CoG – Stroke Rate – Active Blade

When entering the current or paddling down river are you doing any of the following:

  1. Altering the height of your paddles, from say a high stroke when paddling forward to lowering the paddles to enable reverse strokes, stern rudders. This also will lower your centre of gravity when entering a fast flow and the low paddle will allow you to segue into a  stern rudder.
  2. Slowing your stroke rate, you paddling too much, trying to get strokes in where an active static blade would suffice?

Some Links for viewing:



Where are you? In relation to your paddling that is?

Do you know where you are along the continuum of acquiring a higher level of competence?

maslow 4 stages learning

The Four Stages of Learning provides a model for learning. It suggests that individuals are initially unaware of how little they know, or unconscious of their incompetence. As they recognize their incompetence, they consciously acquire a skill, then consciously use it. Eventually, the skill can be utilized without it being consciously thought through: the individual is said to have then acquired unconscious competence.”

The fourth stage does not mean that you know how you do something as it has become second nature or able to describe or teach something effectively. This lack of understanding can explain why often the best coaches were not necessarily the best players, if you found an activity easy then you may not find it easy to comprehend the difficulties others are having and therefore break it down for others to learn.

This lack of comprehension of your abilities when competent can be explained by the fifth stage that can be vary depending upon the mentality of the individual:

  • Reflection
  • Complacency

So wherever you are on your paddling education whether it be confusion or frustration, knowing this is natural and part of learning can be some comfort. So practise and reflect on your success to determine what to change. No matter what your level there is always something to learn.


Running draw stroke aka hanging draw.

I was due to write a post on the subject of the hanging or running draw stroke to develop the theme of blade dexterity as mentioned in previous posts (sculling and draw strokes – see references below) when I noticed that Ron Lugbill had written a post on the subject, below is a link to his blog post (I recommend having a read of his blog as there are some great insights for competitive and general paddlers alike)

Ron Lugbill Link: Running draw stroke.

The running draw is a stroke that enables a boat to move sideways without having to expose the flank of the boat to an object i.e. rock/river feature thus risking an impact/wrap whilst also enabling the craft to keep moving forwards.

This stroke is a good choice when lining up the boat before a rapid/section.

Hanging/Running Draw

Hanging/Running Draw

So basically:

  • Get some forward speed up
  • Place the blade in the water as per the start position of the draw or scull, ensure the blade is next to your torso then whilst moving forward open up the blade face to get resistance.
  • You will need to experiment with the amount of blade face to open up, it is a balance between resistance to get some sideways movement and also maintaining forward speed.

We all have our favourite Danish kayaking hanging draw videos there are many like it but this one is mine:

The rest is up to the simple act of practice.


Handwriting & Drawing.



Continuing the theme of self-awareness/sensitivity to improve technique let us look at the use of a witness.

A witness is good for safety, reassurance and feedback.

Over time reassurance is less important as the paddler becomes more confident, safety is a personal thing.

Unless the paddler is calm and using the minimum required effort then they will not develop self-awareness and sensitivity to be able to take comments on board and change their technique or in time become self-aware.

A lot of paddlers listen to the comments but then apply the same amount force, take the same line or use the same strokes this makes the witness of little use. #WorkInProgress

witness - 1st person - 3rd person

witness – 1st person – 3rd person

Pool Sessions – Start again Sunday 7th October 2012

Pool sessions will start again on Sunday 7th October until March 2013

Our new venue will be Wellington Swimming Pool

Time 4pm until 5pm. (Advise getting to pool for 15mins before session to be sure of prompt start)

Cost £4.00 adult £2.00 child (16 and under) Non Members cost will be £5 adults and £2 children.

We can’t store kayaks at the pool, committee members will try to bring a couple of pool boats to each session but unfortunately this can not be guaranteed, so please bring your own kayak to be sure. (Please remember it must be clean and free from debris.)

This is a great place to improve your paddling technique, so whats stopping you?

Look forward to seeing at the pool.