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Coaching Course Level One Rockhampton QLD

You have probably noticed after viewing our website there are stories on non-standup paddling activities. One of these is Outrigger Canoeing.

A polynesian sport, outriggers are now racing around the world. Here in Australia there is clubs in every state but the sport is more dominant in Queensland.

Over the weekend of the 21st/22nd March I had the pleasure of running a coaching clinic in the tropical township of Rockhampton. Participants travelled from as far away as Townsville to the north and Gladstone to the south. The aim of these courses are to provide accredited coaches to canoe clubs around Australia. Most of the time I do these courses in Southern Queensland but this was my second in the north. Last year I held one in Papua New Guinea so I do get around.

Courses give participants a chance to show off their knowledge and to network with coaches from other clubs. This means they can acquire new skills to take back to their perspective clubs and teach correct technique, apply good programs and coach effectively. Each course I run is unique and this one was no different. Participants are all ages and come from all walks of life. Some have been paddling for a few years, some have a lot of experience and others have come through the juniors ranks and are now looking to pass on their knowledge.

One thing is always the same for me is that I can come away learning too. Whether it be a new drill a novice coach has come up with, a new drill I come up with or a way to improve my teaching of a component of technique I come away with a renewed confidence and energy towards paddling and coaching.

The next course I am involved in will be in Brisbane next month where I won’t have to worry about crocodiles whilst out paddling. If you have any questions on Outrigger paddling shoot me a message and i will get you the info you need.

How to Train For Sprints

Going as fast as you can over a short distance. No jumping the gun for a very even start. No turbulence, wash or bumping boards. Sprint racing is here to stay.

If conducted in an Olympic kayaking/rowing course the above statements will be true. If conducted in the ocean or flat water with buoy turns then its fair game. There will be turbulence. you will have to contend with the wash from other competitors (unless you are in front) and bumping of boards.

With the exception of the 5000 meter race, competitors, racing in their own lanes, will need to show skill, technique, fitness and speed to see who the fastest Stand Up paddlers are over several distances. (And who has the fastest designed flat water sprint board)

The waterman series has a great concept with the ‘M’ shaped course in the surf requiring competitors to run and wade out, negotiate the surf, round a buoy and proceed in to the break and repeat. Then finish with a short run to the finish line.

See you on the water and remember “ FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED”.

Next week. How to Train For Sprints

Does it feel good, cos’ Any Fool can be Uncomfortable

Peter Dorries

Paddle technique has been changing and evolving since the first day man picked up a piece of wood and used it to propel himself across a body of water. As craft evolved, paddles changed shape and the question of why we paddle has changed, we have search out the easiest styles to get us from A to B.

Now that paddling is more for recreation and racing (not for survival) Paddlers, scientist and coaches have worked hard over the last five decades in getting us more efficient with our technique and styles. As shapes, sizes and materials used of craft and paddles have changed so are the theories of technique continually evolving.

The question most asked ‘Is one technique better than another’. The answer is if you apply the correct theory to your stroke then the technique that works best for you and is comfortable is the one to use.

Confusing. Yes, but it doesn’t have to be. We are different from each other in many ways. From our physicaloligical makeup to our mental toughness and the way our brain processes things helps or inhibits us to be the paddler we are and the paddler we want to become.

How flexible we are at certain areas of our limbs and joints, to the length of arms/legs, to our range of motion and dexterity in been able to juggle different moves and focuses at once. Even smiling and grinning can affect our technique and style.

So, don’t stress if you don’t have a strong rotation like Danny Ching and Travis Grant. Don’t get down on yourself because you cant get the body relaxed like Kai Lenny and Conner Baxter. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are and improve the weaknesses.

Efficiency

An efficient technique lets us paddle fast with the least amount of energy expenditure or wastage. It also lets us paddle longer distances easier. Great.

To do this you have to understand the theory behind the paddles usage in the stroke.

The paddle must enter the water in such a fashion that there is no splash and grabs the water fully with the blade face. Don’t do this effectively and you run the risk of drawing air into the water with the paddle and creating slippage or capitation through the water.

The technique you use can help or hinder this process of the catch. A high elbow can cause half the blade to enter the water or for the paddle to slap the surface with a splash. Rushing the entry can have the same effect. Too large a blade, wrong grip, there are a myriad of reasons to have an ineffective catch.

Once the catch is effected now comes the power phase. Timing of this phase is crucial. Too early and we have ruin the catch. Too late and we can pull the blade back too far causing balance issues.

