Questions from the new guy.....

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by GoatBoy, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. GoatBoy

    GoatBoy Paddler

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    Got out for the sixth time tonight, I'll need drugs and rehabilitation to stop this now. Couple of questions though, if anybody is interested:

    1) Foot pegs. Balls of your feet on them, or on the arches. I was finding myself more comfortable with the pegs on the arch, but didn't experiment enough to really feel for a difference.

    2) Feet, up and down, or Vee shaped? My feet are quite large, so up and down can be a challenge. Is their an advantage to either?

    3) Paddling for speed, short sprints. Basically from what I've read/experimented with, what I'm trying to do is cock the body 30-45 degrees, dip the paddle at about 45 degrees, and PULL through 90 degrees.

    Not trying to beat up on the water, trying to keep a smooth steady rhythm, perhaps 60 strokes/minute? But when the paddle submerges, apply the maximum amount of force in the minimum amount of time.

    What I'm finding, is that the pushing hand that is chest/shoulder level is leveraging forward, almost like a bench press, but the harder I push, the more the hand collapses, which resulted in a tiny little blister on the lower inside part of each thumb.

    I don't think it's so much from a white knuckled death grip on the paddle as it is, when you apply force to the palm, the hand closes.
    Should I take this as working too hard? Against myself?

    4) Rudder, as a new guy, would you use it? Tried it for the first time today, and was rather impressed. But still can't help but think, learn to paddle properly without before getting used to it?

    Thanks much for all that contribute. BTW, even for a planned dip, the water in English bay has gotten a little bit........breath taking?
     
  2. lance_randy

    lance_randy Paddler

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    I'll take a crack at it:

    1) and 2. Whatever feels natural is the best. As long you can get your feet crammed in there some way, you are good.

    3)I tend to think more about pushing with the tricep on opposite hand than pulling with the working arm.

    Just like with your bench, keep your wrist straight, and your forearm in line with the paddle. The torso rotation that I use is like a slight abdominal crunch, with some forward movement as well as a twist.

    You will get crazy callouses on the insides of your thumbs. Those are paddlers hands;)

    The hand should not close when you apply force with the palm. If you close your palm, you wrist will bend as you push your hand forward. This is one of the things that gives so many paddles tendon trouble.

    To get the super loose grip going is just practice. Your hand is probably wanting to close, because there is some flutter to the paddle, which is just practice to get rid of it.

    Just make sure to open your fingers with your pushing hand, think about keeping your shoulders, arms and traps relaxed. Let your core muscles provide the power, your arms and shoulders are just there to guided that force.
     
  3. GoatBoy

    GoatBoy Paddler

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    Thanks!

    I think the good news would be, I am really sore in the but, lower back and hips region. But then Traps are sore too, which I take as not so good.

    And sorry, wording was poor. I see it like a lever, as you say, more push than pull. I guess I meant the act of pulling the boat forward.
     
  4. thief

    thief Paddler

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    my answer for the footpegs:

    pull them out...and put in a foam bulkhead.....angle the top of the bulkhead away from you a bit (15-20 degree slope) and you are good to go......

    [​IMG]

    that way you are not only using one part of your foot...and you can move around a bit as well as you need to...the triangular hole at the top is where i stuff my pump so that it is out of the way but still readily available

    i had to add 9" of foam since Wilderness Systems refused to do a custom bulkhead placement....

    what sort of boat are you using???
     
  5. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    I plan to do the same when I (finally) get a boat, but I'm thinking of leaving a gap between to allow me to stretch my legs (one at a time) every so often.
     
  6. GoatBoy

    GoatBoy Paddler

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    That's really cool, looks comfy. I'm just renting right now, only been out 7 times. A couple of generic rentals from Ecomarine, A Current Designs ?????, A Nimbus ????? and just tried out a plastic Necky Looksha yesterday from Kaymaran. That was a joy.
     
