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Old 07-18-2016   #11
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 184
Tons of folks are mediocre at this. The reason I suppose is lack of practice...In a standard day on the rio, there are perhaps a few minutes total that truly require being braced in your rowing seat. Totally not a knock on anyone, its just that a lot of the time sloppy bracing is adequate to get the job done.

The Basics:
Step 1: Get a Triangle! The three points on your triangle are your two feet and your tail bone. Each point needs something solid to push against and it can't slide around. Your tail bone could use a grippy surface, low back seat, gear pile, or angled board. Just sitting on a slippery cooler top is not the best. Feet can be in the corner of frame and rubber or one of those foot bar things. Just putting your feet on a bar where they can slide side to side is bad. A corner or pocket is good.

Step 2: Leg Press. Use your leg muscles to lock your lower body in place. You should feel secure bow to stern and port to stbd. Your knees shouldn't be up in the way of your oar handles on the return stroke, nor should your legs be fully extended. You now feel totally locked in and you are still in your seat ready to row. If you have move out of your seat to feel locked you are doing it wrong.

Step 3: Hands on the Oars and Blades in the Water. You should be pushing as you hit that wave or hole anyway. It is incredible how much stability the oars provide. It makes sense that this would help some, but the benefit is exponential. Maybe it's the engaged core. Whatever, it works. You will know you are doing all of these right because you will not be getting tossed around in the cockpit at whatever level whitewater starts to make you nervous.

Next steps:
Ok, now your boat is up at a 45 (which always feels like 90). Clearly it is time to highside. Your oars are no longer doing you much good (way up in the air or way underwater) so drop them. Have a bunch of reachable handholds picked out ahead of time in different directions. Grab one or two on the high side and haul yourself onto that tube while holding on tight. Try to move your feet and establish a new triangle with your feet and a hand as the points. Practicing requires intentionally getting worked in big holes, but you will be safer for it in the long term. For starters choose holes that have safe runouts.

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Old 07-18-2016   #12
 
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
 
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 447
Good advice!! Drop the oars when your going into something real hairy?
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Old 07-18-2016   #13
 
k2andcannoli's Avatar
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 670
I use a thwart on my play cat for a seat. The obvious disadvantage to this is a lack a back support, but I feel having a good forward lean, keeping your oars working, and getting a solid lock with your legs on the yoke or footbar negates alot of the need to lean back...really resting against your seat baxk is a very poor position, like back seat skiing. I choose the thwart over the seat for two main reasons; the thwart goes from tube to tube, I can highside without dropping my oars by just pushing me to one side or another with my legs. Additionally, the thwart rests on my bottom cross bar on my cat frame, this puts the thwart top roughly the same height as the top cross bar on the frame. This is a very easy way to bring your center of gravity lower, which has huge benefits for stability...additionally a lower seating position means your can run shorter oars.
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Old 07-18-2016   #14
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
I've thought of fabbing a T bar out of a strap and a thick dowel- that would go over my thighs, but only be held in place by my slightly bent knees. Secure it below the front of my seat. Auto eject, but secure and strong to brace against. Has anyone ever seen/tried something like this?

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Old 07-18-2016   #15
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
I've thought of fabbing a T bar out of a strap and a thick dowel- that would go over my thighs, but only be held in place by my slightly bent knees. Secure it below the front of my seat. Auto eject, but secure and strong to brace against. Has anyone ever seen/tried something like this?

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Sounds like an entrapment issue.
Good foot bar and a good seat gives plenty of stability with no entrapment danger
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Old 07-18-2016   #16
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Sounds like an entrapment issue.
Good foot bar and a good seat gives plenty of stability with no entrapment danger
As soon as your legs move, you'd release. Pushing up against it creates all the tension. Then it's just a T without a way to grab you.

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Old 07-18-2016   #17
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,951
Thanks Pearen and others for chiming in on this topic. I know that "rolling out of the seat" move all too well... .

One thing that I'll add is that while you're highsiding in a hole, that oar that's probably popped out of the oarlock can be put to work digging into the current on the downstream side to get you out of the hole.

I concur with those arguing against rigging up entrapment hazards and think your cockpit should have only the essentials in it if you're running water with significant flip potential. Having a good footbar and solid seat are also really good for staying in place.

This also seems like a good time to bring up the three rules of rafting:

1) Stay in the Boat,
2) Stay in the Boat,
3) Don't get out of the boat!

Great discussion!

-AH
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Old 07-18-2016   #18
 
BruceB's Avatar
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 170
Osseous - You could be on to something with the T-bar. Yes there may be an entrapment issue but I encourage you to make one and try it. It will probably take a few iterations but that's the only way to see how it works and deal with the issues that may come up. Keep us posted if you try it.
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Old 07-18-2016   #19
 
OC, CO
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 14
Never drop the oars, never get out of the boat. Simple.
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Old 07-18-2016   #20
 
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by pearen View Post
Tons of folks are mediocre at this. The reason I suppose is lack of practice...In a standard day on the rio, there are perhaps a few minutes total that truly require being braced in your rowing seat. Totally not a knock on anyone, its just that a lot of the time sloppy bracing is adequate to get the job done.

The Basics:
Step 1: Get a Triangle! The three points on your triangle are your two feet and your tail bone. Each point needs something solid to push against and it can't slide around. Your tail bone could use a grippy surface, low back seat, gear pile, or angled board. Just sitting on a slippery cooler top is not the best. Feet can be in the corner of frame and rubber or one of those foot bar things. Just putting your feet on a bar where they can slide side to side is bad. A corner or pocket is good.

Step 2: Leg Press. Use your leg muscles to lock your lower body in place. You should feel secure bow to stern and port to stbd. Your knees shouldn't be up in the way of your oar handles on the return stroke, nor should your legs be fully extended. You now feel totally locked in and you are still in your seat ready to row. If you have move out of your seat to feel locked you are doing it wrong.

Step 3: Hands on the Oars and Blades in the Water. You should be pushing as you hit that wave or hole anyway. It is incredible how much stability the oars provide. It makes sense that this would help some, but the benefit is exponential. Maybe it's the engaged core. Whatever, it works. You will know you are doing all of these right because you will not be getting tossed around in the cockpit at whatever level whitewater starts to make you nervous.

Next steps:
Ok, now your boat is up at a 45 (which always feels like 90). Clearly it is time to highside. Your oars are no longer doing you much good (way up in the air or way underwater) so drop them. Have a bunch of reachable handholds picked out ahead of time in different directions. Grab one or two on the high side and haul yourself onto that tube while holding on tight. Try to move your feet and establish a new triangle with your feet and a hand as the points. Practicing requires intentionally getting worked in big holes, but you will be safer for it in the long term. For starters choose holes that have safe runouts.
Some of the most clearly articulated and useful info I've ever seen on this site....and delivered without ego too! Thanks!
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