You can take your paddle and attack the water with it, straining every muscle in your body, throwing up rooster tails behind you.
Or you can slice your blade into the water, anchoring it solidly and using your entire torso, pulling it smoothly and evenly with much better results.
This is an excerpt I came across years ago when I was studying on the waka ama course with Matahi Brightwell in Gisborne.
It really stood out to me and made sense. I was trying to damn hard!
Like with anything new, you go hundy because you are just so excited and in to it, so I get that.
If you are wanting to improve your paddling, before you start trying all the technique tricks under the sun or buying a lighter more streamlined canoe here are a couple of things you should check first.
- Are you getting a good catch?
I talk about getting a good catch a lot! It’s the start of your stroke, and if you don’t got that you got nothing. What is a good catch? Making sure you enter the blade nice and clean, anchoring your paddle at a positive angle. There are two angles you can use, 45 or 90. Obviously a 45 degree angle will give you more of a power phase. It will help you to lift the boat. But, then you need to think about maintenance once the boat is up and running and that’s where the 90 degree angle can come in handy. Just when you thought it was a one stroke fits all huh? The kind of strokes you use will all depend on your fitness, body type and what you can maintain. But I won’t go there right now as it’s a big enough topic on its own.
- Are you holding the catch?
Now you have the catch, you are supposed to hold that pressure through your stroke. A catch on its own is not enough. Don’t let it slip.
- Are you getting a smooth exit?
Once you have released the pressure on the blade (this should be once the paddle is by your hip usually, just before it moves to a negative angle) you need to pull it out in a way that does not disrupt the glide of your canoe. Many will just rip it out, but you want to let it pop out on its own, effortlessly.
Check these three things, adjust accordingly and your boat speed should definitely pick up. Always try working on yourself before jumping into the easy option, and often more costly options for improvements. This is where the real stuff is and will make the difference on the line when you decide you are all in.
I am by no means an expert, but I am the Master of my own journey and the information I share is based on my own personal experience and improvement in paddling, guided along the way by my mentors and coaches.
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#imagine #believe #achieve