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My longest Sunday afternoon trip to date

I’ll add this: I heard Oscar Chalupsky say that when a long race is over, he has trouble standing because his legs are so tired. And his training routine includes one-legged squats. That gives you an idea of how important the legs are.

Lisa will be racing the final of the K1 200m in an hour and a half. She's just set an Olympic record in her final heat!

UPDATE: Make that two Gold medals in just over an hour!

EPDATE: Make that three Gold medals!

A year ago I was at an instructors' assessors' conference and I was arguing that we shouldn't have a 'touring' stroke AND a 'power' stroke. My point was that the mechanics should be the same, it was just the amount of force applied that should be different.

As way of example I said that if we had Lisa Carrington paddling and asked her to paddle 20km rather than her normal 200metres, would her stroke 'style' change. One of the other assessors replied, "I don't know, I wouldn't be able to keep up to see!" :):):)
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BTW, a good efficient forward stroke isn't just about paddling faster.

There are times when you will be happy to have a bit more power 'on tap' - paddlng up-current to get around the top of an island, driving a loaded boat out through waves to get off the beach, needing to paddle upwind to get to another boat needing assistance, towing, etc..
Having an efficient stroke means that you'll have 'more left in the tank' at the end of the day when it's time to hump gear up to a tentsite and set up camp on a trip, too.
That's childs play John :wink:

What am I saying, my top recorded speed in my old kayak was 12km according to my phones GPS and that was hoofing it.
I was actually pleased with it.
I could probably do better in my present boat but no longer have a waterproof phone to find out.
JA Asked about videos and Greenland paddling -

Greenland paddling storm and race strokes

Sea kayak forward stroke - body position for powerful sea kayak forward stroke
Especially at 2:41 you will see the push. Also note the body rotation
2:45 watch the paddle go in and sweep outwards during the stroke. Subtle, yes but that's what we're talking about.

A lowish stroke but a lot of body actually being used

The Greenland Paddle Forward Stroke

Greg Stamer's onshore demonstration shows him with straight-ish arms. Yes, a paddler on the water bending elbows. I certainly don't do elbow bending except to pull the blade out of the water. Also how high the paddle is, that is horizontal-ish or vertical. In a hurry my paddle will be vertical and there is somewhere a video of racing with the paddlers using vertical strokes as per any racing stroke.

Look at 1:29 for a bit of speed. Watch the shoulders.

While we are talking paddles etc. there are a lot of videos showing holding the paddle over the head with elbows at 90 degrees to sort out hand grip width. The only problem is those who make the videos don't check them. Their elbows will be at about 70 degrees or if at 90 degrees, their upper arms are not horizontal. Basically a bunch of idiots, especially with one, a cranked shaft and he is holding it way out from the proper place to hold it but still with 70 degree elbows.
JA Asked about videos and Greenland paddling -
Thanks for posting those links.

Looks to me like a lot of arm paddling using bending arms to produce power, with some shoulder rotation thrown in at the end to help pull the elbows even further back, but I'm no expert.

It would be good to get Lisa Carrington's coach to comment on those videos!
What I find interesting about those high speed paddlers is how much splashing / spray there is from their paddle stroke.
One thing I like about a Greenland Paddle is if it's hand crafted you can tune it to your personal style to help reduce any splash.
I suppose you can do the same with any wooden. Paddle.
... you can tune it to your personal style ...

Whenever these discussions come up, I feel compelled (and forgive me the compulsion) to point out that in recreational kayaking everyone's proportions are different. I don't mean by a little either.

The point was driven home again watching various events at the Olympics in Tokyo. Elite athletes tend to a specific body type, that is then coached and developed to the extreme performance demands of their discipline. The end result is that the women doing the high jump have a completely different morphology than the women in track cycling (Yay Canada!). This is helpful for athletes and coaches because they know what the performance parameters are for height, weight, reach, range of motion, heartrate, VO2, etc. However, whenever you are on here, understand that some people have long torsos, short arms, bigger lungs, or some combination that may not match up with yours.

You and I have to figure out our own best performance parameters mostly on our own. You have to look at those videos as a starting point for developing your own stroke, and actually, a set of strokes.

Bike racers change gears and you should too. You shouldn't rely on just one "perfect" forward stroke. If you're racing in the Olympics on a flat course, yeah, crank 'er in that one gear for however long the course is. By and large, that's not what we face though. There's wind, waves, and current. You need to adjust your stroke to meet changing conditions so that you can stay upright, on course, or whatever while, also moving forward. Paddle high angle, low angle, wide grip, narrow grip, loose grip -- there is likely a time for every option to be the best option for the water, for your body. Taking a one gear track bike out on the Tour de France makes no sense. Why would you lock yourself to one specific stroke out in the real world?

