How To: The Bow Stall
The bow stall develops great boat control and boat awareness as it involves balancing on the bow of your boat. It's also the first step in learning the flat water loop, bow pirouettes, split-wheels, as well as other advanced tricks.
To bow stall, you must first know how to throw your bow down.
Step 1: Throwing your Bow Down: In flat water, paddle forward in a straight line. When you are ready, put your boat on its right edge, while taking a large forward stroke on the right. This will cause your bow to lift into the air. Almost immediately, while keeping your boat on edge, follow up the forward stroke with a reverse stroke, smashing your bow down into the water. Continue the reverse stroke all the way to the bow of your boat. At this point, you should be almost vertical.
Tip: During this entire process, visualize your body being the center of rotation with your boat pivoting around you. Focus on using technique and torso rotation rather than force to bring your bow under the water.
*The lower volume the boat, the easier to throw it down, and the better for learning.
**If you are having trouble throwing your bow down, try filling your boat with some water.
Step 2. Stopping the Boat: Once you've got your bow down in the water and you are more or less vertical, you'll want to stop the momentum of your boat and put yourself into a bow stall. To do so, simply use your right paddle blade as a low brace and stop your reverse stroke, or give a small pull on your right paddle blade to slow yourself down.
Step 3. Balance: Now that you've stopped the boat, and you're sitting vertically in the water, it's time for position and balance.
The ideal bow stall position keeps your center of gravity low and in front of you, with your paddle far out in front of you near the surface of the water. Imagine your kayak and paddle blades forming a tripod. The farther each part of the tripod is from the other, the more stable the tripod will be.
In addition, try to keep your body centered, and make small movements. Once you learn the balance point of your boat, you can make large movements and move on to other tricks.
Fore and Aft Control:
If you feel as though you are falling forward, lean farther forward. Don't be afraid to go "snorkeling" and put your face in the water.
If you feel as though you are falling backward, lean farther backward.
Side to Side Control:
If you feel you are falling to one side or the other, try pulling on one paddle blade to center yourself.
Step 4: Bask in the glory of your first bow stall!
See you on the River!