creekboat help - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-31-2006   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 31
creekboat help

So this is kind of a stupid question... however: I have always paddled a boat with edges, and just recently bought a creekboat. I love the boat, but I can't seem to navigate with it at all- turning into eddies, ferrying... everything feels like I'm out of control. So basically: any tips on getting used to the hull? getting into eddies? being able to steer in general?


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Old 08-31-2006   #2
gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 394
haha, yeah ive got the same problems. if someome put a gun to my head and said i had to take one of my kayaks and run the GC o' the stikine or something like that, id have to take one of my playboats.

i think the trick is to buy a more powerful paddle and learn to use it better, and to engage the "edges" really really hard

remember "sweep" strokes? I can but I cant remember the last time i used one.
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Old 08-31-2006   #3
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 194
I paddle a LL Huck and have the same problem, however, I came from paddling a Stubby which has a very similiar hull to many creek boats. I feel pretty comfortable with these non-tracking beasts, but I would lover to hear what others have to say.

Unlike a playboat where you can point it in the right direction and just paddle straight, I found you just need to stay on it and constantly focus on your line. Soon it becomes second nature and you will begin to feel comfortable being "out of control".

I never found getting into eddys difficult, but I do lean way way into it.

The positive to all this is these boats usually turn on a dime and with the slightest of ease.
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Old 08-31-2006   #4
pnw, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,408
Buy a Burn...
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Old 08-31-2006   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
A couple of thoughts on this. I had similar issues this year. First off, going from a playboat to a creekboat or vice-versa feels really wierd at first. You will get the hang of it, you just have to get the feel of how the boat handles.

As for eddying, you need to really emphasize the leaning of the boat to get it to carve into an eddy. You also have to pay more attention to angle, speed, and taking a big sweep stroke to get you into the eddy and initiate the turning motion. I felt like I would try to hit an eddy and that I would just keep blowing downstream. I took a clinic at CKS paddlefest and Pat Keller gave me some great advice on that. He said to approach the eddy with the right angle (about 45 degress) and the right speed (not too fast). When you make the eddy turn, use a good sweep, and really edge the boat agressiovely to get it to carve into the eddy. If left that way the boat carves a very long radius turn as compared to a playboat. Pat's comment was that once you were in the eddy to flatten out your edge and that the boat would "snap around". I tried it and it works. With your playboat you are used to the snap of an edgy boat. When your creek boat is on its "edge" or when you have a good tilt it wants to carve a long smooth arc, as soon as you flatten out the hull you automatically transfer that arcing momentum to a flat spinning momentum that turns the boat around. Same thing as paddling forward and then stopping, almost all kayaks will turn around immediately. Try it. Also for eddies you will need to hit the eddy a little bit further downstream as the longer boat will end up hitting the rock or whatever feature causes the eddy when you try to enter it at the same spot that you would with a playboat.

Another thing I find is that playboats get you used to small strokes and can promote shitty form if you are not really paying attention. When you get in the creekboat you need to take big ass strong good form sweeps to get the boat to move. For ferrying your angle needs to be less than in the playboat too. The bigger boat wants to get blown downstream easier than the playboat if you have too aggressive of a ferry angle, and the recovery sweep to keep the boat on the proper ferry anlge is much more difficult. The answer for ferrying is to come out with less of a ferry angle and figure out the right angle vs. speed of current and distance of ferry to get yourself where you need to be.

The other thing is to learn to use the strenghts of the creek boat. I'm not sure which one you have, but I have a nomad. It tracks well once you have it pointed in the right direction, and it carries momentum very well. That means that I need to figure out the right line, speed and momentum, but once I'm on it, its bomber and you are kicking butt. You might be used to floating any which way in the playboat and needing only one stroke to get you where you want to be. With the creekboat I generally want to be pointed in the right direction with the right momentum, and from there its a matter of keeping it on track and keeping up the momentum.

Using the strenghts of the boat also means learning to use the speed and the longer hull. I find ferries in the playboat to require lots of correction, you get pushed around, and you can get pushed off line. In a relatively faster creekboat that holds a line well, you can come out of the eddy, make a few aggressive stokes and ferry across pushy current on in the middle of rapids and still be totally in control. Its amazing the difference it makes when you learn how to use it.

To practice this, find a good bit of current with eddies on either side, and practice coming out of the eddy and try to dial in the right angle and speed so that you only need a couple of powerful downstream sweeps to pull you across the river.

I second the comment on a larger blade or a longer blade. It takes a lot more power to turn the boat, and more blade leverage works well. I had a 194 cm paddle, but switched to a 197 and like the little extra power that I get. On the sweeps, you also need to go back to the basics and really use the torso rotation and a longer and more pronounced stroke. Half sweeps with your arms won't cut it.

For peeling out of an eddy, a bit of speed coming out of the eddy, a good sweep to turn you into the current, a good agressive downstream lean to get the boat arcing, and agressive strokes on the downstream side of the boat will give you strong controlled peelouts in really pushy current.

I guess to sum it up, big sweeps, agressive leans for arcing the boat, using speed and tracking to your advantage, and getting your stoke form dialed in really help. A last thought for eddies is that you can use a duffek to pull the boat around in eddy if you find it harder to catch the small eddies. Big sweep to get in with aggressive lean, and then a duffek high in the eddy with the other hand as you flatten out our lean should do the trick.
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Old 08-31-2006   #6
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Join Date: May 2005
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is this sarah c or what? if so were you on the river much this summer? i looked for you a bunch but never saw you! if youre still around or next time youre back lets go boating
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Old 08-31-2006   #7
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 31
yeah this is sarah c...
for the record - I just bought the smaller Nomad. I mostly have just flat water to work with 'til next spring so I will just have to do a lot of turns and paddling practice in the lake... thanks for all the help!
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