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what's this stroke called?


Jul 1, 2021
Shoshoni Wyoming
OK, I know and use the hanging draw, the sculling draw and one sculling stroke that is like the sculling draw but moving the edging of the blade the opposite way to PUSH my kayak sideways instead of drawing it sideways. I do it well, and was showing the kids from Church how to do it today, but don't know what's it's actually called.
Can anyone tell me?
Me neither. Seems to be much less pry use in kayaking generally.

I think the closest thing to a pry would be a stern rudder and calling it that is a bit of a stretch.
I've only seen the sculling pry tuaght at super high level classes, when we get to the point of fooling around. Stupid paddler tricks. "hey, let's see if this works..."

I don't recmember what obscrure situation I was in, but I do recall using it once. I didn't have enough paddle room for a draw, but needed to move that direction.
In the video below you can see the sculling pry at the end. She is doing the RCABC Advanced Tandem/Solo Flatwater Instructor circuit: to pass, you need to finish in under 3 minutes. She is doing left side here (she also has to do right side with the same time constraints), so she starts with a sculling draw and ends with a sculling pry. Lots of other interesting strokes here as well: this is a challenging circuit that really tests the instructor candidate’s “demonstration quality” skills.


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I learned and use it because of the want to get into overhanging rock formations on the lake I live near. When I am about 3-4 feet from the "cave walls" the lake bottom can be a jumble of rocks and a sculling draw is hard to do because the paddle can hit at the top (overhang) more, and also the blade in the water hits more often because of the sloping rocks coming up to meet the water line. But by pushing myself into those pockets I can avoid much of the interference with the paddle.

I was showing it to 6 kids from our church yesterday and I didn't know what to call it.

Most times the sculling draw is easy to do, but along the cliff walls and in the overhanging "caves" the sculling pry (now I know what to call it) works a lot easier. I never thought it would be hard to do and I had to work on it some, but it came pretty easily. It has only the application I mentioned above (so far for me,) but for that use it's great, and I had the kids doing it (albeit a bit coarsely) in only about 30 minutes.
I use the sculling pry to push my kayak sideways when landing on a sloping landing ramp. The ramp, or beach, prohibits use of a draw.

Works a treat.
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More tools in the 'stroke toolbox' are always good. :thumbsup: But for beginners, the priy could be a bit unstable? You can 'lean away' from a sculling draw, which can be reassuring.
More tools in the 'stroke toolbox' are always good. :thumbsup: But for beginners, the priy could be a bit unstable? You can 'lean away' from a sculling draw, which can be reassuring.

The pry is a really good way to capsize quickly. I call it “tripping over your paddle”. If you sense that is about to happen, you can immediately let go with your top hand to stop the process, but you have to be fast.

The same thing can happen with a standard draw, particularly with beginners who bring the stroke too close to their boat and end up prying off the hull. I saw that happen recently — it turned out to be a good opportunity to practice a rescue.

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Another version, which can be much harder, is the simply pry where you just push off the kayak (i.e. no sculling) to move the kayak sideways. That can be used often in canoes, especially tandem at the stern.

I've only seen it once by a high end kayaker - one with a competition white water background. They were on top of a wave at Surge Narrows and pried to move the kayak over about 4 inches before dropping down.... something I'll never be able to do.
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