Wednesday, March 26, 2014

breaking the Aleutian paddle

The Aleutian paddle is a pleasure to use, its comfortable, light weight and has a very nice grip on the water. It feels powerful too.
I have made 3 up to now and all of them have broken in the surf. the first one a couple of years ago while I was playing in the waves with Eli. You can see the moment of fracture in the video at 052--056. I guess there was too much pressure on the blade from coming down so hard.
So I made another and kept it our of the surf, just used it to paddle in flat water, until one day I heard the awful crack and found myself with another broken paddle. I tried to repair it with glue and screws and tape , but its still bust.
Top is the first paddle after attempted repair and it just broke again, bottom is the second paddle also attempted repair

Today I broke number 3, I have been using it for a while now and kept out of the surf
, but there were some cute waves just calling out to be surfed and off I went. As I applied power to the blade I heard that dreadful crack again and if you look at the top photo, you can see the middle paddle with a nasty crack right through the shoulder and into the loom.

So, how do I determine the problem? is it bad wood or is there something wrong with the design, maybe these paddles are not made for rough water.
Anybody got any good ideas.
The next repair will be with a carbon fiber sleeve which I have just received, but I would like to make an unbreakable paddle instead.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

how do you paddle

) Heres a short video showing a few of our paddlers doing the forward stroke. See if you can spot the good or the bad bits and suggest improvements. It helps a lot to see yourself paddling on a video, then you can see just how you paddle and find out where you have to work to improve.
So many kayakers so any styles

Friday, March 7, 2014

how to paddle faster

Most of time we paddle forwards, sometimes we need to go sideways or backwards too but mostly its straight ahead.
So it makes sense to invest in getting the right technique in order to become more efficient, to use less energy and to be able to go faster when we want.
I know that there are some paddlers who are not interested in getting better or faster, that's OK too because the bottom line is it should be fun and no one should tell you how to paddle.
On the other hand there are lots of us out there who do want to improve, to get better and faster and to become more efficient paddlers.
I see beginners who join our club suddenly discover that no matter how hard they try they cant keep up with the group. Its not a matter of being stronger or more powerful, its a matter of doing it right
Some look to change their paddles, maybe a bigger blade will help go faster, maybe a wing paddle is the answer?
No its not the paddle, its the paddler and what he or she does with the paddle.
The basics are simple and can be found in many books or on the Internet, its getting them down in practice that's the hard part.
There are good exercises to teach body rotation, my favourite is touching the opposite side of your kayak with your blade before the catch, this helps you to feel how much you can twist your body while paddling.
Paddling with locked elbows is another exercise that also makes you rotate your body to get any forward motion.
Then there is the all important  "catch" when you plant your paddle blade in the water as far forward as you can before you begin to apply power.
This is probably the stage where most people fail . If you don't get your paddle in far enough forwards you waste all that tension that you have stored up in rotating your torso and end up loosing your power and energy.
The exit should also be in the right place, no need to drag your blade past your hips, practice taking it our earlier than you think.
I think its not too difficult to improve, all you need to do is try, and then keep practicing.If you think you need help just ask, there are always others happy to assist and its always a pleasure to see a good paddling style.