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Oar Strokes

Oar Strokes Rowing or the use of oars or paddles is an integral part of Rafting, so it is important to know how to row effectively. Take note that it is not just about arm movement. Your entire upper body and legs all play a major role in providing the Raft sufficient power to run the rapids. You also need to lean slightly forward as you thrust the blade in the water for greater control.

Rafting calls for a series of maneuvers that will enable you to steer the boat and overcome the boulders and other obstacles. Take part in steering the Raft by knowing the different boating strokes. Start with learning how to use your oars.
  • Backstroke
    Plant the blades in the water behind you, stretch your arms forward then pull your hands toward you. Notice that as the blades move in front of you, the Raft budges backward.

  • Push Stroke
    Also called portegee, this stroke will move the Raft forward. To do this, plant the blades in the water in front of you, position your hands near your chest then stretch your arms forward.

  • Turning
    With both blades planted in the water, push on one oar and then pull on the other. Do this simultaneously and the Raft will turn towards the direction of the oar that is doing the backstroke.

  • Shipping
    Keep an eye on where you’re headed and on the water. There may be rocks that can damage the oar blades while you are rowing. Place the blades against the side of the raft. You can tuck them in front of you or against the side of the stern.

These basic Oar Strokes are a good foundation of other maneuvers in the river. Make sure to learn them first before running the whitewater. But if you are going to use paddles, make sure to check out our Paddle Strokes section and learn how to execute maneuvers using paddles.

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