Sunday, 18 October 2015

Macclesfield Canal - 18th October 2015

Club boathouse <> Higher Poynton Marina. Out in a about 48 minutes, back in just under 50. Lots of leaves in the canal leading to a lot of them getting pinned to the bow and an annoying wash.

Bollington Pool Session - 16th October 2015

Used my greenland paddle in the pool and practised the storm roll I had learnt with Helen Wilson on Anglesey. At the end of the session I tried a hand roll, and did one first time, but then failed all subsequent attempts. Oh well.

Macclesfield Canal Hare and Hounds Race - 11th October 2015

Finished 14th in a time of 42:24, but was held up for a while at one of the turns due to a barge getting in the way! I think I need to do some more training, that's 4 minutes down on my best time last year. Nice to see so many paddlers out - 20 paddlers in 17 boats (so that's 3 K2s).

Greenland rolling with Helen Wilson - 4th October 2015

Having spent a number of sessions over the summer trying greenland rolls, I took up the opportunity for some expert tuition with Helen Wilson from who was in the country and running courses over the weekend.

So on a nice still Anglesey morning, four students including myself started off the day on Rhoscolyn beach with some yoga as a warm-up.

Warm-up yoga session - photo credit: Mark Tozer
The group had various levels of rolling experience, with all of us having successfully rolled in the past, but Helen still started off with the basics to ensure we removed any bad habits. Helen broke the roll down into its constituent parts and we did various exercises, initially without boats and paddles, and then progressing to performing "balance braces".

Wot? No boats? - photo credit: Mark Tozer
I'd tried to do a balance brace before, but never managed it purely with a paddle - I needed to use my airbags, but with Helen's help I managed to get into a stable position laying flat on the water using only my paddle for additional buoyancy.

We then took turns with individual tuition from Helen, and my basic greenland roll was OK, so we moved on to my goal of developing my forward finishing rolls, namely the storm roll and the reverse sweep.

To learn the storm roll, you start with what's known as the "continuous storm roll". This entails capsizing with the paddle already in a perpendicular position and ensuring the end of the paddle stays in contact with the upturned hull. The idea then is to use a "pry" technique to right the kayak, keeping in a forward tucked position and using the boat as a fulcrum for the paddle. I started this manoeuvre off with a paddle float to give me additional buoyancy, but progressed to performing the roll without it.

Photo credit: Mark Tozer
Once having mastered the "continuous" version Helen took me through a transition roll where I capsized as normal, but brought the paddle round to a perpendicular position before executing the pry. Again, the main tactic required was to get the paddle resting on the hull and staying in contact with the boat as I righted it.

Finally I moved on to the storm roll proper, where the first part of the roll is a sweep followed by a pry to complete the roll.

After a reasonable amount of success with the storm roll, Helen then tried to teach me the reverse sweep. I didn't get too far with this as I was now getting a bit tired and lacking the energy for a strong "crunch" action to right the boat with the required leg action. So I called it a day a little early and went for a more relaxing paddle around the Beacon to finish up.

I learnt a lot and it was great to meet Helen (and Mark again). Hopefully I'll be able to practice a bit more in pool sessions over the winter.

Hmmm... not sure about the skull cap! - Photo credit: Mark Tozer