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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

I have been playing with these ideas with my teaching this past year as I was trying to find a creative way to overcome a beginners most common aggravation, veer. I realized it might not be the beginner but how we as instructors introduce the concept of edging as a band aid for stability when exiting an eddy into the current, and likewise, when driving from the current into the eddy. Play with this idea the next time you are out on some flow.

ARTICLE:
Whitewater Troubleshooter » Blog Archive » Are you aware of how your boat moves? Episode 4

VIDEO ONLY:
Whitewater Troubleshooter - Momentum - Episode 4 - YouTube

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Chris Wing
 

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Thanks especially for this one! As a novice WW boater, but an experienced sports instructor I'd agree with you that skill presentation is dramatically key particularly in the first few hours of learning a sport that is as kinesthetic as WW or snow skiing and one that relies so heavily on balance.

I wonder if many WW beginners chomp at the bit to get out on the river, whereas they might become more confident paddlers sooner if more initial time was spent on flatwater hull/paddle/balance skills.

Leaving the thrill/skill tradeoff, as well as the economics of this tradeoff, aside for a moment, are you implying that more beginning time be spent on flatwater learning hull control & balance before heading to the river? Then more time on this when first on the river?

Like your demo of that flat-ferry. Also like the way you point out how spin could make things easier in moving water. I wonder if more teaching time goes into edging while sacrificing other aspects of hull control because not enough time is spent on getting students comfortable in tippy, wiggly boats.

This wouldn't be unlike the earlier days of snow skiing instruction where lots of beginning time would be spent in a snowplow because of its stability and the resulting reduction of student fear (hence increase in confidence). The evolution of equipment changed how the sport was taught. Might it be that the evolution of WW teaching hasn't caught yet up to the rapid change in WW hull and hydrodynamics?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
actually quite the opposite!

I actually try to get people to moving water as quickly as possible, namely because many flatwater drills are ambiguous and hard to translate to the current. What better way to practice for current than on the current?

That being said, I find that I will spend a bit more time on flatwater drills for folks with inhibitions so they start to feel more comfortable inside the boat. I find the flatwater drills a lot of times translate better after folks have had some experience in current and will either introduce or re-introduce those drills then.

Truth is, I use a variety of approaches depending on a persons comfort, fitness and grasp for the concepts. Of course, when teaching a group, a different dynamic will be introduced.

The way I am progressing through this series in large part is how I would progress with many advanced beginners. I'm happy you are enjoying the series!
 

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Chris, thanks for another great video. Coincidentally recently I have been aiming to reduce my reliance on edging, and your video was another reinforcement to the theory and practice behind where edging is really needed and where not.

I recently did a course with Simon Westgarth who gave some distinct examples of how an over reliance on edging can be a huge detriment in really pushy water.

This last year I took up some practice of slalom paddling, and they too minimise their edging. Quite often they will paddle directly towards where they want to go, crossing a mid river eddy without any sort of S-turn. Instead a well timed and effective positive control stroke such as a sweep is used to keep the boat tracking and flat through the eddy section instead of turning back up stream or catching.

As you say in the video, Chris, the boat moves and tracks with more momentum when the hull is flat. One other aspect here is something I picked up from Simon Westgarth in that the hull isn't needed to be kept flat in terms of spirit level flat. Instead to keep the tracking and momentum/speed the hull needs to be kept flat to the surface of the water that the kayak is traveling over. Something I need a lot of practice at actually doing!

Just like forward paddling I suppose, with the topic of edging etc the more it is looked at the deeper it goes, and trying to encapsulate it all for a beginner will be very tricky.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the additional insight Simon, I think we will be seeing a new trend in paddlesports instruction very soon. It's a much needed breath of fresh air that I think that paddlesports instruction has been waiting for a long while now.

By the way, I am not dismissive of old techniques, I am just constantly in search of faster and more efficient ways of teaching. Thnaks for the views and feedback, let's keep this ball rolling.
 
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