I wanted to talk about my favorite stroke known as the Dufek Stroke. I can remember the first time I saw this stroke. I was watching a sea kayak movie when I was about 20 years old and saw this stroke. I saw this person spin the whole boat 180 degrees with one stroke. I couldn't believe it! Went to try the stroke myself and discovered it was not as easy as what I saw.
5 parts to strokes: examining the dufek
Hand position - Stacked hands (top hand over bottom with safe shoulder position)
body rotation - body needs to be rotated facing your work
boat tilt - use boat tilt to and edge to carve turn
paddle angle - more vertical has less support but more power moving laterally
Length of Stroke - where is the paddle placed
All Five parts are important and should be considered.
In addition to these five parts is one more concept known as an open face, closed face, and neutral face blade position. Think of this as catching water with the scoop, slicing water, or pushing water with the backside of the paddle.
We will look at the dufek on long boats and should rarely be used for smaller kayaks. The problem with using the Dufek is that it is like turning on the brakes and you will lose all speed but turn sharply.
Lets take a look at my Modified Dufek. Take notice that I initiate the stroke with a sweep stroke - kayak held on edge. I hold the edge, rotate to the lifted side, and place the blade at a neutral position at about my knee. When entering the blade into the water remember you dont want to grab any water yet - Neutral Blade! If placed any further forward the boat will slow, the kayak will turn quicker but will surely loose speed. If you do bring the blade forward you also want to rotate and lean your body forward taking weight off the stern. This speeds up the turn.
The length of the stroke is the nearest to the kayak as possible for maximum effect.
I rarely use a traditional dufek that is placed at the bow. This is even more valuable in white water. If you use this in short little boats you will not turn, but simply spin out. To experiment with the stroke try to place the blade in the water so that it is slicing and not grabbing water -neutral blade - then slowly open the paddle to catch water. Once the boat is turning, close off the blade angle, notice that the boat is still turning without a strong open blade face. You may even notice that the neutral blade position will turn you just as well as the open position without compromising speed. The most important part of the stroke is the initiation of the turn, sweep then bow rudder.
This is Jason Self showing us a great bow rudder. You can read further about Jason at Kayak Angler Blog
Here is another example; the kayak is initiated into the turn with a sweep stroke, body is rotated towards stroke, stacked hands, boat held on edge, and the blade is held at about the knee, but you will see white splashed coming off the blade. A neutral blade will reduce the splashing and keep the boat speed.
Hope this helps out. Of course there are many situations and many different subtleties when using this stroke in different water conditions.
Here is some fun video.
4 years ago