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PostPosted: May 24th, 2016, 2:18 pm 
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Ah, the power of first impressions. They are as important with experiences as they are with people.

You already know what you need to do. Start smaller and build up. While in the grand scheme of whitewater Palmers is considered a great beginner spot, the addition of high water and cold temperatures make it much less friendly.

I find swims at higher flows anywhere more stressful. While usually less bumpy the current can really carry you before you can get out of it sometimes. Add in the initial cold water shock (even with a drysuit) and it can be an unpleasant experience.

For starting out, I recommend going to an easy area in good warm weather and paddle with a small group who can help build confidence. Get used to the current and don't necessarily focus on instruction right away. I'd recommend the Elora Gorge at low summer flows (under 10 on the gauge).

And never feel bad by sitting one out. Listen to your gut. I've been paddling for years and sometimes I feel "off" and opt to walk something I've run successfully in the past or that others make look easy. When your mind starts questioning your body will follow!


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PostPosted: May 24th, 2016, 2:50 pm 
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You guys are all awesome, thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement.

frozentripper: Yeah, I was the only one who could see the bats. Immediately after freaking out I watched an eight-year old kid jump down Jessop's chute on a boogie board. He definitely wasn't feeling the same way I was. The shock of the cold water was ok to cool off in my drysuit as it was about 25C outside until my ankles felt awfully heavy and wet and cold. It will certainly be nice to try again without a giant suit (literally) weighing me down.

Neil Fitzpatrick: There were SO many people there! 160 registered for courses, plus spectators and about another 150 people camping and not paddling. During the second half of the second day, we chose to cut our lunch break short as a group and head out early which meant we had a bit of time when it was quieter. At this point I was able to focus and I was feeling pretty good about how I was progressing. After everyone else finished lunch and joined us on the river, I was very preoccupied with trying to avoid what felt like thousands of playboats. It was like that feeling where you don't know when to jump in skipping rope and everyone is watching. Thank you for sharing your experience, too. It really is great to know that I'm not the only one who's gone through this when, as you said, there's a ton of bravado in whitewater paddle sports.

Ralph: Exactly. I need to go back to basics and get comfortable again before trying anything bigger. It didn't feel great to try to remember halfway through the run which stroke I should be using to stop from tipping over. Everyone else in the group was very gung-ho and I've never been like that.

DougB: Paddling Elora Gorge in summer is what made me want to pursue this farther in the first place! It was a few years ago and my first time in moving water. I had a blast. I made Andrew portage up around the rapid probably fifteen times so we could run it again and again. High water definitely made swimming trickier. The last time we swam we ended up about 500m downstream from the place we went in.

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PostPosted: May 24th, 2016, 5:47 pm 
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Hi tearknee. I can relate to your story. I think the bow position can be very frustrating role to play in WW. On the one hand, you're not steering the boat, so you can feel a bit helpless. But on the other, the bow paddler plays a big role in keeping the boat upright during turns that are initiated from the stern. So if you flip, it can feel like it's your fault. Sucks! Loathsome even.

I echo all that has been stated above. Start small, work up, keep it fun. Make your partner paddle bow. I will add something that has helped me remember where my paddle needs to be when crossing eddy lines, something that really didn't click until I started learning solo this year. This might help you in the bow as well, since it is sort of a solo position up there. Simply stated, always paddle on the inside of the turn or arc being described by your canoe when crossing the eddy line. With this frame of reference you don't need to keep track of upstream or downstream, eddy-in, peel-out, etc; by thinking in terms of arcs for your maneuver you will quickly know whether you need to be onside with your paddle or reaching over with a cross-stroke or draw. You will also automatically lean in the right direction. If you are not on the inside of your arc with your paddle (or turn), you will flip.

Having said this I'm a better swimmer than paddler. On this basis I can highly recommend Boreal Whitewater Rescue for swiftwater training. They hold 2 and 4 day courses on the Gatineau River near Maniwaki. For myself this experience helped deal with the fear issue a little bit.


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PostPosted: May 24th, 2016, 5:52 pm 
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As new canoeists, my wife and I went to Palmer Rapids for white-water training for a club run course. We didn't drown but were not advancing in skill very quickly. The next season we went again and had a very tough time in higher water. Only because we continued to do many flat-water trips we gave white-water one more try, making it three consecutive years at Palmers. We ended up renting a Starburst canoe, versus an Old Town Tripper and Disco 16 in the previous courses. It was a make or break test, we needed to get better or give up. Whether the boat helped or some skills finally manifested we had a great weekend and executed all of the techniques we had previously struggled with. Now the spring runs, on the Credit and 16 Mile creek are the way we open the padding seasons.

ImageDarryl & Rosa Whitewater 2006 by darl_h, on Flickr


Tandem white water can be tougher to learn for couples then solo but it is a great skill to have.


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PostPosted: May 24th, 2016, 10:07 pm 
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Peter K Said
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The sport in general has a retention problem. Too many people do the beginners and then drop out.


