leong

To Pause or not to Pause

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The object on the catch is to bury the paddle in the water as quickly as possible to set yourself up for the rest of the stroke. Thus, this implies a slight pause before pulling as you spear the water to allow the paddle to be completely submerged. For instance, Brent Reitz says here http://www.usawildwater.com/training/fwdstroke.html

“If you start to unwind AS you plant the blade, rather than before the blade is fully buried beneath the surface, you will unnecessarily lose several inches in the stroke length and lose a lot of power stored up in your rotation. These inches can add up to as much as an 18% loss in efficiency over the course of a race.”

Also, Leon Sommé says here http://www.adventurekayakmag.com/features/features-skills/1359-perfect-your-forward-stroke.html

“…at the catch phase, make sure the blade is fully submerged before any body rotation begins. Load the blade, and then begin your rotation to power yourself forward. Too many paddlers rotate as they stab the paddle into the water, creating an air pocket that reduces the power and efficiency at this critical phase.”

Okay, there are two advantages to delay pulling before the blade is fully submerged:

1. So you don’t lose several inches of the stroke with the full blade.

2. To prevent an air pocket behind the blade.

But I don’t think that the experts address a significant cost of this delay. For example, suppose you’re paddling along at 6 mph (equivalent to 8.8 ft/sec). Say it takes one hundredth of a second (10 milliseconds) to completely bury your paddle blade (I don’t know if that’s a realistic delay, but let’s use it anyway). That means your paddle is pushing in the wrong direction against the water for .088 feet (about 1 inch). Although one inch is small, it’s a significant fraction of the total distance the paddle will move during each stroke. So burying your paddle completely before pulling has an associated cost. Have you heard of anyone addressing this cost?

Because Olympic paddlers do whatever it takes to win, I’m sure that the advantages of the delay outweigh the associated cost. And perhaps they can bury their blades in only 1 millisecond or less. But right or wrong, sometimes I split the difference; that is, I sometimes start pulling back before the blade is completely submerged (please don’t tell on me). I haven’t been able to quantify the effect of doing this.

Any thoughts on this? The subject applies to casual paddling as much as it does for racing.

Leon

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I have a sneaking suspicion, dear Leon, that you are embarked on a futile trip here -- surely there can <be> no free trip? There is always a cost. In the same way that thrust equals drag when the body in question is in constant motion, how <can> you ever improve this situation?

I love it when you introduce these academic questions: it makes everyone think hard!

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I have a sneaking suspicion, dear Leon, that you are embarked on a futile trip here -- surely there can <be> no free trip? There is always a cost. In the same way that thrust equals drag when the body in question is in constant motion, how <can> you ever improve this situation?

I love it when you introduce these academic questions: it makes everyone think hard!

Yes, my good friend, you’re right about TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).

But my post doesn’t violate TANSTAAFL at all. I’m talking about efficiency. For example, when doing an Eskimo roll it’s more efficient to do a hipsnap than not. I’m not looking for a work-free trip on my kayak, I’m just looking to minimize the amount of work done so that I can go farther or faster for no additional energy cost.

>>“In the same way that thrust equals drag when the body in question is in constant motion, how <can> you ever improve this situation?

Yes, thrust equals drag whether you’re using a spoon or a modern wing paddle. But, to go the same speed, you’ll use a lot less energy with the wing.

Anyway, it’s good to think hard sometimes. Here’s an example (based on Russell’s paradox in set theory) requiring a little “harder” thinking:

The barber in a remote town shaves all those men who don’t shave themselves. Does the barber shave himself?

Respectfully,

Leon

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Do we have two different topics on purpose?

Anyway... As Leon knows, I've had lots of trouble with the whole pause before catch thing. Doesn't work for me at all above a certain speed. One problem: you are pausing at the extremity of rotation and with hands raised - not the greatest rest position. The other problem: it does give an extremely efficient catch. You go from no load on the paddle to full load very quickly. I find the sudden load on the forearm to be an issue. Sort of like "if it hurts you are doing it right". Well, not really, but close to it.

I'm not arguing that it is probably the most efficient way to paddle, just have a hard time doing it. Secretly I wonder if this is the best way for, um, well, men to paddle, but maybe not women. Or maybe that's just an excuse.

Somewhat related to this: When I first started using the wing I had some forearm problems which were "solved" by getting a very slightly smaller wing. That is, I deliberately chose a less efficient paddle to reduce the load on my arms. Smaller paddle, higher cadence. OK. Now I work like crazy to develop the most efficient stroke possible with my "less-efficient" paddle.

