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Old 06-16-2004   #1
Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 48
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confessions of a closet slalom kayaker...

So the other week I took a kayak day course with my friend and was surprised to find out that my stroke, among other things, sucks. Yes, yes, hold the A person who has successfully paddled class 4? A person that can cartwheel (albeit only to the right)? Sucks? Yes the shock is still affecting me.

So I decided to take an active position and started having my friend teach me slalom kayaking in order to learn `good habits and techniques` The scary part is, I liked it. Where as park n play is like self masturbation slalom kayaking is like a quicke; fast and thrillful.
In fact, I am even considering practising slalom when I come back to CO in Aug. Crazy eh? I was a closet slalom kayaker and didn`t even know it. not to worry though, my new addiction has not detracted me from my oringal goal of being a creek boater and pro playboater (like the rest of ya) ...ya, free gear...

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Old 06-17-2004   #2
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 47
so, if playboating is like masturbating, and slalom is like a quickie, what is creeking? how does one protect oneself? how many in a group? is it better if someone films?

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Old 06-17-2004   #3
Caspian's Avatar
Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Can't say I ever DO slalom, but I have done some good slalom workouts, esp. when I lived in Carolina, where it is more popular (can asport with 100 adherents be called popular?). Several friends are or were on the US or Canadian teams and would give me pointers here and there.

Learning even a little about slalom technique will make you a significantly better creeker. It is true that a lot of top boaters have poor techinique, not just the rest of us. Tao was taking slalom clinics two years ago. Why? To win extreme races. I believe he, Shipley and Fisher cleaned up the Gorge Games that year. All have slalom backgrounds.

Red Bull is to get-up-and-go as slalom technique is to taking your boating up a notch. That said, I have no desire to paddle slalom, just milk it to improve my creeking. What's Golden?
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Old 06-20-2004   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405

Maya is refering to the Golden WW Park. Many kayakers ack like it is illegal to have a boat over 6 ft long there, or to do anything in/near the water except attempt to get vertical. The longest boat I bring there is a Siren, but I am usually in my EZ, and always playboating, but I still get hell from people just because I respect slalom in general. It is really too bad.
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Old 06-20-2004   #5
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 39
SO many kids are slalom racers

I went to the Jr nationals I think it was called a year ago and there were 150 kids from all over the country and it rocked. I see kids in my town out paddling and racing at 7 A.M. I just watched the Fib ark slalom and even though the oreganizers of that event should be shot and replaced (for not setting a real course and charging 30 bucks for the event) there were 40 kids out there racing. Now I cannot say how many will be in the rodeo today, but I bet it does not crack the teens in numbers!!!!!!!!! I am an old fat lazy paddler but every time this comes up I get amazed that the "rec" crowd does not understand how incrediable these athletes are and the work they do to become as good as there are. I watched as one of the coaches teach his slalom athlete how to do a loop. It took that kid about three tries to get one and then later Friday evening I watched them work on a move in the race course and after 2 hours of paddling he said they would need to work on this move more this fall???? That takes work and dedication. Support all aspecs of paddling and if you are to scared to learn how to paddle a slalom boat, down river boat or a C-1 or an O C-1 then how can you call yourself a paddler????? Now I am looking for a slalom boat I want to learn how to paddle!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-21-2004   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 567
Something to watch for is that the Olympic commitee has finally taken away length and width restrictions on slalom boats which means that the potential for shorter turnier boats, shorter turnier courses, and more extreme courses. Which is good for two reasons. One there will be a glut of new boat designs that could be attractive to the general public similar to the prijion athlete, hopefully lighter and with better outfiting, and there will be a glut of used boats on the market.

As someone who is pushing slalom on kids on a daily basis, it is fun, challenging and develops certain skills well. Also new paddlers getting a sense of accomplishment a lot quicker than they do with playboating. I hope more people head out to race or just train. But just like it more fun to play in a play boat than a creek boat. Once you get a handle on the slalom boat, the speed is addictive.
friend of the fork, knife, and spoon
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Old 06-21-2004   #7
Tokyo, Japan, Tokyo
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 48
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It is really great to see that I am not the only one hiding with a 90 degree paddle in the dark.

I have a lot of friends out here that train every single day for slalom. One of my friends, Shunpei, is training in Europe for 6 months just to make time for the next Olympics. The boy is ripped, totally dedicated, and one of the best paddlers I have ever met.

Personally I have only paddled slalom a handful of times but can already feel the difference. It is really, really hard but everything that is worth doing usually is.

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Old 06-22-2004   #8
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Yeah, I was joking about Golden. I've hardly playboated at all this season (and it's resulted in my current lack of stamina while creeking).

I'll also confess to being the first to diss open boaters, you know, on general principle...but good OC-1 paddlers get mad props from me. That stuff is hard. Good OC-2 paddlers, well, there's a reason you don't see many good ones.

However, when people start thinking that OC-1 rodeo is a viable category, I gotta draw the line there. As my friend Drew once said, "OC-1 rodeo is a complete burden to all holes everywhere."

Here's to learning a proper forward stroke...
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Old 09-14-2007   #9
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 29
I'm an ex-racer and now I creek. Slalom has helped my boating from day one. I trained with Cathy Hearn in Durango for five years then I decided to quit because it wasn't too fun any more. But if you are looking to become a better paddler, wheter it be for creeking or not, slalom is the way to go.
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Old 09-14-2007   #10
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The 3 Zero 3, Colorado
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 28
Word up Caspian! Some love for the OC and Cboat crowd!

Slalom technique will bring forth the grace and precision that most boaters are looking for. Who wants to see a mess of paddle twirl, while trying to just muscle through the meat!

As for that proper forward stroke... lets not forget the time dedicated on flat water dialing this in. How often do we see paddlers working this stroke in the pool during winter? Busy with those aerials, right?

maybe we'll see some new faces at the races next year!

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