Totally agree with Peter that the Average paddler will take 2 days of progression slowly moving up.
The key word is average.
Some learn faster, others have a more difficult time.
Especially if they learn differently.
Some very smart people can put way to much thought into the process when it ia a reaction to the situation is needed.

From a coaching and instruction point of view (I am a past Provincial coach and examining instructor)
Good Tandem paddling is much harder than people realize.
Truth be known it is harder than solo - canoe or kayak
First communication must be very good.
Are you seeing the same thing?
If not it is a fight, the boat will not do what you want it to do.
(You are new to WW it is different)
Strokes in synch to make the boat move/dance.

To keep it short, there are many things in tandem paddling that add up to a good progression in skills in TEAM paddling.
And it is not easy.
There are very good paddlers that I have paddled with and we have swam..... :oops:
But there are others that the boat just danced.
It takes time and practice and patience.
Jeff

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 8:25 am 
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That's a great point, swampwalker. There were several times when I knew we were going to go over and I felt completely helpless to stop it. That's a very helpful tip, too. I'll put that into practice next time. I'm always in the bow, so it would be good to switch it up and try to paddle stern.
Darl-h: Thanks for sharing your experience! Perseverance clearly paid off in your situation. I'd love to try paddling a Starburst. We paddled a prospector this weekend as it was the only boat available. We've had much better success in the Nova Craft Moisie on the Credit River. Have you seen the new Starlight? It's a beautiful boat. It's a collab between Echo Paddles, Composite Creations, and Mike Yee Outfitting and it was at Palmer Fest this weekend available for demos. And yes.. There is something especially difficult about learning tandem whitewater as a couple. We were never expressly angry with each other, but we've been together for ten years and know how the other reacts to stressful situations and it ain't always pretty. I don't want to end up in a "divorce boat"!
Thanks, jedi jeffi. We really improved our communication on this excursion but there is still a ton of room for improvement. Every time we went over it was because we weren't listening and paying attention to each other. When we worked together, things went smoothly. I hope with more practice and focus on synchronization we will get better at communicating. Kind of like learning a dance routine.. And Andrew doesn't dance!

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 9:36 am 
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Have you tried paddling stern?
As a husband/wife duo we find this works best. Man in the front has greater reach and more power for initiating rapid turns or acceleration and reaching across eddy lines. Plus we are paddling slightly bow down which increases turn rate and as trad boat paddlers this is a real bonus for reverse ferries.

On that topic we are pretty much "old school" white water trippers. We rely mostly on reverse ferries and generally try to paddle slower than current. I find it easier to route find and don't like to sit in an eddy trying to turn round to spot where the route we had scouted earlier goes. For me I find big eddy turns and and s-turns are best left for the days when we are fooling around.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 10:28 am 
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Chris Randall: Excellent suggestion, thank you! We've never tried switching it up before because Andrew has better steering capabilities. We will try this next time, though. I know what you mean about sitting in an eddy.. Gives me too much time to think and psych myself out instead of trying to pick my way down.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 12:04 pm 
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tearknee wrote:
Chris Randall: Excellent suggestion, thank you! We've never tried switching it up before because Andrew has better steering capabilities. We will try this next time, though.


I have very little tandem canoeing experience but as far as I can tell the stern is the easier of the two positions as far as steering goes, at least in terms of physical effort required.

I think if both paddlers are really paddlers and want to contribute to the navigation of the canoe then the bow is a good place for the strongest paddler with the most skills.

My normal tandem partner doesn't get out very often and is happiest to just paddle along and take directions when we hit some light whitewater. She has a hard time steering in the bow but can steer in the stern well enough. In moving water I prefer to be in the bow and her in the stern. We have better boat control that way but she usually doesn't like paddling stern as she feels too much responsibility for setting the overall course of the canoe and she can't relax as much. For that reason I usually stay in the stern, which works fine.

Andrew might like being in the bow. I think it's fun. I love getting to use different strokes and to force/finesse the bow into position on moving water. The bowman/woman is also the first to see hidden underwater obstructions and has to react fast and forcefully at times.

In marathon racing the strongest paddler is always in the bow. One reason is because having the stronger stroke in the rear makes the canoe want to turn more during straight ahead travel. In the bow Andrew's forward stroke would have less turning effect and all his power can be put towards forward travel rather than using steering strokes to keep a straight course.

In marathon paddling a strong and proficient bow paddler is also critical for slight course corrections (don't let bow get caught by the current in upstream travel), keep from banging into other canoes when side by side, and for cross over strokes at buoy turns.

Many tandem marathon canoes are designed with the stern seat to be way in back so the lighter weight stern paddler (woman or child) can offset the weight of the heavier bow paddler.

