For those who enjoy all of the information that is available for free on our web site, facebook page and You Tube page, please understand that the time it takes to make all of those resources available are supported when you make purchases from the USK Store on our web site. We also encourage our readers to become "USK Bracers" (those who support our website) or to make donations to our "Make A Difference Program", which helps provide meals to homeless individuals. As always, any and all support for USK and its programs are gratefully appreciated.

USK's - "Essential Kayaking Strokes "
Running time: 208 minutes (3 hour and 28 minutes)
Chapter Stops: 81
MSRP: $29.95


Anyone can grab a paddle, jump in a kayak and use that paddle to move that kayak. However, if you want to get the most out of your strokes and minimize overuse injuries, proper training and instruction are vital. There is a lot more to a stroke than just moving your paddle. Proper fit in your kayak, selecting the right paddle, holding the paddle properly, correct body movements and proper blade placements are just some of the components that make up an efficient stroke, aside from reducing the chance of getting overuse injuries.

Since paddlers come in all shapes and sizes, we believe there are many ways to perform the same stroke. The stroke you choose to use should take into account your paddle design, your boat design, your strength and endurance, and the environmental conditions.

Getting your kayak to your final destination is a combination of using the correct strokes and manipulating your kayak with your body. This video provides you with a comprehensive list of strokes and a detailed explanation of how to perform each of those strokes efficiently. If you are new to paddling the information in this video is absolutely essential if you want to get the most out of your strokes. If you are a seasoned paddler, we guarantee you will find valuable information that can help improve your strokes, since there is always something new to learn.

If want to develop a good foundation of strokes, you can purchase this video at the USK Store. Once you go to the USK Store, select the DVD's Instructional link. Click here to go to the USK Store.

Video Resources

As with all of our instructional videos, we have included an insert in the DVD case with the list of all of our chapter stops to make it easier for you to reference where you would like to go on the DVD. If you loose the list or wish to see the details of what is included on the DVD, you can go to the Volume 6 Menu Link to access a copy to read and/or download.

See the rest of the USK "In-Depth" Instructional Videos in our series.

We tried our hand at producing a video guidebook called "Paddling Hawaii, Kaua'i Day Tours" in our new Places To Paddle Series. If you want to paddle on the Island of Kaua'i we highly recommend this video.

Sponsors and Advertisers

We wish to thank the following sponsors and advertisers for supporting our video and USK:

Current Design Kayaks
Paddling Partner
Werner Paddles
Epic Kayaks
Tuktu Paddles
Snap Dragon Spray Skirts
Brooks Paddle Gear
Sea-Lect Designs

We are selective in the companies we approach for sponsorship. We choose companies that produce quality products and work to take care of their customers. We hope you support our sponsors.

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