How to Bow Stall a Kayak

How to Bow Stall a Kayak
Bow stalling is a freestyle kayak trick in which the paddler causes the bow of the kayak to dive down into the water, which brings the boat into a vertical position. The kayak will appear to be standing on its nose with the stern out of the water. This is often one of the first tricks someone learns when new to freestyle kayaking due to its relative ease and because it is the setup move for other tricks such as cartwheels. While this move can be done in any type of whitewater kayak, those made for freestyle or "playboating" make the move easier thanks to a significantly lower bow volume.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Whitewater kayak
  • Paddle
Step 1
Start paddling forward to gain momentum. If you are paddling a playboat, you will notice the bow has a natural tendency to dive as you gain considerable speed.
Step 2
Shift your weight forward to apply downward pressure on the bow. A playboat bow will now start to submerge very quickly, bringing the stern out of the water. In other types of kayaks, you may need to paddle harder to gain more speed or throw more of your weight forward to get the bow to submerge.
Step 3
Lean back as the boat comes to a vertical position as your weight is no longer needed to force the bow down. Leaning back brings your body to a vertical position along with the boat, creating more balance and allowing the boat to stall and remain longer in this position. From this position you can also use your paddle to brace yourself and stay vertical even longer.

Tips & Warnings

Before you work on bow stalls or any freestyle tricks, be sure to have a solid roll technique. Playboaters spend a lot of time upside down while learning new moves, and this gets old quickly if you end up swimming every time you flip.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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