Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Jan. 2004
||Posted: June 25 2006,18:31
We all hate to break wind now don't we? It's one of the reasons people talk about rudders, head in early or mebbe not go out at all. But the wind and waves can be your friends. Maybe even lovers.
This series will cover some interesting techniques I've learned and will end with some great advice by one of the very best paddlers I know of - Nigel Foster.
But before we begin, let's start with one basic notion that most of us don't think about, don't use or forget about if we do. What's that?
It's almost natural to fall into a cadence. Our stroke becomes one of Catch - Pull - Recover and repeat. Smooth, steady, continuous and powerful, or so we think. I am no exception to this fallacy. And why do we do this?
One reason are the crappy kayaks we choose - high primary and wider than we really need. Like most fishing yaks. These pigs push a lotta water and have less glide than a more proper design. So we feel we have to keep a paddle in the water to keep the sucka movin. But it's not true.
Even the oinkers have SOME glide. And better designs have more. So what should our stroke be like? Simple.
Catch - Pull - Recover - PAUSE and repeat. Now if you think this is silly or non-productive, it is not. Even racing paddlers build in a pause. And at cruising speeds a pause is even more productive. How so?
1. It allows/takes advantage of your yak's glide. Sure the yak slows a bit, but not nearly as much as you believe.
2. The pause makes for a better, stronge, more efficient stroke. That moment of preparation focuses the mind and your stroke becomes smoother, stronger and more effective. In large part making up, or even exceeding the minor loss of the pause.
3. You benefit from the brief relaxation between each stroke, thus adding to your endurance and strength.
How many of us do this. Darn few. I'll never forget one of last years officially sanctioned races at West Lake. I did the short course and had a chance to see the long course winners come in, led by an Olympic champion. I was surprised to see his very obvious and prolonged pause.
I learned later that this was entirely intentional and common. Last, you might be wondering how long a pause is in order. Although this may differ somewhat, it's fair to say that a second is perhaps the least you should consider. In fact, some cruising kayakers in decent designs may pause up to 3 seconds.
The pause that refreshes...
Next: on to breakin wind...
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