To sum up: (A) Figure out what works for your body. Don't slavishly follow some set, generic instruction described as 'proper technique'. Use science if available. Specific coaching if available, and qualified for your body. But in the end, it's you and your paddle. (B) Having only one gear does not make sense. Learn a variety of forward strokes that let you distribute the stress on your body and meet changing conditions on the water.

By the way, I am not arguing against any of the advice, principles, or videos above. Just pointing out that they are merely a starting place for your own explorations.
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All I see written by AlphaEcho rings true to me.

I am a newbie and I find that all he said applies very well. I have no coach, and no paddling buddies with even 1 second more experience then I have . My tips have all come from the internet and from phone calls.

But my body type and dimensions are odd, and I have found the "formulas" I see on-line do NOT work well with me.

I have 3 kayaks I paddle, and the one that is widest should take the longest paddle according to the kayak/canoe-shops I have called, but when I am in that kayak I have difficulty bringing up the blade out of the water when I use the long paddle, so I got one that was a foot shorter. Having 6" less on each side cured the problem for me.

But in my older WW kayak which is only 20" wide, and has taper from the seat forward I can use the long paddle well. Also, when in in my 17 foot sea kayak I use the long paddle, owing to the fact it's far slimmer then my 10-1/2 foot rec-kayak. Now all the "pros" at the shops told me the wider boat needs a longer paddle so that's what I got for my 1st one, but I could not get used to it in 2 weeks and that in that 2 weeks was on the water nearly every day. I got a shorter one and it was easy.

THEN I got to speak to a very experienced lady on the phone and she asked me about my body and not just my height. I am very thick in the chest 45" with short and large diameter arms (Short sleeve length but 16" in diameter) and short legs. (28" inseam) and a 38" waist. She used to teach and coach in Texas and Florida and now lives in Mississippi. She told me (before I even told her about the shorter paddle) that I should go to a short paddle for my Old Town Loon with my body dimensions I would have an easier time with a short paddle because from seat to bottom of my neck and with less reach than many, the longer paddle would have to be held higher than most men of my weight and cause difficulty bringing the last of the blade out of the water. But in the longer and narrower kayaks I'd be fine with a long paddle. I told her that's exactly what I'd found to be true and he just laughed and told me coaching short strong women for 30 years she guessed I'd have similar angles and reach as some of her old students, and because I am short in reach and height, but weigh 190 pounds, and in my rec-boat I often carry about 30 pounds of camping gear with me, that will set my kayak lower in the water, so my blades will have to come up higher to clear then someone that is about 125 to 150 pounds. A taller man, or one with longer arms doesn't seem to be bothered by that, but I just could not make it work for me with a long paddle in the Loon kayak.

My WW kayak carries nothing but the paddler, (no bulkheads or hatches at all)
My 17 foot Chatham doesn't seem to sit very much lower with me and my camping gear in it that it does when my wife is in it, even though she's 50 pound lighter. In both of those I can use a paddle of 8 feet and never have an issue.

I made 2 GL paddles at 7 feet long and I find they are easy to use but the loom is too long and the blades too short and perhaps a but too narrow. I am going to make a 3rd one and it's going to be 8 feet or maybe about 8' 4" and the blades are going to be 3-3/4" wide with a loom of only 19-10 inches. Paddles are costly if you buy them, so making GL types is a much batter way for me to learn. I am going to make the next one a bit long and a bit wide and if I go over-board in width or length I can always cut it down. I should have done that the 1st time. Can't make the 7 footers grow.

So the "charts" are probably good for the "average man or women", but for the odd-balls like me---- well we just have to learn by trial and error. And having different paddles for different boats (and probably for different conditions) is helpful, far more so then I would have guessed when I first got into kayaks. I am still learning and I hope to learn from others as much as I can. I have neither enough time or enough money to try everything myself . Varying my stokes and cadence is helpful at times.
One more thing I want to try is to make a 7 foot Alaskan or GL style paddle with wider blades than the 2 I made in the past, in a 3 piece so I can add length in the loom for when I want to make it longer. I think about a "storm paddle" with a very short loom and a center section I can add to make it into an 8' 4" paddle when I want it longer.
Should be fun, and a good way to learn too.