Wednesday June 15th 2016
Wash riding is an essential part of canoe racing. Getting on the wash of a slightly faster boat is the best scenario in a race. You can ride wash with other boats for hours on end, taking turns leading. It makes your boat go faster while allowing you to rest somewhat.
There are two ways to ride wash: on the side of another boat, and behind another boat. The ride is best closest to the lead boat, and diminishes the farther away you get.
This is the safest place to ride as you can always slip into the stern wash if you drop off the wave. A wave comes off the lead boat at an angle – Bob Vincent likens this to a V of geese flying. To ride this wave you want to be close to the lead boat and a little behind. The bow paddler works to keep his/her body positioned between the lead boat’s bow paddler and centre thwart (however in shallow water this position changes). The stern and bow paddler work together to keep the boat parallel to the lead boat.
If you push too far ahead, the lead boat’s bow wave will push your bow out. If you fall too far behind, you may find the stern getting pushed out (feels like the bow is getting “sucked in” to the lead boat). There is a sweet spot: find it and work to stay there.
If there is a headwind, or for some reason side wash isn’t working for you (or you fell off), ride the stern wash. There are 3 to 4 good waves behind a boat that you can ride. Ride close to the boat in front for the best ride. Bow and stern paddlers again work together to keep the nose of the boat in the turbulent water behind the lead boat’s stern. If you are loose enough in the boat it will naturally want to follow the lead boat.
Wherever you ride, if you lose control and are going to hit the lead boat, call “contact!” so they can anticipate this, but try not to let this happen! The more you affect the lead boat the less they will want you riding them and they will try to dump you.
Wednesday June 8th 2016
Keeping a level boat is essential for maximum speed. However, you’ve got to make some compromises when steering. Steering strokes (such as mini-draws) are necessary, but be aware they bleed speed (make you slow down). Paddling on the same side as your partner can steer the boat while maintaining good speed in some conditions. But to turn a boat with finesse you must understand how leans work.
When you lean a boat, it carves in the opposite direction. To turn right, for example, lean left so the left gunwale gets close to or touches the water (depending on how sharp you want to turn).
Use a lean on it’s own for small adjustments (such as while riding wash), but also use it to augment the other steering strokes you are doing.
Leans are usually initiated by the stern paddler. It is essential that the bow paddler stays loose enough in the boat that this is possible. It is very difficult to steer a boat if the bow paddler is “holding” the boat. In that case, the stern paddler ends up “muscling the boat” to try to get it to respond. A good team works in unison to allow the stern paddler to lean the boat without effort.
It takes some practice to learn to lean smoothly, and every paddling pair works differently together. For me in the stern I merely think of relaxing my hip on the leaning side, look to where I want the boat to go, and it naturally carves. (This is assuming I have the ultimate bow partner.) A good bow paddler stays loose in the hips, reads the water and the situation to anticipate when a lean may be needed, and maintains that lean even while putting in correctional strokes on the opposite side. It is very awkward to be paddling or pulling a draw on one side while letting the boat lean away from that side, but it is essential for the lean to have effect!
So to put the last few weeks all together, let’s do a buoy turn:
A team that is able to steer with effective leans won’t lose much forward momentum, will be able to turn more quickly and efficiently, and may beat the field in the next race. :)
Wednesday June 1st 2016
The catch – how your paddle enters the water and anchors – is one of the most important factors of an efficient stroke. You may have a powerful pull but if your catch is not efficient you will lose a lot of potential energy that could be translated into boat speed.
The purpose of a good catch is to anchor your entire blade as quickly as possible, as far forward as possible.
Your catch should enter the water near your feet. This entry point should be as far forward as you can reach while still being able to quickly bury the entire blade. An often-seen problem is a blade being only half buried when the pull begins.
To get a good reach, sit properly in the seat with your pelvis forward. You should have a forward lean from the hips so if your nose was running it would drip onto your knees. Rotate your torso from the hips – away from your paddle side. Lower the shoulder of your lower hand as you reach forward for the catch. As you pull your stroke, this shoulder will gradually come up so that your stroke stays flat (travels in a horizontal line).
There are two main ways to enter your blade in the water:
If your catch is good, your entire blade will be anchored quickly and quietly and will have a solid feel (you should feel no turbulence against your blade as you pull your stroke).
