Thursday, 17 July 2014

Kayak Ways Intensive 2014

Setting off for the ferry sooth I got incorporated into the Commonwealth Games baton proceedings, as it headed to the same boat. Much later I was free of the various and many vehicles of the baton 'crew' and police escort which had accompanied me across the Firth and throughout the north of Scotland. The temperature warmed up significantly and I went through the ritual of stopping at Inverness to cast my Orkney summer layers. Much, much later I arrived in leafy Argyll and met up with lovely organisers and hosts, Pam and Alan Forsyth and Julia Darby, and our amazing mentors Cheri and Turner.

Both days were held at Ardentinny, where the customary cluster of kayak carrying cars conglomerated. The weekend's sessions were all about rolling for me and it was great to work through the fundamentals for all rolls and forward finishing rolls in particular. 

Rhiannon focuses on her hip.

Land drills are extra helpful in putting together the movements which go on inside the kayak with the timings of what you can see happening above the deck.

Cheri demonstrates finishing forward - flat shoulders/face down.
Cheri and Turner demonstrated  and talked throughthe importance of body position and the timing of the movements we had practised in relation to each other.

The principles of aft finishing rolls.

Then it was my turn to get some feedback on the homework I have been doing since last time... A year is a long time! Plenty of time to consolidate new skills but also unfortunately when you are practising alone, its  plenty of time to develop bad habits. In a short time Cheri had worked out why I was finding some things sticky or difficult, erratic or inconsistent and got me practising specific sequences to sort it all out! What a difference. Its the magic of Greenland rolling - when you do it properly it feels effortless.

my turn!
Rhiannon's reverse sweep.
Needless to say there was an awful lot to remember after one day of rolling. As usual I felt like I would not be able to remember it all... but after sleeping on the new learning day 2 dawned sunny and positive and we revisited my 'homework' sequence with a great drill, flipping from sculling for support palm up, to chest sculling moving the kayak and your body lower and higher. This movement doesn't mean a lot if like me you are used to just floating face down and mostly prying to finish forward, but once I got the hang of it I knew it would become part of my regular practice routine.

Class in session.
This photo of Alan's kind of sums up the weekend!

photo: Alan Forsyth

A brilliant learning experience shared with old and new tuiliq wearing friends.
Its hard to sum up the significance of the Kayak Ways Intensive experience but if you get the opportunity to find out for yourself - take it!

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