Beginner With Control Issues - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-18-2005   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Beginner With Control Issues

Am I the only person to take up kayaking that has problems with the forward stroke? For some reason I find myself spinning in circles when I paddle. All the other newbies had no problem mastering it. This is very dangerous. On my first trip I got high centered on a dam while I was trying to avoid a strainer. I had no control of where I was going. It scared me a little. I have been working on my forward stroke on the pond but I still spin in circles. I can go about 10 yards then I lose control. I adjust my paddle strength for each side to try to keep it strait. Every time I end up spinning. I realize that these boats aren’t made to go in a strait line, this part is obvious. I am eager to get on the river again but not until I have my forward stroke down. Has anyone else had this problem? Anyone have suggestions? This is very frustrating and is turning me off a little.

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Old 07-18-2005   #2
KSC
 
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See? You never should have gotten that M3! Just kidding. I don't really have any advice though. Try to keep the boat flat with your hips as you paddle, maybe play with the seat position?
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Old 07-18-2005   #3
 
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It seems to have to do with shifting weight between your left/right buttock, putting upwards pressure with your left/right knee, and waist rotation as you paddle. Keep practicing on flat water. Its like finding your balance on a bicycle. Cant explain it, eventually it just clicks.
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Old 07-18-2005   #4
 
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The M:3

In regards to the M: 3; it works just fine. I think I would be having more trouble in a smaller, edgier boat. I was told that a river runner would flip over more often than a creek boat. I don’t have a roll yet, so I think that the creek boat would be better. I want something to get me down the river. I am lucky to get through holes and eddies. I am not yet ready to surf them. I had trouble in a Liquid Logic creek boat too. The paddle doesn’t seem to make a difference either.

I have gotten couple compliments on my boat. Mostly from advanced paddlers that want one for themselves. I think KSC is just jealous because he doesn’t have one. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-18-2005   #5
 
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Laramie, Wyoming
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Have you thought about getting a lesson? A good instructor should be able to pick apart your stroke and figure out what's going wrong. Aside from that maybe get EJ's Whitewater Paddling Strokes & Concepts and practice, practice, practice. As far as getting scared, that's the best part about paddling! If you don't want to get scared take up one of those pussy sports like golf or playboating!
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Old 07-18-2005   #6
 
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Lessons

I took a two day flatwater/river lesson and all the instructor had to say was that I needed to paddle from my torso more. I have been paddling from my torso and it just makes the spinning more pronounced.
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Old 07-18-2005   #7
Don
 
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Forward Stroke

The Forward Stroke may be one of the toughest things to master when you start kayaking. And, yes the boat your in does make it harder. Being in more of a creek boat design makes it more likely to turn when you'd rather be going straight. Tough, but not impossible.

Here are a few tips to going straight:

1) sit up and don't lean back at the end of your stroke.
2) a forward stroke is a vertical stroke- keep it close to the boat
3) take the paddle out of the water when it gets to your hip- the further back you remove to more your turning the boat.
4) pick a target in the distance to paddle toward- don't get caught up with watching your paddle or watching the front of your boat.

Your paddle is your: Steering wheel, your gas peddle, and your brake. So, when your not using it- your'e flying in cruise control. You boat is made to turn-so when your not driving or contolling it with the paddle- it's going to do what it wants (turn). Take control: sit-up, pick a traget in the distance, pull the paddle out before it reaches your hip, and always control the boat with the paddle. Just a few things you can do to master the forward stroke.
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Old 07-18-2005   #8
 
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Keep the paddle in close to the boat, a wide sweeping stroke will tend to spin you more than a close, tight stroke. If you start to spin, then use a wider sweeping stroke to correct.

Don't bring your paddle past your hips. Pulling too far will put more weight on the stern which seems to allow the front to wander. Keeping the stroke in front of the hips also allows you to get into a low brace or backstroke quicker. If you get knocked at the end of a long forward stroke you will tend to fall into a high brace (which should be more of a last resort kind of brace). Keep in a forward agressive position when paddling hard.

-d
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Old 07-18-2005   #9
KSC
 
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Quote:
Being in more of a creek boat design makes it more likely to turn when you'd rather be going straight. Tough, but not impossible.
Don, could you explain why this is true? That's certainly been my experience, but I'm not sure I completely understand the physics behind it - i.e. what boat characteristics make it so. It also seems contradictory to the idea that creek boats track better - can you explain the distinction? Thanks!


Quote:
I think KSC is just jealous because he doesn’t have one.
No way, those boats suck. Sure you don't want to sell it cheap?
(Actually I have one!)
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Old 07-18-2005   #10
 
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Oops, sorry for the duplicate post, must of been typing too long. I think Don's was a bit clearer though.

You may want to take a look at your seat position too. Moving it forward might help. I've found if I paddle, lean back, and coast, my boats will spin almost instantly. If I lean forward, it'll track for a while. Don't overdo it, you want to be balanced with equal rocker on both ends.

-d
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