Low brace
There are two strokes that can stop a tipping kayak from meeting the fishes: a high brace, which leaves your shoulder open for a dislocation, and the shoulder-friendly but oft-forgotten low brace. Keep the low brace in your kayak toolbox for unexpected moments of instability or when you need a little support: surfing holes and slides. Here’s how you do it.

1. With your arms straight out to the sides and bent at 90 degrees, hold your paddle, creating a rectangle.

2. Make like a gorilla: drop your knuckles to your lap and keep your elbows up at shoulder height. (The scoop side of your paddle should face the sky.)

3. Now lean your body in the direction you need support and rest your paddle on the surface. Don’t use it like a crutch—allow your support arm to move up and down like a shock absorber.

4. If you feel like you’re about to go over, slap the backside of the blade against the water and push forward slightly. The surface tension on the water creates resistance, which allows you to swing your hips under your body and flatten the boat’s hull.

5. Steady? Paddle on with dry hair.

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