Our goal is to help you to gain a better feeling for how to control your boat with efficiency and skill. You might think that boat control is a matter of using a paddle to maneuver the boat, but we believe it's more productive to emphasize what the body does. Think of the boat and blade as extensions of your body that are designed for a marine environment.
Body: While we're thinking of the boat and blade as extensions of the body, let's go a little further and think of the arms and legs as extensions of the torso.
Boat: You'll use the lower body in many ways to help control the boat. Good contact between the lower body and the boat are needed for control. You'll use your hips to tilt the boat to adjust the shape of the hull in the water. You'll use your legs and abdomen to turn the boat.
Blade: Whether you use it for propulsion, direction control, or support, you'll position the blade in the water to give your body the leverage it needs to get the job done.
Each time you go out, watch other paddlers, and have a friend watch you paddling as well. Have your friend watch for body rotation, hand/blade placement, and lower body boat handling. Think of these things as you paddle. The more refined each of these elements become, the better your skill, endurance, and enjoyment will be.
We'll explore these ideas in more detail in the next few pages. Then, we'll see how they are implemented in a number of common strokes and maneuvers.