Mantra for rough water

4 months 4 days ago #37806 by jazzman
Question  for the experienced rough water paddlers out there. Do you have a mantra or some way of relaxing when in the bigger stuff? I’m not a new paddler , and have been paddling for a while. My balance is quite good and my core stability is very very good. When in mild bumps I’m as relaxed as a relaxed thing. A soon as I hit the bigger bumps, my mind takes over and really buggers me up. It isn’t the boat (  I have both a Vault and a Zen , the Zen undoubtedly is more stable but I get the same jitters even in that.). I know I’m “stable” - can sit in the boat wth no issues in almost anything. BUt when the paddling starts, my mind tells me I can’t paddle . I do focus on maintaining  leg drive in these circumstances but it seems counter intuitive to force my self to relax. Has anyone found anything that they use in these circumstance that they find especially useful? Thanks for any input- greatly appreciate any pearls of wisdom.

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4 months 4 days ago #37807 by LaPerouseBay
Replied by LaPerouseBay on topic Mantra for rough water
I'll list the 4 items, you can invent whatever phrase works for you.
  
1. Put the blade in the water as far forward as possible. 
2. Put the blade in the water as close to the boat as possible. 
3. Bury it completely.   
4. Use it for stability.   

That's it.  Don't think of anything else.

downwind dilettante
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4 months 4 days ago #37808 by jazzman
Replied by jazzman on topic Mantra for rough water


I was hoping someone like you would come along. Thank you- very simple and very clear. 

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4 months 3 days ago - 4 months 3 days ago #37810 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Mantra for rough water
As LaPeruse aptly says, in rough water all stability comes from being centered or using the blade to recenter your self, ideally as a fluid part of a normal forward stroke. 

I also highly recommend the natural amino acid L-Theanine before stressful situations. It bonds to the same receptors as Cortisol in your brain (the hormone produced by stress and generally translates to the feeling of anxiousness, anxiety, or stress), thus inhibiting the cortisol's ability to bind and produce the feeling of stress. I take it before big days (as in several feet) and in other stressful situations in normal life.

But really, the rougher the water or skinnier the boat, the more you rely close to 100% on your paddle stroke to constantly correct your center of mass and efficiently go forward. Try to focus on the zen of the waves and let the muscle memory take over.

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"
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4 months 3 days ago #37811 by LaPerouseBay
Replied by LaPerouseBay on topic Mantra for rough water
Glad you like it.  I was fortunate to have a pro help me transition from Oc-1 to ski.  He told me that on day one.

  

downwind dilettante
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4 months 3 days ago #37812 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Mantra for rough water

LaPerouseBay wrote: I'll list the 4 items, you can invent whatever phrase works for you.
  
1. Put the blade in the water as far forward as possible. 
2. Put the blade in the water as close to the boat as possible. 
3. Bury it completely.   
4. Use it for stability.   

That's it.  Don't think of anything else.


The only thing I'd add to this is:
5. ensure paddle comes out of water early

That is, the blade should never be 'face up' and in the water. It needs to come out of the water at or before your body (or before the bottom hand starts to bend and 'fall behind' the top hand).
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4 months 3 days ago #37813 by feeny
Replied by feeny on topic Mantra for rough water
Reach.... Grab
Reach.... Grab

That's what Dawid Mocke told me to use as a mantra. Works surprisingly well!
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4 months 3 days ago #37815 by jazzman
Replied by jazzman on topic Mantra for rough water
Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. Good stuff to read and easy to try out. Much appreciated .

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4 months 3 days ago #37816 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Mantra for rough water
Imagine the blade as stepping stones, you put all your weight on it and you step forward from one to the other. The boat is something you are just dragging behind you. A soundly placed catch is like a soundly placed foot if you are rock hopping.

The more you can rotate your hip forward the more immediate the power of the the catch when you start the leg drive.

I had the same issue when moving to ICF K1, I followed Ivans tip of trying to pull yourself out of the seat with the weight on the blade. Hesitancy really messes you up, as it does with rock hopping. Even if you are paddling slow still put plenty of weight on the catch as that is your grip.
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4 months 3 days ago #37818 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Mantra for rough water
Jazzman - I think what I hear you saying is that despite having good balance and being in a ski that you are rock solid in, you lose your nerve when the waves get beyond a certain size, and then the ski feels unstable?  In other words your issue is more psychological that a skill deficit? If that is the case I have to wonder if at some level you are afraid of falling out in those big conditions and that is causing you to pucker up. 

