Wednesday May 17th 2017
Marathon paddling is efficiency oriented and the goal is to make the boat go fast while conserving the most about of energy. It is very different from a recreational or touring stroke as it is shorter, much quicker, and does not use steering strokes (correction stroke) in 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.
Check out our pervious post on 'The Catch' for more details...
The power phase is when you pull the boat towards your paddle. Notice I said "pull the boat", not push the water! Big difference. Think of it as if you were sitting on the ice and you stabbed your paddle into it and pulled yourself towards your paddle. 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.