Oh, well. If there were no challenges in life, life would be very, very boring.

-Lisa

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Do we have two different topics on purpose?

Anyway... As Leon knows, I've had lots of trouble with the whole pause before catch thing. Doesn't work for me at all above a certain speed. One problem: you are pausing at the extremity of rotation and with hands raised - not the greatest rest position. The other problem: it does give an extremely efficient catch. You go from no load on the paddle to full load very quickly. I find the sudden load on the forearm to be an issue. Sort of like "if it hurts you are doing it right". Well, not really, but close to it.

I'm not arguing that it is probably the most efficient way to paddle, just have a hard time doing it. Secretly I wonder if this is the best way for, um, well, men to paddle, but maybe not women. Or maybe that's just an excuse.

Somewhat related to this: When I first started using the wing I had some forearm problems which were "solved" by getting a very slightly smaller wing. That is, I deliberately chose a less efficient paddle to reduce the load on my arms. Smaller paddle, higher cadence. OK. Now I work like crazy to develop the most efficient stroke possible with my "less-efficient" paddle.

Oh, well. If there were no challenges in life, life would be very, very boring.

-Lisa

>>Do we have two different topics on purpose?

Yes. The earlier thread (To Glide or not to Glide) concerns the pause that happens before spearing the water. As I said there, the purposes for that pause are:

1. To make sure you get a good clean catch and

2. To rest while your kayak glides.

This one (To Pause or not to Pause) concerns pausing as your paddle blade enters the water until you begin pulling. And as I stated above, the purposes of this particular pause are also twofold:

1. So you don’t lose several inches of the stroke with the full blade.

2. To prevent an air pocket behind the blade.

Lisa, I think that you’re missing the first pause above. I’m not sure whether you do the second one or not. It’s hard to tell for high cadence paddling. Anyway, despite all the expert opinions recommending these two pauses, I’m really not sure how useful they are. In fact, that’s the main reason for my two posts. Don’t worry about it. I have a hard enough time keeping up with you.

Leon

PS

Yell at me offline about all this.

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<This one (To Pause or not to Pause) concerns pausing as your paddle blade enters the water until you begin pulling>

NO! NO! NO! Now (I think) I am "with you"; but -- surely? -- if you pause once the paddle is in the water, then you are causing <only> drag for that instant? And massive drag, at that. Isn't the answer to get the paddle <blade> into the water and submerged as fast as possible, thus making the spearing movement and the start of the actual pulling part of the stroke one-and-the-same thing?

I think you're making an issue where none exists? I was also thinking you were referring to the <other> pause (yes, the "Ben Lawrie pause")

Let me <pause> here a moment and consider...it all sounds a little too Shakespearean for me on a Monday morning...! ;^)

Help, Lisa!

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<This one (To Pause or not to Pause) concerns pausing as your paddle blade enters the water until you begin pulling>

NO! NO! NO! Now (I think) I am "with you"; but -- surely? -- if you pause once the paddle is in the water, then you are causing <only> drag for that instant? And massive drag, at that. Isn't the answer to get the paddle <blade> into the water and submerged as fast as possible, thus making the spearing movement and the start of the actual pulling part of the stroke one-and-the-same thing?

I think you're making an issue where none exists? I was also thinking you were referring to the <other> pause (yes, the "Ben Lawrie pause")

Let me <pause> here a moment and consider...it all sounds a little too Shakespearean for me on a Monday morning...! ;^)

Help, Lisa!

You must read what I actually said, not what you think I might have said.

Yes, yes, yes! I said, “The object on the catch is to bury the paddle in the water as quickly as possible to set yourself up for the rest of the stroke.” didn't I (I must have because I used a copy and paste to get it here)?

There is a large (but diminishing) breaking force until your paddle moves back at the speed of the boat … and that's what I'm talking about (the time to bury the blade can be small, but it can’t be 0 unless you’re superwoman). So I think out loud ... perhaps it would be better to start the pull before the blade is completely buried in the water. Perhaps the experts like Reitz haven’t considered this. I don’t know? More likely they have and they’ve determined that it’s still more efficient to delay the pull until the blade is fully submerged; i.e. the heck with the breaking force.

You said, “Lisa help”?

Surely, you’re kidding Sir? Her post here was misplaced … it should have been on the other thread “To Glide or not to Glide”.