Wednesday May 25th 2016
Marathon boats are designed with a long waterline for efficient speed and straight tracking. They have almost no rocker and are difficult to turn. In order to execute a sharp turn the bow and stern paddler have to work together.
The approach to a sharp turn usually starts with the stern paddler calling a “hut” to have both paddlers paddle on the same side (opposite from the turning direction). This combined with a lean away from the turning direction builds momentum in the boat to begin turning.
The bow paddler plants a blade around which the boat will turn. This is either a post or a crossbow draw. The stern paddler usually prompts this by calling “post” (or similar) but some tight race teams no longer need this to be called.
Here are some things to keep in mind when executing the stroke:
Once the boat has completed most of the turn, or if you feel the boat speed really slowing down, resume paddling (usually on the opposite side of the turn). The momentum in the boat will keep it turning and the stern paddler will slowly take off the lean to resume course.
Wednesday May 18th 2016
During races, marathon paddlers try to paddle in groups with faster boats. By riding wash in these groups the pack can travel at a good speed and paddlers take turns getting a bit of a rest while wash riding. Boats take turns pulling the pack (leading).
During training paddles, boats usually paddle in packs as well. There is an etiquette to this:
The point of paddling together is to learn how to paddle as a pack, help coach other, and to ensure that nobody gets "dumped" (left behind).
Wednesday May 05th 2016
Welcome to the 2016 season for the SCC Marathon Division!
The focus of Wednesday night group paddles is to help you learn to become a better paddler. Partners will be assigned by the group leader in the attempt to pair newer paddlers with experienced ones, and to keep the boats as evenly matched as possible. The group will stay together throughout the paddle.
This kind of paddling is efficiency oriented and the goal is to make the boat go fast. The boats are long and narrow; they track very well and have poor initial stability, so they feel tippy when you first get in one. You’ll get used to it!
The Marathon paddling stroke is very different from a recreational stroke. It is shorter, much quicker, and does not use steering strokes the same way.
There are three main phases of the stroke:
The catch (putting your blade in the water) happens as far as you can reach in front of you while still being able to plant your entire blade in the water. You can either “stab” it in, or “slide” it in from the side. It should be clean and quick. Think of it as anchoring your blade.
The power phase is when you pull the boat towards your paddle. Notice I said pull the boat, not push the water! Big difference. This should be quiet; no turbulent water gurgling around your blade. Use your core muscles for power, not your arms. If your abs are sore at the end of the paddle, you are doing it right!
As soon as the paddle passes your knees you should pull it out of the water. It shouldn’t go past your hip. The recovery is extremely quick, as you gain no forward momentum with your blade out of the water.
Paddlers switch sides every 5-10 strokes on average. This keeps the boat going straight without the need for a J-stroke. Paddlers switch sides simultaneously when a “hut” is called. It is usually the stern paddler who calls the huts.
Wednesday night group paddle focus sessions have concluded for the season, however as long as there is open water we will still get out and enjoy as much fall paddling as we can!
The group will now meet at the boathouse at 6:00pm (to take advantage of our decreasing daylight). Paddles may end after dusk, so bringing headlamps would be a good idea!
Wednesday September 9th 2015
To prepare for the Rec and Rookie Races in Saskatoon this weekend, we will review of some important aspects of racing, with a few mini-races to practice.
Review of starts:
Wednesday August 26th 2015
Waves are just a part of paddling life. Occasionally we get a wind blowing upstream that drives up big waves, or the waterskiers are out making life interesting for us. When the waves start crashing over your bow, they can fill up your boat. Water sloshing around inside your boat makes it hard to control and often this is the reason why boats swamp in big waves. Here are a few things to consider when paddling in waves.
Group Paddle Focus
Details for our weekly group paddle training sessions. All sessions start at 6:30pm at the Victoria Boat House.
May 10: Welcome
May 17: Marathon Stroke
*May 24: Steering POSTPONED
May 31: TBA..
June 7: Intro to riding wash
June 14: Reading Rivers
June 21: Shallows
June 28: Buoy Turns
July 5: TBA..
July 12: Race Starts
July 19: Portaging
July 26: Race Nutrition
Aug 2: Group Paddle
Aug 9: Side & Side Wash
Aug 16: Group Paddle
Aug 23: Equipment
Aug 30: Group Paddle