The three golden rules are three key concepts that apply to every kind of paddling. In this short instructional video, expert paddler Ken Whiting shows you how to use a cooperative division of the body for key kayak strokes and for kayak rolling; how to maintain a power position to improve paddling strength and help prevent shoulder injuries; and how to achieve torso rotation in order to get your core upper body muscles involved in each stroke instead of just your arms. These rules apply to all types of paddling, including sea kayaking, surf paddling, kayak touring, recreational kayaking and whitewater kayaking.
Brad, an REI Outdoor School instructor, demonstrates basic kayak paddle strokes in this video: the forward stroke, turning strokes, and boat-control strokes. For the forward stroke, think about placing your blade in the water and moving past it, rather than pulling the blade through the water. This increases your efficiency. The forward stroke is made up of 3 elements: the windup, the catch, and the unwind. Rotate your torso (the windup), place the blade in the water by your foot (the catch), rotate your torso (the unwind) to move your boat forward, and then take the blade out of the water when your hand reaches your hip. Now your already wound up for the next catch. It's a push with the upper hand and a pull with the lower hand while rotating the torso. In kayaking, technique is much more important than upper body strength. Now for turning strokes. The sweep stroke is a forward stroke that allows you to keep your momentum.