When you want to move alongside a dock or a friend’s kayak, one of the best techniques to use is the sculling draw.
It might be slightly hard to master, but it is the most powerful way to make your kayak move sideways, and keeping balance is easy.
Hold your paddle with a normal forward paddling grip. Turn your torso to the side and put the paddle almost vertically into the water.
Your upper arm should be bent about 90 degrees and kept high. Check that the power face of a paddle is facing towards the kayak.
Now take a moment to feel how the paddle will behave in the water. You probably notice that the blade almost has its own will: it slices the water easily if you move the paddle parallel to your kayak. But to draw the blade closer to or further away from the kayak takes a lot more work.
However, moving the paddle back and forth this way does very little to move the kayak.
The trick is to move the paddle back and forth parallel to the kayak while turning the blades’ power face slightly toward the direction of the sweep. This draws the kayak towards the paddle.
Keep your upper hand in a fairly fixed position, and start waving the blade in water by moving your lower hand.
Try to keep the movement continuous; move the paddle so that it forms a thin figure 8 on the surface of the water. You will have to resist the blade’s tendency to slice the water.