THE CATCH

The most important part of the stroke. And the hardest to do correctly.

Most paddlers struggle with an efficient catch. They use power at the expense of finessing the technique or as I like to say, finessing the catch.

My terminology is Place the blade cleanly in the Water. There is too much attacking the water, thus stabbing of the blade causing an ineffective catch and you have cavitation. The blade also has to be fully engaged in the water before we start the power component of the stroke otherwise we will not get full power onto the stroke.

At this stage how bottom arm should be extended with the hip on the same arm forward too. This is known as rotation. Try not to bend or hinge from the hips.

The top arm should be relaxed, forward and elbow down.

Power Phase

Adding power to the stroke takes place straight after the catch. This is where we pull ourselves up to the paddle rather than push the paddle back. One must be careful not to apply the power early and not to overpower so as to have too long a stroke out the back. If we pull back to far it can slow the run of the board down, cause an ineffective exit and leave us with a poor recovery and catch because our setup is effected.

There are different ways to effect the power phase but the most efficient is to use the body with downward directional strength through the paddle. I like to first learn this using the top arm, then both arms together and, thirdly, using the arms, shoulders and core.

The biggest problem I see with paddles is that they try to pull the blade through the water with the bottom arm, bending the arm at the elbow, using the bicep as the main muscle. This creates three problems. One is they usually have a poor catch and grab air with their catch causing an ineffective catch. Two, the bicep tires quickly as it is been used rather the the triceps , back and core. And three, they pull back to far past the feet causing drag, extra energy expenditure and a poor exit.

The Exit

Having a poor exit leads to problems with the catch. Usually having to rush the catch been ineffective as the blade enters the water. So take a bit more time on the exit and get it right. By releasing the blade from its downwards motion and returning it to the front of the stroke before it travels to far back will ensure a clean exit and a great catch.

Use the top arm to release and return the blade, using the bottom hand as a guide. Keep the bottom hand low, don’t bend and lift. Same with the top hand, don’t lift high. Take the arms/hands forward.

While all this is happening your hips should be rotating. And it’s a timing issue too. Good hip rotation during all facets of the stroke provides good power.

Watch the videos and if you have questions …… ASK!!!

Downwinding Tips, Tricks, Secrets

Hello. Welcome to Downwinding 101.

Today we will discuss how to catch bumps out in the ocean that are generated by wind and swell.

Duration of this class – a few paragraphs.

Time needed to learn Downwinding – A LIFETIME.

No, seriously it won’t take that long but you will have to get out into windy, downwind conditions EVERY chance you get. With all the assistance with tips and tricks I will pass on now, only time out there will improve your DOWNWINDING skills.

Why is downwinding so popular? Why do you see trailers with boards and skis travelling along the highway against the wind?

Because they know the rush you get from the drop, the speed and the linking up of runners.

Now bumps or runners are the movement in the ocean or waterway that we are attempting to catch with our craft

First up know what sort of bumps you are catching in your area. There are two types 1. Wind generated

  1. Swell/wave generated

If you are on a lake or a river you are most likely looking at the first type of runner. In the ocean you are looking at both types. But the one thing all water environments need is WIND. When you are paddling in the ocean you can be getting wind going in one direct while the swell can be off by 90 degrees (or more) in another direction. Don’t panic though cos’ the wind direction and strength is what governs a good downwind run.

Unlike surfing where the wave slows down as it approaches the shore and creates immense force making it easy to catch, ocean swells are moving under the water just below the surface and are moving continuously and fast. The wind tends to help them along and create more peaks and troughs to catch.

Now you’re checking out the wind and it’s blowing. It’s in the right direction. So now lets organise the crew and work out where we are entering the water and where we are finishing. Safety is the main point here. Also you may need to plan a stop during the paddle to regroup (safety again). It goes without saying it is important to have a phone, lifejackets, leg ropes and water ever else you need to have a successful time.

 

Now DOWNWINDING.

Some of the tips I give to paddlers first up is to get out there and relax. You can improve you downwinding by not trying to paddle hard and for every wave and bump out there. Balance is an important key so the type of board you are on can dictate this immensely.

Another handy tip is never, ever look behind you. Downwinding is all about whats happening in front of you. Unlike surfing where you catch the wave coming behind you because it is slowing down, rising and creating power, like skating down a large, steep hill, with downwind paddling you’re trying to put the nose of your board into the back of the wave in front.

Unlike surfing you need to take off early because the runners are moving so fast under the water creating a sticky surface that inhibits you from catching a runner.

