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
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.