Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by pawsplus, Aug 2, 2017.
What is really the difference??
Well, the real question should be bow draw vs bow rudder vs hanging draw vs duffek...but that's just complicating things even further!
The terms are often used interchangeably and there is debate over what they actually mean (with variations between British and American use), but when I canoe, I use the terms as follows:
Bow draw: the bow paddler performs a draw stroke with the power face parallel to the boat. In this stroke, the paddle moves to the boat. The paddler's top hand is over the lower hand.
Hanging bow draw: the bow paddler plants a draw stroke as above, but does not move the blade. The boat moves to the paddle. Again, the paddler's top hand is over the lower hand.
Bow rudder (duffek): the bow paddler extends their lower arm so that the paddle blade is in front of their knees, power face toward the boat. The top hand is at the shoulder and the bottom hand is forward. The power face can be parallel to the boat, or the leading edge can start to open, catching more water. This stroke can be used when crossing an eddy line, since the paddle blade is put as far forward as possible to catch the countercurrent.
Now, when I kayak, I don't use the terms bow draw or duffek. I use the terms bow rudder (top hand at shoulder, bottom hand foward) or hanging draw (hands stacked vertically). The bow rudder turns the boat toward the paddle. The hanging draw slips the entire boat sideways.
And for the sake of my shoulders, I prefer to use a cross bow draw, a stronger position in terms of of body structure.
And does any of this matter? Nope. Only in a course will these terms matter. The point is to play with your paddle so that the power face is towards the boat. I tell my students that the difference between a newbie and a developing paddler is that the latter starts to play with the blade facing the boat, moving bow, stern, or the entire boat laterally. That sort of movement opens up entire worlds of play on the water.
And note that these are my interpretations. I have spent some time trying systematize my language because, as I said, there is variation in the usage generally.
Yeah--in a lesson I took last week the instructor (in BC) used the term "bow draw" but what she demo'd looked like what I think of as a bow rudder (paddle not moving). So I was all, "OK." Then, I was asked by someone in the US if I can do a "bow rudder," and I asked, to clarify, "Bow draw?" and she said no. So confused LOL.
Yeah, stick with "bow rudder" and you probably are in the majority.
Now, when it comes to what goes on at the stern, the language is even more diverse. Doug Cooper lists the following stern "rudders":
- stern draw
- high angle stern rudder
- low angle stern rudder
- push/pull rudder
- feathered away stern rudder (a static draw)
- feathered towards stern rudder (a static pry)
- bracing stern rudder
There is more variety at the stern for two reasons. First, the stern is looser than the bow in terms of the water pressure it feels. Second, our bodies are in a stronger position. Check out his book "Sea Kayak Handling", which is my favourite resource for understanding strokes.
I have always found these exhaustive lists of descriptive variations of what one does with the paddle overdone. In practice, I always find myself using mixed variations of all of these, without thinking about their names. Surfing in particular demands enough quickness in paddle use that if I tried to name each move, I would never be able to react quickly enough!
I spend enough time upside down or out of my boat, as it is, while doofussing something I call "surfing." If I paused to think about it, it would be even more laughable!
Dave, I understand where you're coming from. The strokes existed long before the names. From what I understand, the BCU is a little more inclined to care about these names, as that program is very technically focused - more so, I think, than Paddle Canada (don't know about ACA).
Still, it's helpful when viewing a clip like the one below to be able to answer the question, "What the heck strokes are those?" This is Michael Pardy doing some very fun paddle work while rock gardening:
0:17 stern rudder (edge feather towards the boat)
0:17 cross bow rudder (wow! that was a fast transition!)
0:19 draw stroke (with a hint of a sculling motion)
0:19 brief cross bow rudder (again, fast!)
0:20 stern draw
That is some very fun paddling. The key is to practice these on calm water in an obstacle course environment. Locally, I use a place like Lighthouse Park to practice.
Here is a source of videos I use, because he focuses on what the ACA requires for instruction (and I am an ACA instructor). Plus I have taken many lessons from Roger over the years, so I like to use this as review:
Bow draw isn't one that is required to teach in the ACA.
Separate names with a comma.