I have never had those fears in a ski, but I did have an experience recently in an ICF K1 that really opened my eyes to the power the mind has over balance. I was paddling on the Mississippi river approaching a very large dam from the upstream side.   I was in my favorite K1, a boat that I find extremely stable in flat water. The water was cool, but as calm as glass. I approached the dam but did not want to get too close, and planned to turn around in the ship locks several hundred yards before the spillway. As I entered the lock the thought entered my head of what a bad stupid situation I would be in if I capsized then and there. As that fear entered my mind, the kayak went from totally stable to being almost as tippy as the first time I ever sat in a K1. I had the death wobbles instantly! I had to panic brace just to get the boat turned around. Then after 50 yards of paddling back upstream away from the dam, the boat was again completely stable. It was a terrifying and humbling experience. Fear of swimming withered my paddling skill, ironically making a swim much more likely. 

If you think it is possible that fear of swimming is contributing, then maybe go practice remounts in those big conditions. Another idea thing to try would be jumping out of the ski and remounting on purpose at the start of of a run in those big conditions. I used to dabble in white water and I always found that I paddled much better if I did a few rolls right at the start of the paddle. Doing so took away that nagging apprehension I had about capsizing. Then I would be relaxed and paddle with confidence. 

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4 months 3 days ago #37820 by Wombat661
Replied by Wombat661 on topic Mantra for rough water
Using the blade for stability seems to be a compromise.
If you try to keep the blade vertical in the water it has no stability, but it feels more efficient. If you put it in at an angle, then you have more stability, but then you are not getting full forward motion.
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4 months 3 days ago #37821 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Mantra for rough water

Wombat661 wrote: Using the blade for stability seems to be a compromise.
If you try to keep the blade vertical in the water it has no stability, but it feels more efficient. If you put it in at an angle, then you have more stability, but then you are not getting full forward motion.


Only way a blade can go in with a vertical shaft at catch is if you have no trunk rotation or bottom arm is severely bent  with no reach, simply by the fact that shoulder of lower arm is further forward than that of upper arm.  You then lever yourself past the shaft and remove once it reaches vertical. You can be vertical in the side to side view If you top arm is bent right across (not a well braced posture), but not front to back
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4 months 2 days ago #37823 by LaPerouseBay
Replied by LaPerouseBay on topic Mantra for rough water

mrcharly wrote: [
The only thing I'd add to this is:

5. ensure paddle comes out of water early

That is, the blade should never be 'face up' and in the water. It needs to come out of the water at or before your body (or before the bottom hand starts to bend and 'fall behind' the top hand).


No offense, but I wouldn't add anything.  Mike's quote - and the Mocke's - is enough info.
Pros are expert listeners. They know what we need to hear, when and why.

Personally, I've used the advice more than once and it works - as feeny said - "surprisingly well". 

 Simple is best. "Reach... Grab  Reach... Grab" is a gem.
As is Boyan's "stroke stroke, brace.  Stroke stroke brace."  It saved Ivan's life. 
 
The goal is to relax in challenging conditions.  It doesn't get any more basic than a planted blade.  Then use the shaft for stability.  Done.  Save the clinic for a smaller day.  

As MCImes said, in rough conditions, nearly all of our energy thru the paddle goes to stability.  

downwind dilettante
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4 months 2 days ago #37825 by jazzman
Replied by jazzman on topic Mantra for rough water
If simple advice saved the life of a paddler who is far better than I can ever hope to be, then its more than enough for me. In my real life job, if the shit hits the fan and lives are at stake ( literally). going back to basics and concentrating on one thing at a time works. Intuitively makes sense that it would  for me here too. 
Oh, @Zach, I really appreciate your thoughts. Describes the situation exactly. Not so much a lack of skill, more a real and abrupt loss of confidence. My ex thinks it's all in my head. She is probably right. I do like the idea of deliberate remount practice in this conditions. I'm not sure if that's what I'm worried about but it is a very easy way to remove it from the calculations. Like you I used to do white water. I really only started to enjoy it when I had a near bomb proof roll; would start every run with a few just to remind myself I still could. 
Thanks again every one;I'm very grateful for the thoughts. I've got a few things to work with now which is the real bonus. 

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4 months 2 days ago #37826 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic Mantra for rough water
In the back of your mind the "what happens if shit goes wrong" just niggles. Even takes a lot of balls just practicing remounting in big weather. Much like the previous poster mentioned what happens if you tip a K1 with no readily accessible exit point as there is no on water remount

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4 months 2 days ago #37828 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic Mantra for rough water
I've had the same problem as zachhandler in my K1. It is often observed by K1 paddlers that stability (in a boat) improves after you've fallen in. You lose the fear of tipping, and without the fear, paddling is easier.