  7. lomcevak

    lomcevak Paddler

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    I find dropping the rudder on my Current Designs Solstice slows me down by a full half-knot. But, as a somewhat inexperienced paddler, in wave or a strong crosswind it makes keeping a direction easier.


    I find the seat about the most comfortable I've tried (not much experience though, only 7 different kayaks from maybe 4 different manufacturers).
     
  8. lomcevak

    lomcevak Paddler

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    As for the hands, whether it be motorcycle, bike, or kayaking, a good, comfortable, pair of gloves can do wonders.
     
  9. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    By the fact you are asking for advice here tells me your concerned about learning the right way...

    I have said this here before...
    Like any motor-skill sport, starting out the right way is crucial.
    I recommend finding a real good instructor, someone who has a reputation of knowing the forward stroke (technically) really well.
    If you muddle around yourself from the start, and/or get bad advice, you will develop bad habits that will cement into muscle memory.
    Once you have cemented bad habits, they are very hard to get rid of.
    Additionally, a lot of the skills are interconnected...if one starts with good solid basic skills, everything else comes easier.

    My advice...research for a really good instructor, spend the dough, and learn the right way out of the chute...it will speed up your progress.

    BTW...I am not an instructor.
     
  10. lance_randy

    lance_randy Paddler

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    Cripes, I've never had a lesson....I hope I'm not doing it all wrong!
     
  11. Ken B

    Ken B Paddler

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    LOL...just my perspective lance :wink:
    To each their own really.

    Some people don't really care...they buy a kayak and some gear and go paddling...through time, a percentage of those people seek to develop better skills.
    Some people are 'Natural Athletes' and pick skills up easily/quickly.

    It sounds like GoatBoy wants to learn to be more technically sound sooner than later.

    Some people are lucky to have experienced and knowledgable paddle buddies when they start to help them out.
    Others (like it appears to be with GoatBoy) don't have the luxury...for those, my advice is to hire good instruction.
     
  12. dvfrggr

    dvfrggr Paddler

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    Randy, Remember this Post of yours? :p

    Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:09 pm Post subject:
    Dubside IS super impressive however. I was fortunate enough to take a class with him when he was in Vic, and I was very impressed. Not only with his rolling skills, but with his ability to teach, and the depth of understanding he brought to G rolling.

    Dave R
     
  13. lance_randy

    lance_randy Paddler

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    Doh... You got me!

    I had one with Cheri Perri too, and now that I think about it, I have attended more than one 'on the water' demo/lesson at Ladysmith, and at the MEC Paddle Fest.

    Of course I can't forget all the invaluable lessons people taught me along the way too. The guy who first taught me how to roll, people at the pool, etc.
     
  14. GoatBoy

    GoatBoy Paddler

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    Cheers, thanks for the advice.

    I am kind of a, teach myself do-it-yourselfer kind of guy, but also humble enough to realize that the Ocean is more than capable of killing, before you even start adding in people.

    I guess you could say, I've got some big dreams in the boat. Like someday crossing the Straight, getting up to Johnston straight and the nasty tides, Sunshine coast kayak camping, etc. Thinking I don't really want to tie the shoe laces together before leaving the start line.

    So far I've done 3/4 of level 1 at Ecomarine, but I mean, that's like, "Here's how to not die, now go teach yourself the skills." Half the class is wasted just rounding everybody up.

    Also trying to figure out how much is equipment, how much is operator and how much is environment. IE, took out one of Ecomarine's yellow boats, don't know what type, that was pretty cool. Then tried a Looksha, and thought that it was great, definitely more enjoyable. But then yesterday I just fell in love with a Delta 17. But then, how much is skill improvement? What is the big difference in the boats, I mean the hull form is obvious, but what else? Just not enough experience.

    Private instruction does sound like a good idea.

