Guiding Whitewater Rafts – Proper Technique For A Pry Stroke

Guiding Whitewater Rafts - Proper Technique for a Pry Stroke

A pry stroke is not the same as a back stroke. The back stroke is meant to slow the raft down, move it backwards or slowly turn the raft. A pry is meant to turn the raft quickly to the same side that the stroke is made.

A pry stroke can be done from any position in the raft, but will turn the raft more quickly from the bow and stern. Rotate the upper body toward the water and set paddle on a pivot point – on the raft or under the pelvis. Upper body must rotate as far as possible, closing the inside shoulder, for maximum power and torque on the stroke. Top hand stays on the t-grip, bottom hand should slide up the shaft of the paddle to allow more paddle to submerge. Rotate until paddle is put in the water as far behind paddler as possible. If the paddle is not rotated behind enough, the pry stroke is very short and may quickly become a back stroke which will turn the raft, but not as quickly or efficiently. Pull on the t-grip end of the paddle until the paddle is nearly off of the pivot point. If the paddle leaves the pivot point, do not push with the lower hand. This is a very weak stroke as the force is generated with only one arm and no leverage. Before the paddle leaves the pivot point, rotate upper body again and place paddle for another pry. Pry strokes should be short and repeated until raft turns into position. Correct or stop turn with strong draw stroke.