The recovery low brace is a stabilizing stroke that can keep you on your board if you start to lose balance. Typically, it is used if you might be falling backwards, maybe while playing with pivot turns or riding a wave, but is useful for regaining balance from any position. What defines the “Low Brace” is that the hands are dropped below the elbows with the back face of the paddle contacting the water keeping our body weight above the paddle.
There are 2 key things to consider when making a low brace recovery successful. Using the paddle on the waters surface to create support and returning our center of gravity back on top of the board.
Bracing with the Paddle – As you begin to lose balance drop your hands below your elbows and reach out to push or “slap” the back face of the paddle against the surface of the water. This initial contact will give you a few seconds of support that can be used to push your body back up.
You can continue this support by tilting the paddle blade slightly forward, front edge of the blade higher than the back, and gliding the paddle forward on the surface of the water. This tilt and motion will keep the paddle on the surface and provide a longer period of support.
Recovering our center of gravity – Now that we have some support from our paddle, we need to get our body back on top and centered on our inflatable paddle board. This is initially started when we started to glide the paddle forward.
As our paddle blade sweeps forward our body naturally follows, Dropping to our knees will also help lower our center of gravity and allow us to reposition to our regular paddling position or remain on our knees if continued stability is required
With a bit of practice this stroke can be very effective at keeping us on our board, but if you fall in no worries, getting wet is fun and builds confidence. Just remember to use your paddle board leash so your board doesn't float away.