Monday, 9 September 2013

Greenland Skills coaching at Paddle Orkney 2013

 Every couple of years we have a peedie sea paddling symposium here in Orkney, cleverly timed to be year about with Shetland who have doing this sort of thing for much longer. This year organisation was lead by Kristian and Nick. Our third gathering attracted folks from all over and was a chance to see returning friends and coaches. Gordon Brown, Bruce Jolliffe, Dave Rossetter, Kate Duffus, Steve MacKinnon and Mags Duncan all did us the honour of returning,
and Kim Bull joined us for the first time.
It was also a chance for me to respond to a few requests for a bit more insight into Greenland skills.
Around the main coached events I helped a few paddlers practice some basic skills and play around with the principles of layback and forward finish rolls. 

Alice and Ben warm up with a few yoga poses.
Nearly everyone had a good idea of the basics, but its nice to have someone confirm what you think you know and demonstrate stuff, and even better, demonstrate stuff slowly right in front of you.
At Scapa with Ben and Iede.
The challenge for me was to help people work from where they were with roll experience and flexibility, and the boats they were in. An unfamiliar boat or a high back deck or a cockpit that is just a bit too deep were all issues we had to factor in.
Improvised avataq.
I learned lots about coaching and learning to roll from this experience. This gave me a chance to put coach training, experience of being mentored and countless hours of practice together. What happened? I heard myself saying many of those things Cheri or Turner had said to me, I saw the classic issues most people encounter and I knew so well myself. I saw how convinced you can be about body or paddle position and yet be way off perpendicular... I saw my cheek problem!

Alice pretends to be me. Very convincing!
 I also saw how quickly and easily it can be learned with the best equipment and by being flexible and relaxed - and how rewarding it is to pass it on.
We need more folks on the Greenland journey - I need a bit of company!

Catriona and Desi - stick synchronicity.

Thanks to Ansgar, Alice, Ben, Iede, Iain, Anne, Catriona and Desi for letting me share.
Iain tries the Tahe and likes it.
Lets keep spreading the green virus!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Greenland weekend with Kayak Ways at Loch Eck 2013

As the weather turns and the days grow ever shorter I have been looking back over the summer's events. With only a few pool sessions throughout last winter I hadn't done much rolling at all before setting off for Loch Eck in early June to meet up with Cheri and Turner, and Pam and Alan, for a weekend of Kayak Ways coaching.

After the long drive down from Orkney I was rewarded with the sight of bluebell woods and pine forests surrounded a small bay just right for our purposes on the shores of Loch Eck. What a fabulous location! It was lovely to meet Julia and see familiar faces from the Women's Sea Kayak Festival in Bute the year before. Though not quite a Greenland camp or symposium, this weekend has become a time to meet up with other enthusiasts.

We started with looking at paddles - its a great opportunity to see the variety and try out different shapes and materials, sharp/weighted/shouldered/non-shouldered/laminated/one piece/3 piece....but the star of the show this time was definitely the carbon 'Razor' by Novorca. This is the carbon version of the paddle Turner makes which many people, including myself, have wanted to own as soon as trying it out. 

Following land drills and thinking about body movement on shore  we watched as Cheri demonstrated and Turner described. ( When Cheri uses my kayak I kind of hope it will develop a memory of its own...) Then it was down to business. As usual I had opted to focus on a couple of specific rolls - forward forward norsaq and reverse sweep norsaq. I can only learn so much over a weekend, so working over a couple of days on a limited number of moves gives me a good foundation to take home for when I am working on my own. Clutching my new norsaq I was ready to go and over the two days  built up lots to take away and practice.

Thanks again to Pam and Alan, and Julia for hosting and the lovely meals.
And thanks to KayakWays for your excellent coaching. Haste ye back!