Advanced Sea Proficiency Assessment
On the October Long Weekend, Frank Bakker and I conducted an Advanced Sea Award Assessment on south coastal waters between Bunga Hd and Montague Is. In addition to a Victorian paddler, NSW club members Andrew Eddy, Doug Fraser and Bruce Payne were successful in gaining the award. Congratulations to you all!
During the weekend Doug Fraser’s alter ego Doug Headwind was present because we certainly copped some headwinds! Still, it was good paddling with plenty of wildlife and surf action – a 6.2 metre double Pittarak standing on its nose in a 2 metre wave is quite a sight. A female paddler ended up with a few bruises in this encounter, and so did the Pittarak, with big splits around the bilges. Could we please have some better construction in ocean boats? This one was “out of it’s depth!”
A couple of issues emerged on the weekend that warrant the placing of this piece in the “Training Notes” section.
Firstly, rolling, re-entry and rolling and bracing. It’s one thing to practise these skills in flat water such as a lake or river and quite another to HAVE to do them in steep 2 metre seas. So, the message is push your skills!
If you are a proficient roller in relatively calm water, it’s time to move into the rough stuff. Try it in strong winds and try it with half only of your spare paddle. Doug, Andrew and Bruce will give a demo and assist you in practice at the Rock n’ Roll Weekend. On the subject of bracing, if you can do a high brace or sculling high brace down into the water as far as your shoulder, you should be working on get- ting your head into the water now. Similarly, if you can scull right down to water level and hold it, you should now be working on sculling to the surface from an upside-down roll-set-up position instead of coming directly upright. Push the skills!
We’ll be having a Skills Session on all of this at the Rock n’ Roll Weekend. Valuable stuff for kayakers. Don’t miss it! It’s for all skill levels.
If you want to practise this, find some water about a metre deep. In this depth, you can push off the bottom if you go too far instead of having to roll or wet exit. Do it this weekend!
The second issue I want to mention is paddling fitness. Before you all jump up and down and say you don’t want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger let me say neither do I! In fact bodies like that are useless for most sports. I guess I’m looking towards bodies like Paul Caffyn! Perfectly normal … yet he was cutting successive 100 km days in his round-Australia paddle. OK, so he developed a lot of paddling fitness during the trip but you do get my meaning.
Now, there are essentially 2 sections to this ramble on paddling fitness. I’ll call them Style/Speed and Fuel in the Tank! That’s got you curious eh?
Style and Speed
We should all be looking regularly at our paddling style. Sometimes it’s easy to slip into bad stroke habits and it can often be hard to identify the problem yourself. So, have a friend check your style from time to time, talk to club mem- bers who race kayaks and come along to Dirk Stuber’s skill session on Advanced Paddling Techniques at the Rock n’ Roll Weekend!
It’s important that your efficient style carries through from calm water paddling to strong headwinds. Anyone can move a kayak along in calm waters but smooth efficient paddling in a 20 knot headwind is a bit different! Have a look at the various club paddle grading levels in this magazine. Grades 2. 3 and 4 specify distances of up to 15km, 25km and 40 kms respectively .
There is always wind on the ocean so these distances are effectively increased in headwinds. Remember Jervis Bay a few years ago? You obviously need good style for these situations. you also need some reasonable speed (which comes with style) to finish the day’s paddle before midnight and most impor- tantly you need some Fuel in the Tank! Fuel in the Tank
When I finish a day’s paddle. I always ask myself. .Do I have enough energy left to paddle back to the day’s start or halfway back or whatever? This is the Fuel in the Tank and there’s ~ got to be some there otherwise you’re in big trouble on the ocean Suppose you arrive at a planned landing after a long distance of non-landable coast and find the exit non-negotiable? You’ve got to go somewhere and it means lots more paddling like it or not. Total exhaustion is dangerous. unfair to four paddling partners and it leads to disaster.
So, Fuel in the Tank. What can you do? Obviously , attention to style efficiency is Important…so is nutrition. Carry plenty of your favourite energy foods and water. If you’re serious about your paddling and you paddle more than once a month, you may want to look at some general fItness exerCIses. The very best is getting in your boat at every opponunity and cutting those miles but not always practical or possible I know. Try some swimming andl or go to a nearby gym and get the resi- dent trainer to develop a spons specific program for you. That is, one that is basically aimed at endurance, not strength or power
Try it for a few weeks. You’ll be amazed at the results. For those that are inter- ested, in a future issue we’ll have a look at weight training principles for strength, power and endurance. I’ve got some good reference texts on the subject.