The catch is the most important part of the stroke.
Surprise the water with your catch, bury the blade and create a bubble. Pass that bubble down the side of the canoe as hard and as fast as you can. At the release/exist, let the bubble keep moving down the canoe so the next paddler can aim to get in front of it. If you pull back too far or pull up with your bottom hand, the bubble will rise to the top and make the boat feel heavy. On a nice day without chop, you will see balls on energy coming down the side of the canoe if everyone is doing this effectively.
When your arms are locked and you engage your core, you have no other option that to twist. When you twist, you use more muscles and can paddle for longer distances more efficiently.
Sit square in the boat and don’t lean out.
The best way to improve your paddling is to strengthen your core. Without a strong core, you will start to get lower back pain.
Saying “Hut, Hoe” means, “Ready, Change”. It dictates the stroke rate and helps to keep momentum in the boat. This has started to disappear from the sport. Aim to make your last stroke and the first stroke a full stroke.
When you start to get tired, just focus on your catch. The first thing people do when they are tired, is to shorten the stroke. If you focus on the catch, you will maintain momentum.
In a strong headwind, lighten the stroke. You don’t need grunt and the blade doesn’t need to be deep. You will lift the boat and create speed.
Great crews look comfortable. It takes years and years of paddling to look that good! When you start paddling, you think ‘this is easy’. Then you learn a bit more about technique and try to work on your twist and you start to feel really awkward. This is a good sign! Paddling seems simple, but there is so much to it. So when you start to feel awkward, it probably means you are starting to get it!
New paddlers should only focus on one thing…TIMING! Technique and power will come later. Just focus on your timing.
Outrigging is a hobby; it’s not an Olympic sport and we are not paid athletes!! So don’t lose sight of the reason we do it.