Chalupsky´s paddling technique

2 years 5 months ago #34923 by camlangsford
Yes I know what you mean, I also paddle an Evo II, just got back from a paddle actually. Bit chilly here and Auckland at the moment but fine was you get out paddling as long as you don't fall in.

I had a much narrower boat when I was into paddling a few years ago and spent most of my time trying not to fall in and could never really work on my technique properly, gained good balance skills but that was about it.

It made the Evo feel a lot comfier but even now I'm thinking I should have even gone for a much more stable boat as per Oscar's advice. Will see how it goes. 

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2 years 5 months ago #34925 by manta
Okay hopefully my last word on this topic. Another thing worth considering is the type of paddling you do.

Oscar's technique is very ocean\DW specific low elbows, lower hands etc. You are being helped either by the wind or swell. Now contrast this with an Olympic paddler that is plying their trade as a flat water specialist. The high hands and almost vertical paddle. I don't think Oscar's technique will work for that.

A lot of guys have a kayak background and the prevailing wisdom for Olympic or marathon is still very much high hands, lots of feather, exaggerated twist. Horses for courses as it were. So what is right for you will depend on the type of paddling you do and on what water you do it on.

I'm still a noob with only a couple of years under my belt and it has been exclusively on the ocean. Oscar's technique has made sense for me. It might not be the same for everyone.
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2 years 5 months ago #34926 by feeny
I also dropped down to 0 and paddled there for a year or so. It took some time to get right and it definitely helped me brace more on the right side.

After a year or so, I started to experiment moving feather around and discovered that I can pretty naturally switch angles between 0-45 without issue. Now that I have my right brace down pat it's pretty intuitive to do so when back at 45. 

I have been unable to discern any difference between 0 - 45 in terms of my performance.

I was given some feedback that at 0 there is actually a small movement to rotate the paddle into the correct position at the catch on both sides. I think this might be true, even though I barely notice it. However at 45 right there is only a movement on the right hand (left blade catch), with the left hand (right blade catch) slicing straight into the water without any top hand movement.

I figured limiting the movement to one hand, even if it is a larger movement than at 0, is still only a movement in one hand, compared to a movement in two hands, which I am hoping might lead to greater consistency with time.

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2 years 5 months ago #34928 by waverider
I've settled on around 30 degrees, mainly because I also paddle loaded touring, fishing kayaks with flat blades (fixed at 60 degrees), so dont want to be swapping between styles too dramatically. I also sometimes paddle high style and find feather feels better with that style.

For some reason rotating the paddle kind of feels in sync with body rotation. When I try flat I subconsciously rotate less, but I guess I could retrain that.

Following this discussion though I have started consciously making sure i brace both sides without favour.

Still new at this though so still open to experimentation

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2 years 5 months ago #34930 by robin.mousley

Following this discussion though I have started consciously making sure i brace both sides without favour.

That's something that really resonated with me too, and which I adopted 100% after being yelled at by the Big O!  

Something else that I've observed in my own stroke though, is this (and I'm specifically talking downwind paddling here where you're accelerating onto a run, then going paddles-down bracing, then paddling to get onto the next run):

When taking the first stroke from bracing, I find it easier to go from bracing on the left to taking the first stroke on the right than the other way around.  When taking the first stroke after bracing on the right, I often find myself doing a kind of double-take and taking the first stroke on the right as well.  

The most efficient "restart" is to take the first stroke on the opposite side of the brace - but I definitely find this difficult to do with equal comfort going from a right hand brace.  

I'm not sure whether this is to do with the feather angle, or the fact that I'm right-handed - or both.

Anyone else observe this in themselves - and what about when you're on zero feather?!


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2 years 5 months ago - 2 years 5 months ago #34938 by SpaceSputnik
Having spent more time with both styles I am in a weird place. I probably get a lot more flat water than you ocean folks but it's not all that flat. What I know so far is that O's stuff allows for easier bracing and is a little less complex than the high stroke style. It seems to be a more equal push/pull that loads up lats more than the high style and. The natural body posture is more neutral and the balance is achieved by easier and more frequent bracing and agile stabilizing strokes.
High hand style seem to require a more significant forward lean which feels more stable and seems to promote a power application at the feet level.
Performance-wise both seem reasonably close with a slight advantage going to the high hand. It just has this nice acceleration oomph to it.
On sustained flat water slogs it feels good switching styles every once in a while. Meaning literally re-feathering and going a while in a completely different way. Feels nice doing that, however I am spending more time with the high hand.