    And sorry folks, more questions if you will:

    1) How much damage can you do grounding a kayak? We were out off the west side of Westham Island yesterday, probably 3/4 to 1 mile off shore, but forgot to check the tides and were rather shocked to discover we were in 3 feet of water. Lots of rocks and logs out there, kind of nervous with rental boats.

    2) Wildlife: I took a stab in the dark and guessed that when a mute swan lifts it's wings 1/3 of the way up while swimming by, it's probably a better idea to vacate the neighborhood in a more rapid fashion. Some really big salt water seals or possibly sea lions? Not harbor seals, I mean like a head the size of a basketball. Any not so fun encounters, they ever try to climb on decks like the little guys do? Any wildlife to specifically avoid?

    3) Would you buy a paddle before owning a kayak? I've seen columns that say the paddle should match the kayak, and others that don't mention it at all. Any thoughts? Was kind of figuring that at 6'4", it's going to be a 230-235 cm paddle, and trying for a consistent and steady paddle, a smaller blade.

    4) Navigation: Going to take the courses at Eco eventually, but just in basic things like where to/where not to go? I mean, it's obvious to stay out of the harbor, but we were thinking about crossing the Fraser near Steveston, but it's also a commercial route. We took the route that, we really don't know enough about the environment to be that brave. How did you learn? Any good reading?

    Thanks a lot for all the help. Being as new as I am, the search function isn't much help without specific terminology and such, but am slowly working my way back through the entire forum.
     
  15. lance_randy

    lance_randy Paddler

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    Definitely spend lots of time trying many different paddles before you buy an expensive one.

    The shorter the paddle, the easier it is on the shoulders. I had a 215, then went to a 210, now I feel just right with a 205. I'm five foot nine.

    Which is to say nothing of Greenland paddles, which are their own thing, and totally worth looking into.

    A person can spend a small fortune trying to get their paddle situation sorted. I know sure did. :roll:
     
  16. sludge

    sludge Paddler

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    well, additionally, generally, the smaller the blade, the easier on the shoulders.
     
  17. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    Lots of variables. At least a scratch in the hull. Maybe from stem to stern. A bad scratch will go through the gelcoat exposing fiberglass. I've knocked a chip out of the gelcoat hitting a rock with a loaded kayak in surge conditions. I've seen pictures of kayaks that start tearing apart when grounding in surf. Do it in really bad surf (like around the Hoorn) and you might be floating in a sea of fiberglass chips.

    Scratches are unavoidable. You can mitigate by getting in and out of the kayak in knee deep water and avoid dragging the kayak anywhere.

    Good ethics is that you don't paddle so close to the creatures so as to disturb them. Not possible but a standard to strive for.

    There are regulations about whales. You are not supposed to approach within a set distance.

    http://www.britishcolumbia.com/wildlife/?id=104

    My understanding is the paddle size is determined by your physical size. Nothing to do with the boat.

    The blade size is a function of strength; a bigger spoon needs bigger muscles and endurance to power it over the distance. Thats something you might learn about yourself by renting for a while.

    When you are on the water you are the captain of your boat and are responsible for everything that happens in the context of the shipping act.

    I would recommend taking the Canada Power and Sail Boating Course. They will teach you about navigation and the basics of seamanship. You will get knowledge well beyond that needed for the pleasure craft operator certificate that is included. Take the VHF course while you're at it.

    As far as I am aware there are no boating closures that affect kayakers.
    Even Robson Bight is a voluntary closure, albeit one that ethical paddlers will observe. You are allowed to paddle anywhere on the ocean.
     
  18. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    un-powered vessels are prohibited between the First and Second Narrows in Burrard inlet. i think? help me out here, Dan.

    Daren......
     
  19. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    That's correct, Daren. Don't go there. :wink:

    *****
     
  20. ken_vandeburgt

    ken_vandeburgt Paddler

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    That's interesting. Under whose authority?

    I should also mention there is a closure around the Navy ships in Esquimalt harbour. You're not allowed within 500 meters. MND authority.