Getting The Most Out Of Your… [56]

By Larry Gray

The recent Getting the Most out of your Pittarak weekend saw more than 30 attend at Bundeena. The main reason for the gathering was for paddlers to experience the possible. Every kayak has unique qualities determined by the shape. Therefore the weekend was a great chance for all that wanted to expand skills specifically honed to the design. Techniques that everyone can benefit from and will be demonstrated to all that wish to lean this coming R&R include:-

1 Four-point bracing techniques

The ability to find a low brace at the bow and stern on both sides of the kayak., with either the back or drive side of the blade. This trains the kayaker to be aware that at any point of instability, there is an opposite energy to be utilised at any time.

2 Extended paddle maneuvers

The emphasis is on split second snatch and grab maneuvers to lengthen and shorten the paddle. The kayaker can gain tremendous control over a kayak with the added leverage gained

3 The light hands technique

Allows the water movement to train the paddler’s hands The paddler learns to understand how their own paddle responds through subtle movements when out of sight. Once understood, the paddler gains a quicker response to paddle set up when upside down. Rolling is improved, save strokes more immediate.

The storm brace

Allows the paddler great stability to relax, or even handle a fierce storm gust without so much as a flinch of the kayak.

Beach pivot

A move for when a laden or unladen kayak is washed side on while departing in heavy shore break.

Pivot turning. (Giving air to the keel)

Stationary, In three strokes, the ability to about face in a tight spot e.g. Among rocks or when a sudden breaker approaches on the beam.

Pivot turn at speed.

The ability to end-for-end in less than three strokes. Broadsides the kayak to avoid collision or to get off a wave.

Gearing techniques

The ability to slow the paddle rotation down to less than half the normal pace yet maintain a high speed.

Rock landings

There comes a time when a kayaker may find it essential

Off shore training

Selected novice paddlers are chosen to go beyond their comfort zone, well off-shore and cope with 15 20 knots on the beam, the bow and tail. A ratio of four comfortable paddlers to one inexperienced ensures safety and gives the novice the chance to test all kinds of bracing in real conditions.

Many more techniques went out for challenge over the weekend.

The feed back has been “Can I Come next time?”. So we’re planning to invite all to a “How to get the most out of a kayak.” Soon! Look forward to seeing you there.

Be Free In The Sea

(Larry Gray is a senior Instructor and a founder of the Australian sea kayak education grading system in 1987.)