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!