Guiding Whitewater Rafts – Proper Technique for a Draw Stroke

Guiding Whitewater Rafts - Proper Technique for a Draw Stroke

A draw is a stroke done from any position in the boat. Rotate upper body toward water, reach at a 90 degree angle or perpendicular from the raft. Extend both hands out over the water with top paddle hand as close to vertical as possible. Enter paddle in the water at a vertical angle and then pull perpendicular to raft water line. As paddle is drawn closer to raft, make sure to bring paddle to vertical position for maximum power.

The draw stroke will draw the raft toward the point where the draw stroke was made. If made from the stern by a guide, the raft will quickly turn to the opposite side of the guide as the stern moves toward the paddle stroke and the bow swings away. The opposite is true if the stroke is made from the bow, as with a bow guide. If the stroke is made from the center of the raft, the entire raft will move toward the stroke side. The draw will make more dramatic correction from the bow and stern and only small correction from the center position. Stop the raft rotation from a draw with a quick pry or two.