August 13, 2005

Kayak geek

On Saturday, I did a lot of thinking. Of necessity, though, my thoughts were fairly repetitive.

Here is a summary of what would should have been my repetitive thoughts:
Check that noseplugs and goggles are on securely. Deep breath. Another deep breath. Tuck forward. Flip upside down. Look up to get oriented. Bring paddle to surface. Make sure paddle has climbing angle. Start sweep while turning tuck to layback and rotating hips. Keep head down. Come to balance brace position using hips. Roll up.

Here is what, unfortunately, I thought instead:
Check that noseplugs and goggles are on securely. Deep breath. Another deep breath. Tuck forward. Flip upside down. Look up to get oriented. Bring paddle to surface. Make sure paddle has climbing angle.
So far, so good.
But then it all fell apart:
Look at my paddle, itís sweeping, and Iím uncoiling. But my paddle is up there and Iím down here. Oh no. I know: let go of paddle! Bang on hull! Grab the bow of Danís boat and come back up that way.

And here is a summary of Danís feedback:
Start sweep while turning tuck to layback and rotating hips. Keep head down. Come to balance brace position using hips. Roll up. (don't panic. You won't drown. Promise.)

(ie. continue on that good path of thoughts outlined in the beginning.)

So, it comes as no surprise to me that the sweep roll without the water-wing paddle float is not happening yet. Progress made today, though: this was probably the most time Iíve spent hanging upside down without panic. And probably the most bow rescues Iíve performed in a row without wet exiting. (There was one wet exit, after a failed balance brace attempt Ė I was clutching the two Greenland paddles, and couldnít for the life of me figure out how to do grab the bow of another boat when I had those paddles in my right hand. So I did what I always do: bailed.)

It was Saturday, which means that I didnít want to work, and being at home seems rather lame too, and I still have this kayak obsession going on. So I happily met Dan and Bert at Long Point Ė it may be Lake Erie, it may be bathtub temperature and boring shores for exploring (trust me. Endlesss stretches of undifferentiated beaches and dunes, without even a bit of wind to kick up some fun surf. Boring), there may even be a dead fish or two. But! Think about it: a whole day of attention from people who know what theyíre doing. Of course Iím going to go! Of course Iím going to be wet most of the day. And of course Iím going to have fun.

It was fun. While we waited for Dan, Bert and I goofed off Ė he worked on some new rolls, I entertained myself by flipping upside down but with the paddlefloat. It wasnít until Dan showed up that I got told to get rid of the security blanket float (and soon after that, he made me let go of the deathgrip I had on his bow). Then, there was a two hour skills session with Dan. And then a four and a half hour paddle (we didnít stop for much of any breaks Ė there were all these biting sandflies. Though I got a break when Dan decided to work on his towing rig, and I got to be princess who is towed for a bit). I spent most of the paddling time using Bertís spare Greenland paddle, and surprised myself that I could get to a decent cruising speed and actually enjoy the technique, though I had a hard time trusting it for low brace turns, and the different blade shape means a lot more steering control has to happen through the hips, not pressure on the blades Ė all good things, really, and ones I should be working on. And then there was some more working on skills (or banging on hulls, as the case may be) and Bert nailed his new roll. And then there was some fish eating and ice cream slurping and then? Then it was over.

It always goes by too fast, the fun.

Posted by Johanna at August 13, 2005 10:04 PM

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