Archive for March, 2014

Sun, Fun, Surf and Sand

Last weekend I headed down the coast to California Canoe and Kayak’s Half Moon Bay location for a weekend of classes. Both mornings I ran Simplifying the Roll, a multi-level rolling class, in the calm of the harbor. Participants worked their way through everything from first rolls to hand rolls, and great weather added to the summery feel of the day.

A gorgeous day on the harbor.

A gorgeous day on the harbor.

Both afternoons I ran Combat Rolling. This class started in the harbor where participants cleaned up their rolls and were given scenarios to take their rolling out of the “comfort zone.” We then went on a short paddle across the harbor, followed by an even shorter portage. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with our rolls in surf, rocks and sand.

Gentle waves provided a great learning environment.

There are lots of ways to break through surf.

The day was all about getting wet.

The day was all about getting wet.

And positioning.

And getting wetter.

We spent some time working on positioning ourselves in the break zone.

And just enjoying a day on the water.

Kelly patiently waits for the next set of set waves.

Kelly patiently waits for the next set of set waves.

It was a wonderful weekend, and it’s always great to hang out with the awesome people from California Canoe and Kayak and their friends. Thanks everyone!

Rotating the Kayak (the “hip snap”)

Question: I’m having problems with my hip snap.  I’m fit, strong and flexible but can’t seem to get the hang of the hip snap, especially when the water is cold.  Do you have any recommendations for dry land practice that could help this and translate to when I’m practicing in my boat?  I really want to add a roll to my skills but I’ve stalled out at this point much to my frustration!

Answer: The problem that you’re having likely has nothing to do with strength or flexibility. It’s probably just a timing issue and understanding what needs to happen with the leg. Try to think of applying pressure to the kayak as opposed to “snapping” the kayak with the hip. I think that the best place to learn this motion is in the water. Here I’ll describe an exercise with a right side recovery. Adjust as needed.

Begin by placing an inflated paddle float on your right hand. Let out enough air that you feel confident that you can take it off easily underwater. Stash your paddle so that it doesn’t block your sprayskirt and make your way into a Balance Brace. Keeping your body flat in the water, start to apply pressure to the kayak using your right knee, your right thigh and your right hip. Get the kayak to rotate so that it is as upright as you can get it. Then, using control with your right knee, thigh and hip, rotate the kayak back to its starting position and continue to rotate it until it is almost upside down. Keep rocking the kayak back and forth in this manner using only your right knee, thigh and hip. Make sure that your shoulders stay flat on the surface of the water and that your head is relaxed, with your eyebrows slightly underwater. You should start to notice the impact the right side of your body has on the kayak’s rotation. This is the motion for the roll. – Helen

Greenland or Bust’s March Newsletter

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