A Stern Stall is a play boating manoeuvre where the kayak is left in the vertical position with the bow pointing skyward and the stern underwater. The paddler through use of gentle paddle sculling and subtle body movements holds the boat in this position. I guess it's called a stern stall because when performing a Cartwheel, if the boat stalls when the boat is pointing skyward you're in the Stern Stall position.
There are several ways to get into the Stern Stall position and those struggling with Cartwheel perfection may already have discovered one.
My preferred approach, which works effectively on the flat, is as follows:
- Gently paddle the boat backward.
- Edge the boat heavily to one side.
- Slightly lean forward and use a powerful reverse stroke to slightly lift (load) the stern of the kayak.
- Quickly lean your body to the side of edging, almost trying to put you shoulder into the water and reach forward and pull a powerful forward sweep that should propel the bow up.
- If successful you should now be in the vertical position doing a stern stall.
The boat is balanced in the stern stall position by the boats buoyancy, the buoyancy aid that you're wearing, your body position and, if required, some subtle paddling strokes. Sometimes there is a tendency for the boat to fall down on its hull. This is difficult to prevent but lifting your body (leaning forward) or holding your paddling above your head (but on the surface of the water) may help. I recommend getting the boat as vertical as possible. If the boat attempts to fall the other way (deck down in capsize position), this can be controlled with gentle sculling with the paddle. I sometimes find that spinning the boat on its axis is a good method of holding this position. This is achieved as follows:
Rotating the Stern Stall
When in the Stern Stall position you can rotate/spin about the axis of the boat (rotating the boat) as follows:
- Decide which way to rotate the boat and look in that direction (lead with your head).
- Use a gentle draw stroke to pull the boat around.
If the stern stall falls down to the left or right, why not try converting it into a cartwheel.
When in the Stern Stall position, watch out for other paddlers that my sneak up in a stealth like way and push the hull of your kayak so that you end up capsized!