× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Paddle Faster

2 years 1 month ago #27047 by MAS
Replied by MAS on topic Paddle Faster
Photofr wrote: When ever your blade goes past your waist, the angle of the blade changes, and lifts water. Lifting water causes your bow to sink in, thus creating even more resistance. In simple terms, a paddle behind you feels powerful, but slows you down.

This was one of big aha moments I had a while ago. When I tried to develop max speed I initially misunderstood that growing resistance as a good thing, whereas it was actually the opposite as I was adding power to my stroke in the back. GPS told me I was not going any faster despite of the effort. One more reason to have GPS in sight, not in hand, when paddling. Helps tremendously to learn what movements & "feeling" actually correlate with speed.

Looking at Aurelius's videos to me leg drive still seems relatively limited, pull side leg does not straighten that much. As a cyclist with relatively weak upper body developing strong leg drive was key to speed.

Yesterday I was doing some basic stability exercises (stationary) with my Viper 48 close to shore: paddle above the head switching hands, closed eyes, hard edging without paddle in the water all easy with good feeling of balance. Secondary stability of Viper is actually very good. Then doing paddling motions with leg drive and hands (with paddle in hands), still stationary i.e. paddle not touching water was clearly more challenging. My strong leg drive and resultant hip movement seems to be upsetting the balance and it was hard to find the rhytm. I tried to make it more smooth, but clearly it needs an aha moment.

After stationary exercises some real paddling. Was slightly better than earlier, especially confidence, but not surprisingly I was still struggling with leg drive upsetting the balance especially when I was putting in more power rather than relaxed casual paddling. I also noticed that I sometimes "lose the catch" and find difficult regaining it. Losing catch = not getting good strong connection to water but rather burbling sound from the blade with weak connection. Most probably a mental thing where I struggling with leg drive and balance results in weak pull, death grip on the paddle putting the blade in wrong angle to the pull, weak upper hand pressure on blade and body rotation which all make blade to lose the lock in water.

Any tips how to develop more balanced leg drive, other than stationary exercise? Also any tips how to regain catch when lost? Going to very slow purposeful cadence seems to be oneway that helps.

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2 years 1 month ago - 2 years 1 month ago #27049 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Paddle Faster

MAS wrote:

Any tips how to develop more balanced leg drive, other than stationary exercise? Also any tips how to regain catch when lost? Going to very slow purposeful cadence seems to be oneway that helps.


You may want to look at the following checklist that I use when things do not go my way:
Are you slowing down your pace, at least to favor technique?
Are you planting your paddle into the water as if you were spear fishing?
Are you applying power to your paddle AFTER it's in position and well submerged?

Assuming that you use a right hand controlled paddle:
Your left blade may have a different angle when entering the water. Try a little more wrist rotation (more blade angle) before the blade enters the water. Alternatively, reduce paddle angle ever so slightly. It's usually best to have an instructor by your side, at least once a month to correct a few things.

If all fails, try more dry land exercises to strengthen your core evenly: read abs.

As I was once told:
Practice doesn't make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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2 years 1 month ago #27053 by MAS
Replied by MAS on topic Paddle Faster
Again, thanks for the tips Ludovic!

Assuming that you use a right hand controlled paddle:
Your left blade may have a different angle when entering the water. Try a little more wrist rotation (more blade angle) before the blade enters the water. Alternatively, reduce paddle angle ever so slightly. It's usually best to have an instructor by your side, at least once a month to correct a few things.


I think this is something that I will check. On my stable 18XS I can easily experiment playing with wrist angle and also how loosely I grip the shaft, often just letting the blade "decide" its angle to get the most bite by pulling with finger tips rather than controlling the blade angle. But again I find it more difficult in my Viper 48 where I tend to grip harder the shaft and therefore need to control the angle. Not death grip, but still a firm grip. Which way I should go I'm not sure? Pros in Youtube seem to have a pretty good grip on paddle.

Regarding this overall learning process it's funny how non-linear it is. Sometimes progress every time you go out, now on my Viper it has been a while without any significant progress and in some aspects I even feel I have gone backwards. Yet when I was yesterday morning leisurely touring paddling with my wife on my Epic 18XS I decided to try small acceleration. Something clicked right with my right hand side stroke (always harder for me) & timing of leg drive and I ended up maintaining 11kmh for a few minutes in a relaxed manner with less feeling of effort than ever. I think steady 11kmh in no wind, no waves is at least ok for a sea kayak which is wider than even V7. In the same evening I was struggling to keep about same speed in Viper for more than 20secs before losing my rhytm and thus speed.

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2 years 1 month ago #27058 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Paddle Faster
Gripping a paddle like a “madman” is pretty normal when sprinting like a “bat out of hell” (at least to me). I’d like to see everyone paddling without a dead-grip in at least 3 cases:
- In training situations to develop good habits
- In long distance paddling – forcing yourself to relax more
- To avoid blisters
Perhaps others have a different view on the “dead grip”?
Regarding the learning curb, I guess we’ll all have a different prospective. The way I see it, there are 15 main aspects of the stroke taking place in about 0.8 seconds. Since we aren’t machines, would it not be normal that while we work on say item #11, that item #3 goes out the door?

On a different note:
I’ve just released Hints #104 on Facebook. It’s a bit long, but I hope you guys will find it informative.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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