Look at the back of swell as they go under you and start your attack on the front of the trough (back of the wave in front) which enables you to catch the wave moving behind you.

Hence the term “Chasing Runners”.

Attempt to push your nose into the back of the wave in front. Turn, tip or step back depending on size and direction of the bump you are attempting to catch

 

Technique

Does your technique change when you attempt to catch a runner? IT SHOULD.

A shorter, faster stroke emphasising a quick exit gets a board onto a runner easier and with less effort then a long, powerful stroke. By tapping the water and making sure you still get a full catch the paddler is able to get their legs to drive the board over and down the runner. Timing when to apply this technique is crucial. A long, powerful stroke uses more muscles and dosn’t tend to drive the board onto the runner as effectively as a short stroke. The legs also get used less because of the balance factor which tends to bog the board down. It is similar to try to hop a short surfing board across a flat section of a dying wave.

Hints here are to keep the hands and shoulders relaxed and be able to move around on the board smoothly.

 

Equipment

Like everybody is different not all boards are the same. What is good for some may not be the board for you.

Look at width and thickness of boards to help you stay comfortable on the rolling ocean you are visiting. The tail of the board and the fin you are using can have a lot to do with the stability of the board you have chosen. Also length of board is going to dictate how easy you are going to get on the runners. The longer the board the easier it is to catch the bumps. Try a few different boards out to you find the one that suits you and your paddling style.

 

Summery

  • Plan your route
  • Effective entry and exit points
  • Safety and marry up points
  • Good wind
  • Safety equipment in good order
  • Phone
  • Relax your shoulders, arms and hands
  • Dont race. Slow down and dont try to catch every runner
  • Effective technique for runners
  • The right board for you

 Now get out there and practice, Practice, PRACTICE.

SUPWORLD – Technique – Kick turns

Winters upon us and what a cracker. With the sun shining through its time to give our arms a rest and work on our feet.

What the majority of paddlers don’t understand is by moving around the board, with ease, it improves your balance and paddling technique.

Let’s practice. We are going to get into our surf stance. Goofy, right foot forward. Natural, left foot forward. Move your front foot by pivoting off the heel so the foot is pointing to the other side of the board and toes are on or near the centre of the deck. Step up and back with the opposite foot having your heel near or on the centre line of the deck.

You can either shuffle back to sink the tail which helps pivot the board easier. Using your paddle planted firmly in the water sweep out, back and around your board. Make sure your arms are out and your top arm is used effectively.

We can see Ke’ale (pictured) pivot her race board around in one stroke and step forward and continue her journey. Take note of her feet and arms during the process.

Remember – turn your feet, especially the front foot first as this helps with hip rotation, power.                       strength and balance.

  • Keep the arms long.
  • Lastly plant the blade and catch the water effectively just like a stroke.

 

This is a handy skill on race or surf SUP boards. If your facing into the waves you can turn quickly and be racing down the line while others are scrambling for balance.

As always Practice, Practice, Practice

Reverse Sweep

Summer. Warm nights, hot days and the occasional thunderstorms. Gotta love it.

This month we are going to step up the turns and try what I like to call a reverse sweep.

This is a great manoeuvre for turning buoys, giving you room when another paddler is too close and turning while out waiting for a wave.

Practice first by standing parallel with your feet and crossing the paddle from one side of the board to the other without changing your hands over.
Point the blade forward towards the front of the board with your top hand down and back (don’t let your arms cross). Reach away from the nose and with your blade face catching water pull the nose towards the blade. When your paddle almost hits the board, exit and repeat.

Once you have mastered this try it in a split stance.

The next step is to reach behind and catch the water effectively.

Tips are to bend the knees. Loosen up and try shorting up your grip. Remember to turn your hips and shoulders.

With practice you will be able to spin the board with one stroke and even change direction 180 degrees whilst paddling.
Beware that some SUPPERS will call a reverse stroke a reverse sweep. I call that a backwards sweep or a reverse stroke!

Good luck practicing this. It is fun and becomes quite easy after awhile. Enjoy dazzling newbies with your speed of turning.

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Quisque elementum nibh at dolor pellentesque, a eleifend libero pharetra. Mauris neque felis, volutpat nec ullamcorper eget, sagittis vel enim. Nam sit amet ante egestas, gravida tellus vitae, semper eros. Nullam mattis mi at metus egestas, in porttitor lectus sodales. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Voluptate laborum vero voluptatum.

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