With the forward stroke you can give speed for your kayak. Because the whitewater kayaks are designed to turn easiely and quickly, it is not easy to go straight only with forward strokes, and that couses problem for most of the beginners, their kayak always turn to one directrion, while they practis the forward stroke.
The secret is, that on the whitewater you always have to combine the forward sktokes and turning strokes, if you would like to get speed and go straight. First learn the sweep stroke correctly, after you will have time to practis, how to go straight!
Let us see, how to make the forward stroke correctly! We pay attention on whitewater kayak school, whitewater kayak course, to learn the basics well.
You have to reach the water with your paddle at the toes and pull the paddle along the side of the kayak, and finish the forward stroke at the hip.
When you start the stroke, you have to lean forward with your body. We call it agressive position. It is so important, because, only if you lean forward you can reach at the toes, on another hand, you push forward your gravity point, so you are more stable in the kayak. With the agressive position you can attack the river, attack the rapids! Leaning back is tipical mistake!
At the beginning of the stroke, when you start at your toes, you have to push forward your lower shoulder. Keep your upper hand in the line of your eyes without rising your elbow, and drive forward your upper shoulder, while you make the stroke. That will be the reason, you will start to rotate with your torso. It is very important to have more energy in your forward stroke.
The third important thing is the work of the feet. You have to push the footbrace with your foot on the same time, when you do the forward sroke. The abdominal have to be tight, and that will help you to keep the boat flat with your knees, during you paddle forward. If you do not do that, your kayak will easiely lean from one side, to another, when you paddle.
Practice a lot on flat water, and concentrate on the rigth technic. Rise your upper hand, rotate with your torso, tighten your abdominal, these are the keys!