Personal Challenge: Brace stroke and edging

July 07, 2022

Tips to help you learn edging and bracing techniques for kayaking.
Personal Challenge: Brace stroke and edging 


If you're looking to step up your paddle repertoire from casual flat-water paddling to ocean touring, moving river, or multi-day adventures with swift currents and water, having a dialed brace stroke and edging capabilities are key. These are also key maneuvers for transitioning into a kayak roll and kayak surfing. To get started, be sure you have the basics down when it comes to paddle strokes, then check out these tips, tricks and suggestions…
What is Edging? 
Though initially it feels wobbly, once practiced, this maneuver gives the paddler better balance and more control of their boat.
What is Bracing? 
Though it could initially feel like the paddler is more exposed to a capsize when perfecting this maneuver, ultimately, it's a move to reverse a capsize and right your ship. There are two styles, the high and low brace. 
Choosing a kayak 
Though these maneuvers can be practiced to some degree in any Eddyline Kayak, ideal boats would contain keyhole cockpits, snug outfitting around the waist, hips and foot bracing. Though it might be uncomfortable at first, the snugger the better. Read more about Eddyline seat, cockpit and foot outfitting here.The Fathom, Sitka ST and Sitka LT touring models as well as the Rio recreational kayak are great picks.
How to Edge
Tilt your kayak slightly to one side and you'll be on an edge. Now firm up all your muscles, press all the contact points (knees, feet, hips, etc.) against the inside of the kayak and hold the kayak at a single point, under control. This can allow the paddler to carve a more precise turn or even turn more quickly by lifting the bow and stern out of the water to create a shorter effective waterline. When you bring the boat to a level position again, the paddler is completing the final recovery step of the brace stroke. In other words, edging is a prerequisite for bracing. REI has an outstanding step-by-step tutorial on edging and bracing. For a more aggressive tutorial check out Paddle magazines how to edge tutorial which talks in depth about levels of edging and stability types. 
How to Brace
The main difference between Edging and Bracing is that your paddle will be more involved and in a rescue position for a Brace. A low brace is less aggressive than a high brace. While you’re on edge, whether because you were working a turn and chose to be or because the water got choppy and started throwing you around, position your paddle so that you can smack your blade against the water on the same side of the boat you’re edging on, or, the side you’re in fear of capsize towards. In timing with the forceful smack of the paddle, roll from your hips to the crown of your head. Push the opposite hip from the potential capsize out and roll each spine vertebrae on top of the other in the same direction until your back is in a straight line, nose over naval style. Again, see REIs step by step tutorial on edging and bracing for visuals. Paddling Magazine has a great write up on how to properly brace
Remember, nothing helps in the learning process like instruction from a professional. If you want to take a class on kayaking that teaches bracing and edging, use the Eddyline Dealer Tool to find one of our awesome and expert retailers nearest to you and reach out to them to see if they offer any classes or lessons. 
More visuals 
How to do the kayak sculling brace
How to edge and lean a kayak