Backstab presented by Jackson KayaksJackson Kayaks Logo

Contributed by Jeremy Adkins

Description: A backwards vertical cutback on a wave, putting the kayak in a vertical plane on the shoulder of the feature while still landing retentively on the wave or hole.


Feature Requirements- You will need a hole, wave, or wave/ hole with shoulders.

Note: If you can spin on the feature you can backstab the feature.  Practicing edging on a wave, hole, or wave hole will drastically help your ability to throw quality vertical backstabs.





When gathering speed to the corner if you are going to do a big right backstab you need to do a big left stroke to carry your speed into the corner. This maximizes the speed to the corner for the biggest backstabs. The more speed you have the more likely it is to be retentative.


Note: While carving feel the moment to edge for the backstab. Usually, you want to be on the outside corners of the wave in an area that will keep you retentive. For weaker hole/waves you may have to practice the motion while cutting in the hole in order to stay retentive. Many paddlers try and throw a backstab on the low side of the hole. Whichever way the hole is easiest to spin is the way you are going to blunt in the opposite direction.

Step 2- EDGING

As you approach the point of initiation at the corner of the feature, a single hop (Ollie) helps your-
) ability to go from edge to edge
) boat clear the move because of the release off the water
) vertical transition of the boat.

Your goal is to keep your inside knee up as you shoot across the hole, and on your bounce dramatically switch edges, lifting the outside knee and then driving

Note:  When you change the edge of your boat, the boat typically will initiate flat spin back towards the hole.  If this happens you will need more edge.  Your edge should begin with speed going towards the corner with what is usually 11 0r 1 o’ clock, with speed your transition from flat to edge would begin when the front of the boat is at the seam of the corner of the feature.


This is a well placed stroke timed with the edging of the boat at the end of the carve. You should be using the powerface of the left blade. The paddle stroke should be placed at the bow of the boat to the hip on the surface of the water. When coming towards the corner you will be leaning front until you edge and then you need to lean back.


When doing any edged move you have to remember to lead with your head and eyes. In the move make sure that your head stays stationary and the boat comes around your head.  EX:  If you are doing a right backstab as you complete the move you need to be looking over your right shoulder so the boat will follow your eyes and not go half way and stop. The boat will always follow the eyes.

Note: If you are washing out because of doing the move and not landing in the hole it is almost always your head placement.


Your boat should snap around as you now move your paddle placement toward your hip. The paddle stroke towards the hip is like a big pair of scissors meeting in the middle. Staying as far forward as possible allows
) you to drop back into the hole
) keep your bow from pearling when you land
) give you stability and control.

Note: Depending on the features flush level you will know whether to immediately forward stroke to stay retentive or to put your boat back on edge to not allow for a flip.


As you land on the side of your boat many times if your recovery stroke is not quick you will wash out the back or corner of the hole.  Make sure when you land off you right backstab that you backsweep the left blade on the left side of the boat.  This will ensure that you stay retentative in the hole.




~ by Jeremy Adkins on December 27, 2008.

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