With all the rain we’ve been experiencing in Ecuador this season we’ve had plenty of big water opportunities . Big water can mean big features in the form of waves and holes that form and change shape and size, and that come from all directions. Those features can knock you flat if you shy away or have an improperly placed stroke. They can also provide incredible support and help you along your way if you know what to do. That’s where a hybrid-high brace/sweep stroke comes into play.
Most people think of bracing as a recovery stroke, something done to right yourself after tipping. That’s only part of the story. It can also be a great preventative stroke, done in anticipation of tipping, then transitioned into a propulsion stroke that keeps you moving. Continue reading “Technique Tip-Hybrid High Brace/ Forward Sweep”→
We’ve been getting a number of requests for Mary’s recent article on the Mental Game of Kayaking that appeared in American Whitewater. We had posted a link to the article on our Facebook page for all of those good dues-paying members out there. After letting some time go by we are now make it available as a pdf download. Click here.
Kayaks are wonderful crafts! What better way to transport yourself through remote locations than while seated on your arse? Not far from our house is a fine run that is often part of my spring ritual- it’s called Giant Gap. It’s a spectacular stretch of river with a remote feel that is just the right amount of difficulty, a great tune-up for the harder runs one hopes to do as the snow melts, yet straight forward enough it puts a smile on your face. The only problem with Giant Gap is the put-in trail. More specifically, the two mile, 1900 ft. of elevation loss to get down to the river.
When boats were lighter (and I was stronger) I used to just suck it up, throw the boat up onto my shoulder and hike the boat in. My boat was pleased but my back was torqued.
Thankfully, there is a nice layer of fallen leaves on most of the Gap’s trail. A plastic kayak slides easily over this layer, freeing one’s shoulder and back from a Quasimodo-like posture. As with kayaking a river, a little control goes a long way when sliding the kayak down to the river. Here are some reasons I don’t want to just shove my boat off the top of the trail and hope for the best; the safety of others below, the well-being of my kayak and of the trail. If I haven’t motivated you yet, let me mention the Gap trail can be loaded with poison oak; oak on boat can equal rash on boater.
Some time ago I learned a slick little trick from a canoeist who rigged a rope bridle from the bow to the stern.
I first started using a waist sling many years ago after taking a river rescue class from my good friend Eric Magneson. At that time it was mainly suggested as a simple means of having an anchor system for a river rescue situation with you at all times.
Since then I have found that I use it less for an anchor (It would be a reflection on my judgment and that of the people I paddle with if I was setting up anchors all of the time.) and more for simple tasks like lowering a boat down a steep trail at the put in, corralling boats in a eddy at a portage or scout, keeping all of my gear clipped together at the take-out, or improvising a means of carrying gear.