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2 years 5 months ago #34939 by waverider
I'm about 50/50 fresh and open salt water, mainly because I have closer access to a river with high banks that is sheltered on blowy days.  I seem to naturally paddle high on the fresh and lower on the open water. Probably a combination of no stability concerns on the river and open water trips tend to be longer and low is less tiring, with easier stability.

One thing that is obvious moving to tippy skis from more stable kayaks is that when you hit the weary wall things fall apart rather quickly, it goes from fun to challenging to I dont want to be doing this rather quickly. On a stable kayak, your technique can get sluggish, you slow down but you dont worry about falling in. On a ski, you get sluggish, exit late, bracing isn't as sharp and thats a recipe for tipping, you become aware of that and it affects you psychologically, which makes it happen. Stopping or backing off is not the same respite due to lack of primary stability.  So best not to overstretch yourself on distance when learning or it can leave a bad taste in your mind. Better leaving the water feeling like you are on top of your game.

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2 years 5 months ago - 2 years 5 months ago #34943 by Henning DK
There is one thing I am missing in this thread!
I mean, there are arguments WHY zero feather is good, examples of WHO are doing it, but could someone doing it please explain HOW they are doing it? - And how to learn it!
The traditional technique using one control hand and changing the grip of the other hand between each stroke is easy to understand and explain. There is an issue with bracing, obviously, and zero feather angle is very intriguing as it provides a fully symmetric solution to paddling.
However, to me, there seems to be two different approaches:
  1. Hold your hands in the same angle on the paddle at all time, never changing the grip. This may work for a low style of paddling, but does mean you have to flex in your wrists (upper hand?) to enter your paddle into the water.
  2. Do not use one hand as your control hand, but kind of shift control hands between right and left strokes, so you actually move BOTH hands on the paddle between each stroke. You could say that the paddle is in control, and you just move your hands as you have to, to let it do so.
From pictures of Oscar, I  think it looks like he must be doing the second approach, since his hands are obviously not in parallel angles to the paddle shaft during the stroke.
But my question is, how do you get there?
Are there some exercises (drills) you can do, except from trying lower and lower angles over time, as Oscar has done (I don't understand why this is the way to go, by the way).
  1. For example, to get used to zero feather angle, would it be a good drill to hold the paddle in neutral position (vertically in front of your chest with parallel grips) and do strokes to one side at a time, always returning to neutral. When that works, do different sides every second time, still returning to neutral, and you're done - this is how it works!
  2. Or, try to use the opposite feather angle as you are used to, e.g. if you use 60 degree right, try 60 degree left and get used to it. Shift between right and left until you manage both. Then, adjust you paddle to zero and shift between the two techniques between each stroke.
I don't know if any of the above approaches would work - it hasn't worked for me yet.
I just would like to know what worked for you!
If you use zero feather, HOW do you do it - and how did you get there?

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2 years 5 months ago #34944 by SpaceSputnik
What works for me so far is basically just being mindful of how the paddle connects with the water. Than the hands start doing the right thing.
As I switch, first few strokes need to be gentle and deliberate to switch the brain around and not swim.
I also need to remind myself to drop the paddle lower and sit up more neutrally.

I don't have a strong ingrained muscle memory, I guess that helps.
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2 years 5 months ago #34953 by feeny
When at 0 feather, I found that I was doing small movements with the bottom hand (on both left and right sides) to align the paddle correctly for a clean catch. It seemed very subtle, I suspect there may have been an equally subtle movement with the top hand, though I found it harder to notice. So, that aligns with using both hands as control hands, in my case more the bottom hand - but I do mean subtle!!

SpaceSputnik's tip to be mindful of the paddle is a good one, along with practicing a few of Oscar's catch and catch-pull drills.

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