To that end, I've started doing remounts (in my ski), even though I'm only paddling on flat water for now. So that when i'm out on rough water, I know I'll be able to remount.

Just one more comment though; it is possible to remount a K1 in deep water. Takes practice, and of course it is much harder in a stab 1 boat. 
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4 months 2 days ago #37833 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Mantra for rough water
It's amazing what the psychological stress does to you. My first ocean race in my old v8pro was a humbling experience. I was confident in my ability in what I perceived as "any" conditions. As soon as I paddled past the breakwater into 6-7 foot seas I knew I might be in over my head. I didn't stress about it, I just focused on the basics. It worked until I got dumped out about a dozen times in washing machine conditions when I thought "if I miss this remount, I could die".  Two of my competitors had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. The rest of the race the "fear factor" clouded my mind. I have't had that fear since, but I know it will return the first time I take the new v10 in big ocean conditions.
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4 months 4 hours ago #37845 by Cryder
Replied by Cryder on topic Mantra for rough water
I'd reframe your question just a bit, and focus on your connection skills to the water.

For example; If your balance paradigm relies on reaction, then you are essentially juggling. This works fine with many scenarios like flat water or even medium size downwind... but truly messy, rough water adds many more balls moving in many different directions. The brain can only do so much, and eventually you drop a ball and in you go. Not good. 

If however your balance paradigm is based on connection, then you are using a premeditated skill that mitigates the need to react to what the water is doing. You paddle on your own terms, despite what the water is doing. It makes a world of difference in rough water. 

Ten tips to embrace connected balance paddling: 
1: Realize YOU are the biggest balance liability to your ski. It is fine without you, and it is also designed to listen to you, and will do whatever you tell it. So its up to you need to learn to tell it what to do... 

2: The more unified your stroke, the less chance for errant movements to compromise your balance. If your hips are moving slower than your shoulders, your stroke is compromised. If your push hand is diving or your arms are not stable with your torso, your stroke and balance is compromised. Think of your hips and shoulders as the two hinges that hold a door in place as it rotates. Your torso is the door. Real power will come from your hips, not your shoulders or arms. 

3: If your body moves as one unit, with three essential points of contact with the ski and water, you will greatly limit your ability to pull yourself into the water (remember, a tripod is generally very stable). 

4: The three points of connection are: Footboard,  your butt and your paddle in the water. Get them to move in unison, each one balancing out force. 

5: The first thing to disappear in rough water is foot pressure. It's a fear based fetal reflex that allows your ski to loose contact with you, and it will listen to the water... not you.

6: So when the going gets verbalize this command out loud "FIND YOUR FEET!" Repeat every stroke if it's really rough. Verbalizing commands helps override the "lizard brain" fear response, and your body will listen to your voice.  

7: Your paddle is absolutely powerful enough to pull you in. Connection skill limits and directs its force to work for you, not against you. 

8: MANY paddlers are self-cursed by bad footwork, as the foot pressure comes off before the paddle is even out of the water... so the exit is sloppy and exerts rolling force on the ski, and then when the catch happens the foot pressure isn't there so the ski isn't listening to the paddler. 

9: A powerful catch is the best brace. But your catch is only as good as your footwork. Make sure that you have 100% foot pressure on the board before that paddle goes in the water. This means you have to keep your drive leg down at the end of your stroke with your hip back until you make the opposite side catch and unload all your torso's energy on the fully submerged blade. 

10: If you must brace, always finish the brace with a powerful catch on the opposite side. Most paddlers fall in at the end of the brace when the ski slows down and the brace looses leverage or the paddle sinks. When the ski starts to slow, sweep the brace forward and then slam the opposite side catch. BANG! You are back in control and connected again. 
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4 months 4 hours ago #37846 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Mantra for rough water
Very well put, Cryder. I do wonder to what degree one can learn this in a beginner or intermediate ski. It's only when I went to an elite ski that I really had to completely rethink what stability means and totally give up on what the ski does to focus 100% on the foot + butt + paddle triangle. It completely changed the way I paddle and I'm not sure I would have gotten there if I had stayed with an intermediate ski.

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4 months 3 hours ago #37847 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic Mantra for rough water
Awesome advice. Gonna try it tomorrow. Never worried about balance until I started paddling my V10 a month ago. 

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