A traditional stroke is a “smooth, continuous movement”, similar to pedaling a bicycle.
The Slide Stroke typically is used to accelerate the kayak and to quickly transfer power to the paddles. Storm paddles - which are shorter in length - are often used with this technique.
The hands are held toward the center of the loom. As the stroke begins on the left, the left hand remains on the loom and the right hand slides out toward the edge of the paddle. The left hand pulls, the right hand pushes, the torso rotates to the left and the left foot pushes off the footpeg to transfer energy to the paddle. At the end of the stroke, the paddle is swung to the other side as the right hand returns to meet the left at the loom and the motion is mirrored on the right side. Hands do not usually touch in the center and the blade is grasped a comfortable distance and not necessarily at the edge of the blade.
Extended Paddle Stroke
The extended paddle stroke is similar to the slide stroke in that it extends the leverage of the paddle. It is often used to change the kayak’s direction. The extended paddle position also is the first step in Greenland style braces, rolls and sculls.
In the extended-paddle position the upper hand grips the non-working blade at or near the end, while the lower hand grasps the loom just below the inboard end of the same blade. The sweep itself is performed exactly as with a conventional paddle but now there is a full four-to-five feet of paddle on the sweep side. This provides an effective and powerful lever for turning the boat and a stable platform for supporting an aggressive lean throughout the sweep.