Future of Freestyle
The Future of Freestyle
For years, I've attended freestyle events ("rodeos") or watched videos of them. Or watched experts practicing, from the banks of the Nantahala or elsewhere. Everybody's 360s, of varying types, got progressively faster and more dynamic.
But at some point, I thought, these moves are pretty much all the same, differing only in the degree of flashiness. (I never was good enough, or motivated enough, to practice them myself.)
This boredom and disenchantment grew, and I started asking myself: "Is this all there is?"
I thought back to my days as a C-boater in the DC area in the mid-1970s. Hundreds, maybe thousands of us played around in the Potomac Gorge, including the Maryland Chute at Difficult Run rapids.
The impressive move back then, before the squirt boats arrived, was the "donut," in which you did a complete turn in the hole, involving several strokes (present-day boaters would probly be incredulous at the work involved, if they watched old footage).
But some of us had another thing, which we called Upstreaming. We surfed the wave taking strokes only off the UPSTREAM current, BEFORE it hit the hole and broke. This wasn't easy. It was hard to keep the paddle blade at just the right angle to surf--but not flip. It was hard not to flip, but when we succeeded in surfing and staying upright, it was a big rush.
It struck me, why not add Upstreaming as an event at the rodeos. The moves that would develop would almost certainly not be anywhere as dynamic as the regular stuff, and spectators might scratch their heads and ask, "Why are they doing this?" They'd have no idea of the difficulty. But I think that paddling aficianados would find it fascinating and appreciate it. Anyway, I think that it could be added to rodeos for a change of pace.
As to the rules, as I envisage them, both power strokes and braces would have to be taken in the upstream current. But in rolls, anything would be allowed.
(Two things I should mention:
1--I realize that MountainBuzz.com is probly not the appropriate forum to bring up something like this, but it's the only forum I'm familiar with (I'm an old man now, and haven't been keeping up with the Internet like I should.)
2--There's a high probability, I know, that something like Upstreaming may have been incorporated into freestyle long ago. I throw it out on the chance that it might seem new or spark discussion.)
Best wishes and good paddling!