Rudderless Steering

The thing I'm trying to figure out right now is how to Kahi steer my V1.

I am familiar with the kahi steering methods in the OC6, but it seems like the effects of the kahi when used in a V1 are opposite that in an OC6 (probably b/c I'm doing the wrong thing).

Does anybody have any insight on the proper methods of utilizing the kahi in the V1? Tim? Luke? Any input would be hugely appreciated!


Submitted by Kileki on Tue, 10/04/2011 - 9:04am

I assume what you are talking about is this.. if paddling on right and want to turn canoe left, you put blade into water on right and hold it there?? If this is the case I believe the further you can get the paddle back towards the tail more response you will have. When I'm steering an oc6 and I kahi I usually do it with a more vertical blade because I can put more body behind it, but on a v1 you have much less mass albeit you also aren't sitting on the very back, which makes steering different.

I have had success, mind you this is on a 50 pound 25 year old rudderless, by thinking about getting the blade as far back as possible but I do not do it vertically. At most I put the blade at a 45 degree angle into the water, my thinking is that in this case, the water passing over the blade at that angle goes over the blade length-wise and because it has to travel further over the blade there is more drag creating more turning force. Ironically when you do that it also puts the blade further behind your hip so it makes the canoe react better.

take it as a $.02 opinion, but I would love to try out that aukahi and see if it reacts the same :)

#1 Tue, 10/04/2011 - 9:31am

im no pro nor not as knowledgeable as Luke or Tim, but to add on to what isotopes has mentioned. what seemed to work for me was you need to think of your self as the center point of the vaa. i found it to be if youre planting your blade parallel to your hip and bring it to you, youre just sucking the boat in a parallel line to your blade. if you plant the blade away from of you, center of your hip and bring your blade towards the rear of the canoe the vaa reacts in the direction you want to go. this stroke also works in the front in a vice versa way. you start at the far point of the nose and pulling away from the vaa to the your hip(center point. the angle of the entry of your blade plays a big part also. sorry if my info doesnt help much, its the best i could explain it. again this is what works for me and im no vaa pro. also, TIM ill love to take the fai for hi kai run to demo after this weekends hoe.

#2 Tue, 10/04/2011 - 10:51am


when you kahi try make sure you have enough hull speed and then depending on wher the nose sits try and move your torso weight forward and back to assess rhe different impact of weight on the kahi pressure on the blade and the amount of ama freedom as it skims on the water - or alternatively watch lots of tahitian689! watch for anyone in the top 50

#3 Tue, 10/04/2011 - 9:08pm

Do you guys keep a neutral blade position (blade runs parallel with canoe) when utilizing the kahi?

For example, when you're on the left side and you're wanting to make the boat veer right with a simple kahi, is your blade turned inwards a little bit?

I've watched numerous hours of video on the Tahitian paddlers and this is one thing that I am struggling to figure out.

#4 Wed, 10/05/2011 - 2:37am

If you don't mind I have a couple of suggestions. say you are trying to get the canoe to go right , so your paddling on the left side, when your paddle enters the water its as close to the side of canoe, as you can get and then by by the end of the stroke, its away from the canoe as you can get. also at the end of the stoke you can make a J shape outward when your paddling on the right side. and less ama drag the better that will pull you left. and last, push with your feet in the direction you wish to go or to steer. at times the current or tide can be steering for you. but time on the water cures all
good luck

#5 Wed, 10/05/2011 - 4:59am

I'm really only looking for additional information that is directly related to the "kahi" and the different techniques that are involved with it.

#6 Wed, 10/05/2011 - 6:15am

1) try position your blade as far back as possible. that way you are moving the rear of the canoe which is what you do when you are steering a 6 man

2) do it quickly otherwise the boat gets away from you.

3) steer with your butt, it's your connection to the boat

4) think about what side of your paddle face is exerting pressure on the water. this helped me think about how to effectively position my paddle

5) watch every video by Tahitian 689 about a thousand times. OK, maybe two thousand.

some of these are repeats from above. more than anything though I spent about a year on the water paddling 6 days a week, many times twice a day, in all conditions before I felt comfortable in a V-1.

#7 Wed, 10/05/2011 - 7:37am

"when you're on the left side and you're wanting to make the boat veer right with a simple kahi, is your blade turned inwards a little bit?"

If you want to make the directional change quicker than turning it inwards a bit will cause more bite yes, as long as the blade is behind your hip.. if you drop the angle of the blade to 45 or less you can actually get your blade face almost under the rear iako.

#8 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 6:35am

Pacific Paddler TV just posted this today!

#9 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 9:05am

Here's another

#10 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 9:41am

Is that jc9er in the first video? All buff n' shit! Wooohooo!

#11 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 11:21am

#12 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 11:23am

Another super obvious but not so obvious to people who only paddle oc1/v1 is the fact that it's much easier to steer when you don't throw all your weight on that ama. Leaning left if you want to go left makes sense but you gotta get off that ama if you want to go right and not have to kahi all crazy like.

Best thing ever for my paddling was when I bought a surfski, no crutch to rely on and form bad habits with

#13 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 1:31pm

Sit straight !

#14 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 3:39pm

sooo let me preface this by saying that i've actually only paddled V1 about 30 times. (my Fai3 is still sitting on Oahu, waiting to come to Maui) So i'm very much, still learning… however I have had the benefit of spending a lil time in Tahiti picking some paddlers brains…
This last trip I let Eric Deane (Steersman for OPT) jump on my Fai3 in the surf and I had my go pro filming. Later when I watch the video, i called him over. "What are you doing right here" i asked. You'll see he steers at the back end of his stroke, while the blade is back behind him and top hand down close to thigh. There is soooo much more than you can pick on video here, it looks just as if he is "poking". The subtle corrections he's making are not sean. Obviously by 'poking" left you'll go left…. so why then does he turn back right while seemingly poking left? A good example is the wave he goes for at 2:35… the vaa is heading left as he catches wave and continues as it he's at back of stroke but look at how it jets back right at 2:41/2:42… while seemingly still poking…

I guess 'poking' isn't really a good term here as he's not sticking the paddling in and poking down the side of the hull, rather letting drag in the back behind him at end of his stroke. Is there a term for this? Anyways while in this 'dragging' position he explained you can steer both directions. You can push out with top hand, creating pressure between blade and hull which would make you go one direction, or you can pull in with top hand and out with bottom to swing back the other direction. I've completely confused myself as to which way is which, trying to "Air steer" in my computer chair!
So anyways its like guys have already said above. Let it happen at the back of the stroke not out to the side as if steering a 6man. Let your top hand be low, chest/stomach level rather than above your shoulder/head. Another good video is the new Super Aito 2011 by Tahitian 689… you can see plenty people steering this… great examples :27- :42 in video way…

And this type of steering is only really used while on a wave as you the wave is giving you the speed you need so you can just make the corrections….

#15 Thu, 10/06/2011 - 10:52pm

Iso & JC9, your steering tips worked great! This helped out a ton last night in the surf. San Diego is getting hit with some 5'+ surf and having that kahi available is a huge advantage to keeping a good line down a wave!

Mahalo guys for all the input, it has been hugely helpful!

#16 Fri, 10/07/2011 - 2:48am

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