Alan


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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 12:06 pm 
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Keep working on the different strokes and maneuvers.
Especially in flat water where it is easier to work on technique.
The best paddlers in the world all work on the basic maneuvers in flat water or very easy moving water.
Get someone to take movie of you, but have the ability to look at it right away.
Many paddlers are doing something completely different than what they think they are doing.
Many paddlers learn faster with the instant feed back instead of making it a social later on.
Back in the day before all these micro cameras when we ran training camps at Minden we would run power cables and have tv's set up by the river. Both at the flat water and by the rapids.
Another thing that is needed is "goals"
That is a great mindset and motivator.
Short term and long term, not necessarily by a racing stand point but what type of rivers lakes do you want to paddle.
Good white water strokes will be immensely important if you plan on paddling on the big lakes.
Even a flat water river can have a strong current and take you into sweepers.
It will open up a ton more of paddling opportunities.
As mentioned earlier do take a swift water rescue course.
Knowing what to do and look out for will help you relax a whole lot more.
NRS has a very good series of that with Jim Coffey.
There is also a mixed bag to tandem paddling videos some are good some are......
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 1:08 pm 
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Master the fundamental canoeing moving water strokes and manoeuvres as well as concepts and communication/working as a team on flat water (turns and figure eight drills) and then in current. Progress to stronger current. Once you have a solid base then more into whitewater.

Hang in there as there is a lot to learn. The reward is that moving water skills open up paddling opportunities as well as increase safety and efficiency for canoe tripping--more tools in your kit. And it's fun to paddle whitewater.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 1:24 pm 
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Alan Gage: I had no idea about all of that! I guess we stuck with our usual positions because it's what we've always done. Makes perfect sense now that you've explained it. Andrew also has perfect eyesight and me.. Not so much. Should definitely help us avoid rocks even on flatwater, haha.

jedi jeffi: I like your idea of filming it. I went to college for acting for film and tv and it was always best to view our work right away so we knew exactly how things were translating to the screen. Great suggestion.

Paddle Power: Do you have any recommendations for more drills we could practice on the flats? I work well when I stick to a schedule.

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 2:48 pm 
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Quote:
Andrew also has perfect eyesight and me.. Not so much. Should definitely help us avoid rocks even on flatwater, haha.


Yeah, definitely try it. Even if you don't like it in the long run it's helpful to get a perspective from the other paddler. You'll both find little things that can be done in certain situations that can take pressure off the other paddler simply because you know what they're struggling with at that moment because you've been there. And you might also find out that Andrew's eyesight isn't as good as he thinks. ;)

Alan


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PostPosted: May 25th, 2016, 3:25 pm 
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Alan Gage wrote:
Quote:
Andrew also has perfect eyesight and me.. Not so much. Should definitely help us avoid rocks even on flatwater, haha.


Yeah, definitely try it. Even if you don't like it in the long run it's helpful to get a perspective from the other paddler. You'll both find little things that can be done in certain situations that can take pressure off the other paddler simply because you know what they're struggling with at that moment because you've been there. And you might also find out that Andrew's eyesight isn't as good as he thinks. ;)

Alan


I think this will be really helpful. I also can't wait until he finds the one rock with the canoe and the blame isn't entirely on me and my poor eyesight :rofl: Right now I can only laugh at him for being colour-blind in spite of his 15/20 vision. Put a red flower in a green field and he'll never find it!

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PostPosted: May 26th, 2016, 1:10 pm 
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Here are some drill ideas. The goal is to mimic mw strokes and manoeuvres on flat water.

I use the classic flat water turns and figure eight. Both help with strokes and boat control, as well as mimic mw manoeuvres--eddy turns and S turns.
Paddle 6 strokes towards a target (a float, rock, log, etc.), initiate a right turn, and carry the momentum until the canoe has turns 90 degrees. Repeat for a left turn. Work on maintaining momentum, turn initiation, tilting the canoe hull and maintaining the tilted hull, and then flattening the hull once you have turned 90 degrees.
For flat water figure eights, you need an area large enough to paddle two large circles. Sometimes it's helpful to have a target (something floating) for the middle of the circles or at least a good mental image of where the two circles intersect. Paddle forward to gain momentum and enter the figure eight at the intersection point, initiation a right turn, tilt the canoe hull, and maintain momentum and tilt as you paddle in a circle. Once back to the intersection point, flatten the hull and initiate a turn to the opposite direction (left), tilt the canoe hull, and maintain momentum and tilt as you paddle in a circle. Keep paddling figure eights, circling right then left. You can try making your circles smaller and bigger.

The key to remaining upright is boat tilt. These are kayaking but the concept is similar for canoeing. You'll also have to adjust for tandem as she wrote it from solo kayaking.
Scroll down and start reading and practicing at the Edge Control Drills title:
http://www.watergirlsatplay.com/blog/an ... technique/

Here are some classic links
Develop Your Balance:
http://www.bobfoote.com/bob/tips/develo ... alance.htm

The Golden Principles
http://www.bobfoote.com/bob/tips/thegol ... cipals.htm

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