High Brace on the Right - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-16-2006   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 9
High Brace on the Right


I've been having promlems with my High Brace on my right. I roll putting the paddle on my right and pulling up with my left arm which is why i think my Left High Brace works fine and my right doesn't . Anyone got any tips?
Thanks very much,

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Old 08-16-2006   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,303
Easiest fix: don't use a high brace. Use a low brace, or better yet, just take a strong forward stroke whenever you feel off balance. A forward stroke gives you enough purchase off the water to do a hip snap, and get back to a well balanced position. It also helps you maintain your speed, so even if the first hole stalls you, you can still carry enough momentum to clear the second hole.

The only time I use a 'high brace' is when I do a low brace and keep falling. Once my body is all the way in the water and still on a low brace, I switch it to a roll setup. So, not really a high brace, but kinda.

The only time a high brace is potentially needed is when you are really close to going all the way over, and then its usually easier just to pull a really quick roll. If you want to stay upright because it is shallow, then I often find that it is much safer to go almost all the way down, and then roll off my elbow (elbow on rock), using my elbow pads.

In short. Don't learn to high brace. It's an unneeded skill in my not so humble opinion.

My quick rant. Back to work...
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 08-16-2006   #3
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 194
I would have to disagree with Cutch, the high brace is a much needed skill because it is extremely effective and fast in getting you back upright. Unfortunately though, it can be dangerous as many shoulder injuries happen while doing a high brace. It's too bad really because it would be a nice tool to have. In reality though, low is the way to go, so just go low....
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Old 08-16-2006   #4
pnw, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,408
i am with cutch, dont use it
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Old 08-16-2006   #5
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
I wouldn't recommend intentionally using it. However, sometimes it happens instinctually and it can be useful at times. If you do high brace, keep your elbow and shoulder in and drop your ear to your shoulder just like a roll. This makes a huge difference.

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Old 08-17-2006   #6
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 9
High Brace on Right

Thanks very mcuh for your help, i'll give all those things ago because i do have to do Hanging Draw to pass BDU(British Canoe Union) 3*.
Thanks again
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Old 08-17-2006   #7
gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 396
i use keep my hands in tight to my shoulders when i highbrace these days, lifting your elbows to highbrace is a mistake, oww ow ow ow,l i say keep them low, hold your hands to your shoulders and use the hipsnap-bodyroll. you might want to use your body to compensate for lost leverage. it also sounds like you need to mind the orientation of your paddle blades on the water, if you are using an offset paddle, reverse your wrists from where they would be if you were rolling

of course my tech. has some probs, its a total last resort, since it isnt really effective until i am really far over and in most situations it leaves me on a back deck roll if i do flip over, therefore leaving my face exposed (time to cross iron)
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Old 08-17-2006   #8
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Cutch, good answer!!!
I just can't make myself stop doing it!!! I'm still getting over a bad brace from two weeks ago. Ouch!!!! How do I re-train myself?
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Old 08-17-2006   #9
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,303

Quit bracing cold turkey. Everytime you feel yourself going over, tuck tight and do the fastest roll you can. For me, my backdeck roll is ALWAYS faster than a brace (a forward stroke is the fastest). I'm working with the current which is trying to flip me, not against it. Learn the backdeck, which is easiest to learn in moving flatwater, or better yet, a small friendly hole. Andy is correct, keep your forearm in front of your face/mouth.

Second, adjust your body postion. Too many paddlers tend to paddle in a lazy boy body position. They lean slightly back, and there elbows are bent, meaning their paddle is close to their body. This position has multiple disadvantages, one of them having to do with bracing. If your paddle is close to your body and you start getting off balance then you don't have any room to get another forward stroke and are forced to use an ineffective brace (ineffective relative to a paddle strokeĀ—its that negative stroke vs positive stroke that you learned about way back in the day). However, if you lean forward and have your elbows STRAIGHT (no more than a 15 degree bend on the bottom arm*) then your paddle is already in front of your torso and in the starting position for a forward stroke. You can get that positive stroke as you are going over because the blade is already in the proper position, and that's what will get you back to a balanced position.

*"my elbows have to bend to take a stroke" Then its a sign that you aren't rotating your torso enough. Flatwater drill- lock both elbows and paddle. The only way you can do this is by using proper torso rotation. This will teach you to use the power from a torso windup, which comes from your stomach (the best ad workout in the world).

Basically start by working on a good upright body position with your paddle as far out in front of your torso as possible (the only elbow bend is fron the top hand pushing, pre-push). Pretend your riding a chopper bike and are stretched forward just to reach the grips. Do this on a lake. And just intentionally roll more (which is always scary). You can also practice taking forward strokes in flatwater, then as you are falling taking another stroke to right yourself.

...and this is way too long. sorry.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 08-17-2006   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
I totally agree on using the low brace and a modified forward stroke to keep yourself upright as first choices. With that said, I disagree on not using the high brace, as it definitely has its place. As others have said, if you train yourself to keep your shoulder very low and your elbow in, like you are smashing a tennis ball in your armpit, the high brace technique can be very fast and effective. If you are flipping and find yourself in a position where the high brace is the closest and quickest stroke, go for it. Its the end of a standard roll. If you keep your head to the ear as count said and use some hip snap it will get you upright. Good places to use it would be when surfacing after subbing out from a big drop. Another good place is when you get jacked really quick by a rock or something and find your self almost underwater, but your paddle is right in the position to execute the brace. Some places even going upside down for a quick backdeck roll will yield major blows, and a high brace could be less risky.

As for learning the low brace. I got some really good advice from Sam Drevo in a clinic on that one. Go to flatwater, an eddy etc. Lean to the side, slap the low brace, and hip snap and head dink. Repeat shit loads of times. Do 30-40 on each side each river trip (Sam actually said do a couple of thousand of them to get the muscle memory wired!). Go do some easy late season runs, and in a rapid, let yourself start to fall over and only try to use the low brace to keep you up. Start the run with the mental plan that you will low brace on purpose to keep you up. Don't even paddle through a rapid, just low brace off of every wave and feature you find.

I also find that a modified low brace that is pushing slightly forward works well too. While it may give up a bit of momentum, it brings your body forward at the end of the stoke and puts you in an aggressive position to go immediately to a forward stroke. Sometimes the lowbrace can get hung up on your side and you still need to get it to the front of the boat to take a forward stroke. Just my two cents.
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