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Ällen Mäyers
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Great summary of the "rules". Intermediate paddlers frequently come into an upstream to fast and angled too far downstream, then lose all the momentum in getting through the up ... with no reserve left to reaccelerate the boat. They are better served by setting the optimal approach angle into the upstream to take advantage of the eddy, and executing easy glide (clean) in, and hard acceleration out.
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2016 on Lines at Ron Lugbill Whitewater Slalom Racing Blog
Interesting comparison. I have spent some time looking at and thinking about the 'bounce" or "pop" from buoyancy that happens when you shove the stern under fast and deep, in a pivot using either a draw or back sweep. Surfers when attempting to catch a wave will "spike" the board, shoving it down with both hands as deep as possible in the water on an approaching wave. The board goes down to a maximum point, then pops up ... and as it does, they start hand paddling like mad to catch the wave. In a slalom kayak, it is more complicated. You are turning the boat when you are pivoting and "spiking" the stern. Initially you need outside edge to shove the stern down as far as you can, but even before the maximum depth you must smoothly change to the inside edge,which allows buoyancy to push the stern both around the turn, but also in a forward direction. From observation, the top paddlers will time the exit stroke to maximize this 'free' acceleration, pausing slightly until the buoyancy of the shoved down stern starts to push the boat forward. If this exit stroke is a little early, or a little late, they will not get the maximum acceleration out of the pivot. Watch in slow motion sometime ... it is revealing.
Very good points here. When watching the top paddlers on a particular section, almost all of them will use the same stroke combinations when they are on line and on plan. Of course when they get off line/plan, this usually calls for a different sequence. But even when on line, occasionally one of them will choose a different sequence. It's a good exercise to notice this, and then to think about why they choose this altered stroke sequence. I noticed this at Nationals in Dickerson on Sunday, 13 was a flush gate bordering a substantial hole. Almost all the top K1 men did an outside forward stroke to enter the eddy behind the hole, then 2 strokes on the upstream side to propel the boat across the backwash and avoid going in the hole, then a draw to forward stroke on the downstream side to clear the gate and turn toward the next up. Michal did only 1 stroke on the upstream side, presumably deciding that there was enough glide to not need the 2. His move looked just as fast as the other top 8 K1M ... but he saved a stroke and some energy. Fabien also had a slightly different technique than the other top paddlers on Saturday at the same gate 13 (it was right to left flush on Saturday, then left to right on Sunday). You can improve your slalom skills ... even watching from the arm chair :).
Ällen Mäyers is now following Ron Lugbill
Sep 30, 2014
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Sep 30, 2014