The sport of canoeing/kayaking is a essentially a simple blend of strokes and amounts of force. Like walking it will become second nature given enough practice. I would say learn the basics but it is all basic, practice then master and apply to varying bodies of water.
The person doing grade 4 or 5 is doing the same strokes, he may have less time to do them but his mastery makes up for this.
Now to the heart of the post namely the draw and the scull, these two strokes could be said to be on a continuum, similar strokes but with different applications.
This stroke is one which permits the craft to move sideways whilst the direction the boat is point remains unchanged. This is easier to practice as the boat remains flat and there is less danger of the craft capsizing. Watch the video to see the various versions.
- Practice the basic draw both sides, although useful the sculling draw will improve paddling dexterity more, but practice it nonetheless. I would say the most useful aspect is the slicing recovery, it is useful to learn as in many situations lifting the blade out to recover the blade can be less than optimal.
- Practice the sculling draw both sides.
- Vary the length of the stroke.
- Vary the amount of angle on the power face. Feel the force, resistance is useful. If you slice there will be no movement.
- Vary the angle of the shaft and see what happens.
- Vary the hull angle around the x-axis, so lean away from the blade, towards and maintain a flat hull, what happens.
With the above points there are many permutations and in time you will find a use for them all and with practice use them naturally without thinking.
The Sculling Brace.
This stroke uses the some of the technique of the sculling draw stroke but applies them to enable the boat to move through or stay at an angle on the x-axis .
Things to try when sculling:
- Play with the angle of the shaft.
- Let the boat come over or try and keep it up.
- Alter the size of the stroke as in length.
- When rolling over on the boats x-axis and sculling you may have to alter the torso angle either forward or back depending on the restrictions of the boat. Also note the sideways lean on the torso to permit head to stay on water, head being out of the water is a useful aid in breathing. Its often better to not try an keep the torso away from the water when in the lowest position.
Try going from a sculling draw to a sculling brace, how would you make that happen.
The draw and scull teach you to become more aware of what your paddle is doing, that will help with rolling/turning and in particular shifting the boat sideways when turning would risk wrapping around a rock.
It will improve your handwriting. As words are made up of letters, paddling sequences are made up for strokes.