Let us look at the basic vanilla locomotion strokes the forward and reverse strokes
- Close to the boat, closer the more the boat will go in a straight course.
- The blade fully or mostly in the water.
- When it is in then pause then pull.
- Recover around the torso unless doing a stern rudder, recover as in taking blade back to the start again.
Slow full strokes are far better than half of the blade skidding through the top of the water, these fast half strokes give the illusion of speed, all that is fast about them is there rate not the speed of the boat.
This is not to be confused with the start of a sprint where you may shorten the length of the stroke but you will still want to use a full blade.
Half blade = Wheel spinning, this is not to say the blade is never pulled on whilst not being fully submerged i.e. avoiding a rock/shallow water.