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Old 10-12-2010   #11
RandyP's Avatar
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 152
My.02 take it for what it may be worth, this is the most mental sport you will ever do. The best thing you might do is try to hook up with a female instructor if at all possible women just learn different than men. I'm not saying better or worse just different. Maybe you will feel more relaxed in a group of women and let your boat do what it should by relaxing your hips. As soon as you start worrying about being perfect you tense up and you start catching edges because you are so tight in the hips. You are putting to much pressure on yourself to be perfect and not just enjoying your time on the river. Each time you go out only work on one thing that way you don't go on overload working on to many things at once. Remember you are not competeing against the peolple you paddle with. Everyone will learn at a different rate we all have some swim time don't dwell on the things you do bad but take pride in the little things you do right!

Normal is a setting on your washing machine!
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Old 10-12-2010   #12
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 286
I agree with Kendi. In this sport as well as many others sometimes you just have to go with what you feel comfortable doing. Sure, there is a right and wrong way to do things. But, if what you do doesn't make you prone to injury why not do it? Lessons are good for having someone close by to assist you learning a technique. They are in my opinion just an informational seminar. Kinda like the ones you attend for work. You take the information in, decide what you need and what you don't, and practice those techniques that work best for you. Come up with your own style and have fun. Learning new techniques and taking them to the river can be frustrating to say the least. Because trying these things can make you capsize, screw up your line, etc. But it you will find out what works for you and what does not. I remember trying to learn different paddle strokes and there would be times that I would capzize or almost capsize myself. It wasn't because I suck or my style was wrong, it was just because I was trying something new and didn't have it down yet.

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Old 10-13-2010   #13
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062
Easy does it.

Keep it simple.

Always look where you want to go. And, take the guess work out of it... stay in control by never giving it up. Keep your paddle in the water as much as possible. An active stroke will add another sense to your paddling. You do not have to paddle as much as you think. Let the river do it's thing and you just sit-up and steer. Cool as a pickle.
I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
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Old 10-13-2010   #14
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 700
I've paddled for 25 years and never had a lesson

I'm sure someone could tell me about the efficiencies of forward versus back strokes, and 35 different types of roll. I'm sure my Boof sucks and I know my head comes out of the water too soon too often. Point is, I have paddeled all classes of water all over the US and had fun. If you can keep it on line and make a roll, every thing else is just polish for guys trying to go through gates fast. Have fun and keep after it. The guy gave you alot of ideas. Lots of people have screwy golf swings and play good golf.
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Old 10-13-2010   #15
Kayak/SUP Instructor
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The High Ground, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,325
There are lots of ways to paddle a boat. The river is fluid and using a different technique doesn't mean it's "right' or "wrong". We don't all have to paddle the same. For me the the number one rule of kayaking is have fun. Life is too short for much else.I know somebody who has walked a mile in your booties and she'll be sending you a PM. Hang in there.
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"Let us cross the river to the other side and rest beneath the shade of the trees." ~ Last words of Thomas Jonathan ''Stonewall' Jackson
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Old 10-13-2010   #16
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
That's good you've got that DVD.

You don't need to watch it while you're doing the practice. Remember, EJ said our brain only wants to think of about two steps at a time, and so on.

What I would do, is just watch it again before practice, and find something you need to work on, in it. Maybe you've got your roll down, but need to work on brace. Maybe you've got both of those down, but could work on a sculling brace, or a brace, to flip, to roll without going to home base, etc.

And what everyone else has been saying is true, I think. I mean, yeah, a sweep stroke is better for turning and maintaining speed, but you're not slalom racing, so I say, if a rudder works for you, do it. Just as an example.

It's very mental, but it takes some time and commitment to get a consistent combat roll. I can't remember how many times I panicked, even in the playpark, and wet-exited. I still have my work cut out for me too. I could still do with some quicker rolls on the river that I don't go to home base for and stuff like that. It's a continuous progression.

And I still think it's your instructor who was the problem. You shouldn't leave a lesson feeling like that. If it were properly paced, you would only come away feeling like you succeeded in some form or another. But if all an instructor does is say "No, that's wrong, do it like this..." you're going to come away feeling like your doing everything wrong.

Ps. I just realized I've paddled with like half the people in this thread. I should mention they are all better paddlers than me, so take their advice haha. It's my first season.
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Old 10-13-2010   #17
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
BE POSITIVE! If you are coming up to a rapid, great that's why you are there, be excited about it. You flip? No problem it's and opportunity to work on a roll in current. If you swim, awesome, no you can work on self-rescue techniques. All of these are learning tools. If you aren't having fun a looking forward to whats coming up, why are you on the river?

If you style it, great, but maybe next time you pick a harder line through the rapid!

In the snow world we say if you aren't falling you aren't learning. It can be adapted for the water too.

Seriously, have fun and make the best out of the situation, no matter what the situation is.
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Old 10-13-2010   #18
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
Any true lesson Will deal with the fundlementals. First day of any lesson in kayak is stroke technique.... or so we are suppose to teach. Stroke technique equals paddle conscious. Which equals confidence.. take what you learned and work in pool or eddies or strokes before you read there for you cam boat what you read which is equal to confidence... technique is key.
Instead of bragging about bad technique Canada,you should fix if, you know what to fix .. and most of it comes with muscle memory. My wife found it best to paddle with other women to ease stresses.
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Old 10-13-2010   #19
Provo, Utah
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 114
Are you having fun?

I picked paddling up again back in June after almost 10 years. The first (and only) lesson I took was from an individual that probably wasn't qualified. He spent about an hour with me in the pool and then took me down a sharp, bony, and fast class 3 for the next hour. He put me on something over my head not to mention something with far more painful consequences than I should have been on.

After two painfully bloody and bruising swims (literally), I was wondering if I should have picked up paddling again. With my broken confidence I decided that I was going to take it slow and a bit more on my own or with friends. I started hitting the pool and a much more forgiving section of river once a week. I went with friends that took time to help me learn and encouraged me, but did not force me past my skill level.

Now looking back... I got on the water 2-3 times a week all summer. I feel loose and confident in my boat. I push myself more now because I took it slow to build confidence in the beginning. I am paddling more difficult runs and enjoying myself.

So my .02, stay loose, take it slow, and enjoy yourself. Paddling is meant to be fun
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Old 10-13-2010   #20
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Los Quenes, Curico, Chile
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 14
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Lots of info posted already so I'll keep it short.
1. The fact that you took a lesson shows that you care about improving and I think this creates some level of expectation about your boating skills. Before, it didn't matter too much and you had fun. I agree with an above post, go in small groups or just with your boyfriend on an easy section with the goal of having fun.
2. Yes it sounds like you need to go back to the basics - we all do - and it doesn't matter wether you are paddling class 1 or 5, you are still going to use the same basic strokes and body positions. Start in class one or in a pool and do the strokes correctly and repetively with someone who know the correct skills and hierarchy (there are many good kayakers that don't know how to teach). Don't focus on the wave train, focus on the wave.
3. It is typical that you want to run the river during a lesson but I find it is better to go to particular site on the river which has a little current flowing in the center and two eddies on either side. When you get tired (playing and learning) you stop. This lets you set the expectation, not the length or difficulty of the river.
4.Back to the big picture; the two problems here are the mental game and the skills, right? The good news is that skills can be learned through repetition and muscle memory so focus on your skills (as I stated in #2) and perfect them through repetition on the water that you are comfortable on.
5. Finally, don't rush it, make small advances. Yes, some people can jump in and paddle class 3 on their first outing but seems like you have already tried that. Not to mention that they often never learn the skills correctly.

Todd C. Ericson
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