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.
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.
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.
Wednesday July 29th 2015
Good changes are synchronized, quick, and maintain the glide of the boat. When things aren’t going well, they take too long and can disrupt the boat run.
Here are some tips for good changes:
Wednesday July 21st 2015
Portages can be critical moments in a marathon race. There is no wash to ride when you are running so teams will often use the portage to try to break up a pack or otherwise gain an advantage on their competitors. While being able to run fast is never a bad thing, there are many other aspects of a good portage that can enhance your running advantage or make up for lack of running speed.
Tips for a good portage: