USK's Bracing Clinic
Recommended Bracing Development Sequence

Here is the USK recommended teaching sequence for bracing.  As we say in the video, "first do the exercises while sitting at home watching the video." Then try them on land (lawn is more user friendly).  When you feel your skills are working on land, try them sitting in the water.  Sitting in water allows you to feel water resistance on your blade.

When you move into your kayak, start on land to feel the body movements while using the thigh braces. Once everything seems like it is working, move your kayak into shallow water to have the bottom as a back up when you miss a brace. Keep in mind; you will miss a lot of braces as you are learning. I can safely say, “Capsizing is in your future.”  However, the more you practice the more reliable your braces will become, which translates to less capsizes.  When you feel you can do these braces without needing the shallow bottom, move into deeper water.  It is nice to have a paddling partner nearby to help you with an Eskimo recovery if you do capsize.  If you do wet exit, you can use that opportunity to practice your capsize recoveries. As always we recommend you dress for immersion.

When you first do the sequence, begin sitting upright as if you were balanced over your kayak. This way you can focus on the paddle and body movement.  Then lean to the side and fall past your balance point as if you were capsizing. Use your blade to stop the capsize and then use the thigh and trunk movements to get your body back over your balance point. Remember to practice on your onside and offside. 

Again, to get the most out of your training time, perform the sequence on land, then sitting in water and then in your kayak.  In addition, use the bracing exercises in the video to help develop your body recovery techniques.

USK bracing sequence:

Blade recovery practice

High & low brace


Sweep brace movements

Low brace – stern to bow           
High Brace - stern to bow
High Brace – bow to stern
Low brace – bow to stern


Slap brace movements

High slap brace
Low slap brace


Side to side blade manipulation

Move side to side to get correct hand and blade placement


Sculling movements

High sculling brace
Low sculling brace


Extended paddle movements

Extended paddle high brace - stern to bow
Extended paddle high brace – bow to stern
Extended paddle sculling brace high brace
Extended paddle high slap brace


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