Wednesday July 1st
In marathon canoe racing, paddlers are often required to make at least one buoy turn and typically buoy turns are challenging! The problem is that marathon boats are not designed to turn sharply - so those that master the buoy turn will help enable you to catch and pass other canoes and give your boat a distinct advantage.
During this session we will work on setting up a good line to the buoy, leaning the turn, going to sides, making a tight quick post turn, and keeping the boat speed up to accelerate out of the turn.
Wednesday June 24th 2015
There are two places to ride wash: the side and the stern.
Regarding right-of-way while racing: Riding on the side wash gives you more speed and/or a bit of a rest, but also presents some risk. The boat that is ahead has the right of way, even if it is only 1 inch ahead. When you are going upstream and following the shoreline, the boat on the shore side usually leads. If the boat on the shore side is not ahead, they are vulnerable to being ‘scraped off’ or driven into the shore, and are better off dropping to stern and riding there. Either boat may decide to do a sprint and try to drop the other boat. It is often better for the boat on the outside to ride a little higher so that they can respond to a sprint.
Bow paddlers: stay alert to the speed and cadence of the other boat, you will need to respond to their sprints as well as steer to stay on the wash.
Stern paddlers: communicate with your bow paddler about where you like to ride wash - how far up or back, and how close to the other boat. It may also help to let them know when you decide to go to stern or to sprint to get up beside them. This may lose you the element of surprise, but it is better than fighting your partner if you are working towards different goals.
Wednesday June 17th 2015
Marathon races are not usually won or lost in the first 100m, but it can be important to get in with the right pack for wash riding. Here are some tips:
Wed June 17th 2015
Now that the water levels have dropped, there are more shallow spots and sandbars to navigate on the river. When going downstream, you aim for the deepest, fastest water and avoid the slow sandbars. However, when going upstream the shallows near the bank is the best place to be. Shallow water adds more friction to the boat and can suck the boat down, BUT if you paddle quick, light, and fast, you can ‘pop’ the boat so that it lifts up and glides on the surface of the water.
In order to ‘pop’ the boat up, a different stroke is required: further up front, positive angle, and very quick. This feels like doing just the first half of the stroke, but the stroke rate comes up a lot. The up-front, positive angle helps make the boat lighter, and the quick strokes keep the boat moving along so it doesn’t have a chance to sink down between strokes. The last few weeks have been preparing for this, so go back and review: strong catch, light boat with positive paddle angle, and steering by leaning so you can keep the stroke rate up.
Bow paddlers: as you move up along the shoreline or sandbars, think about responding to shallow, sucky water with quicker, up-front strokes to pop the boat.
Stern paddlers: be sure to keep in time since it is hard to pop a rocky or bouncing boat.
Watch out for rocks!
Wed June 3rd 2015
Steering by Leaning
You can steer by changing sides, or with draw strokes and cross bow strokes. However, the most efficient way to steer the boat is to lean it and let it carve to one side or the other. This is especially useful when the water is shallow and you need to keep short fast strokes in order to keep moving - leaning will keep your forward momentum but still let you steer.
In order to do this well, both paddlers need to keep the boat loose so that it can lean gently and effectively. The leans work the opposite of a bike, so lean away from where you want to go. (i.e. to go right, lean left)