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!


  1. Nice post, we have Helen Wilson coming here in oct for our sympo. We are starting to see more paddlers using the Greenland paddle at last. Its taking a long time but change is coming

    1. Hi Steve - it takes time doesn't it! Living in a peripheral community makes me feel particularly cut off from other stick users. I am hoping to meet Helen myself for the first time in November. Looking forward to it. :)