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The Forward Stroke in kayaking is the main stroke that moves the kayak forward and in a straight line. Over the years there has been some discussion over how long the forward stroke should be. Some say as long as possible, maximizing the time the paddle is in the water. Others like short strokes, claiming that is the best way to keep the boat moving straight. The truth of the matter is that the kayak forward stroke should be somewhere between the two. The best way to describe it is "tip to hip." Place the paddle in as far forward as is comfortable and bring it back to about your hip, before starting the recovery phase of the stroke.