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.
Building mileage is often done with steady state paddles, the long slow distance that forms the bulk of training, especially in the early season. However, even long distance racing requires high-intensity speed and power. We need sprinting in order to get into a good position off the start, to pop the boat over shallows, and to fend off advances from other boats. Interval training involves periods of very high intensity and periods of active rest (slow, low-intensity paddling). Intervals can be Aerobic when the high-intensity is as long or longer than the rest, for example, 3 minutes on and 1 min off. In aerobic intervals, the rest period is not long enough to fully recover from the work, so the fatigue accumulates. Intervals can also be Anaerobic when the work period is short, the rest is longer than the work, and the body gets to recovery more fully between bouts, for example 20sec on and 3 min off. Anaerobic intervals are for high-quality speed work and practicing starts. The longer the work pieces and the shorter the rest, the more you train the aerobic energy system. The shorter the work and the longer the rest, the more you train the anaerobic system.
Intervals provide an opportunity for different-speed boats to train together, because slower boats can catch up on the rest. In order to keep the group together, the faster boats need to STOP during the rest. Faster boats can also choose less-ideal water, or take a zig-zag line, or paddle on the outside around a curve. Slower boats need to keep moving during the rest, and turn early so that the group can catch back up to them. Slower boats should also start a boat-length or two ahead, so the faster boats have to catch them.
3 sets of 5 x 30sec on and 1 min off. Take 3-4 minutes rest between each set.
Wednesday August 12th 2015
Riding side wash and surfing waves in shallows is great, but sometimes it makes sense to ride the stern wash. Creeping up a tricky shoreline with a big current out to the side, on narrow waterways or through obstacles are examples. You can’t pass a boat while on stern wash , but sometimes there are hours of racing before you need to position yourself for the finish. However, it can be tricky to stay in the right spot the whole time since it takes skillful cooperation between the bow and stern paddler. To practice this, we will have boats tie a rope between the stern of one boat and the bow of the next. Notice what you need to do to steer and keep pace to keep the rope slack. Practice riding stern wash, a buoy turn around the dragon boat, then switch.
Let’s protect the equipment and people’s joints. Please, if you are going to contact a boat, say ‘CONTACT!’
If your boat or paddle is getting close to someone’s paddle, say ‘WATCH YOUR PADDLE!’ or just ‘PADDLE!’
Super shallow conditions with many sandbars means there are a lot of opportunities to see the waves build up behind a boat. Shallow water doesn’t leave much space for the waves to go down, so it swells up and creates visible swell at the surface. If you have a boat wash riding off you, you can accelerate coming into these shallows and knock them off your waves, since these big waves are very hard to climb. If you can anticipate it and put your boat in the right spot, you can ride these waves (‘surfing’).
If you are being out-accelerated in shallows, you have a couple of choices: 1) move out on the first wave (So you are further to the side of the lead boat) and surf that wave in and up; 2) slide back onto the second wave, feel when it lifts your stern and then surf forward onto good wash riding again.
Today we will paddle upstream of the dock past the bridge and then downstream over the sandbars. This isn’t normally where we’d want to go when we go downstream, but gives us a good chance to practice surfing.
Another great opportunity to practice this is downstream by the Bessborough by the wake boats; practice feeling when the stern rises and then add some speed to catch that wave.