Respectively,

Leon

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So I think out loud ... perhaps it would be better to start the pull before the blade is completely buried in the water. Perhaps the experts like Reitz haven’t considered this. I don’t know? More likely they have and they’ve determined that it’s still more efficient to delay the pull until the blade is fully submerged; i.e. the heck with the breaking force.

Perhaps it is just terminology. Just because you "don't start the pull" until the blade is fully submerged does not mean you have to "actively brake" while submerging the blade. Just dropping the blade into the water should cause negligible drag if you do not resist the water as it moves the blade.

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Perhaps it is just terminology. Just because you "don't start the pull" until the blade is fully submerged does not mean you have to "actively brake" while submerging the blade. Just dropping the blade into the water should cause negligible drag if you do not resist the water as it moves the blade.

Thanks, Bill; you’re the first one to really address my question. I wonder if that’s what the experts mean; i.e. you just let the blade float backwards until it’s completely submerged. If it takes 10 milliseconds to submerge it then, at 6 mph, the blade will have moved back about 1 inch before you start the pull. This one-inch then reduces your stroke length by one inch. And it’s the beginning of the stroke that’s the most powerful and efficient part. So, I wonder if Reitz has accounted for a loss of one-inch in his statement,

“If you start to unwind AS you plant the blade, rather than before the blade is fully buried beneath the surface, you will unnecessarily lose several inches in the stroke length and lose a lot of power stored up in your rotation. These inches can add up to as much as an 18% loss in efficiency over the course of a race.”

Of course, perhaps the blade could be buried faster, say in just one millisecond; then the loss in stroke length would only be about a tenth of an inch. I doubt that you could bury it that fast though. Say your blade is 1 foot long. To bury the full length of the blade in 1 millisecond you’d have to push it down about 682 mph!

Respectfully,

Leon

(obviously I meant respectfully, not respectively, in answering pintails last post)

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Perhaps this is the answer, I'm not sure yet:

A tip to think about getting the “pause” going to your advantage, is to really not think of it like “a pause” with anything other than Your Torso….The Hands, Shaft, Blade…everything else keeps moving on a constant, but you need to hold-back the recoil of The Torso a split second, to allow the all of Those Other Moving Parts enough time to engage with the water fully…Specifically burying the blade fully and as far forward as is natually possible. The Torso-Pause may come to you easier if you think about the movement in these terms.

Once you get that movement ingrained, it becomes as automatic as your current movement is now. Let’s work on that one first, and remember to ask me about the “finishing too far away from the boat-thing” when we see each other next. Cheers, brent

Leon

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A tip to think about getting the “pause” going to your advantage, is to really not think of it like “a pause” with anything other than Your Torso….The Hands, Shaft, Blade…everything else keeps moving on a constant, but you need to hold-back the recoil of The Torso a split second, to allow the all of Those Other Moving Parts enough time to engage with the water fully…Specifically burying the blade fully and as far forward as is naturally possible. The Torso-Pause may come to you easier if you think about the movement in these terms.

That sounds a lot like what I was trying to say. You just wait for the blade to fully engage the water, not trying to resist or brake, not trying to pull or accelerate, just letting the blade flow with and into the water with very little effort on your part. This waiting is the "Torso-Pause" phase described in the quote. Then once the blade is fully engaged, you unwind applying both your body's stored elastic energy and your muscle power.

I don't recall where I saw it. However, I recall reading that in competitive rowing shells, the best rowers apply more of their power to the very beginning of their stroke than average rowers do. I suspect the same applies to kayaking. For maximum race efficiency you "Torso-Pause" just until the blade is fully engaged, then give it all you have as quickly as possible.

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That sounds a lot like what I was trying to say. You just wait for the blade to fully engage the water, not trying to resist or brake, not trying to pull or accelerate, just letting the blade flow with and into the water with very little effort on your part. This waiting is the "Torso-Pause" phase described in the quote. Then once the blade is fully engaged, you unwind applying both your body's stored elastic energy and your muscle power.

I don't recall where I saw it. However, I recall reading that in competitive rowing shells, the best rowers apply more of their power to the very beginning of their stroke than average rowers do. I suspect the same applies to kayaking. For maximum race efficiency you "Torso-Pause" just until the blade is fully engaged, then give it all you have as quickly as possible.

Thanks, Bill. I’m not sure that what you say is completely consistent with what Brent Reitz said in the quote that I linked. But that aside, I’m not sure that Brent actually practices what he preaches. For instance, in another place he says, (http://www.usawildwater.com/training/fwdstroke.html) ,

“Timing during the catch is also very important. If you can pause just a millisecond and allow the paddle to be fully submerged before you pull on it with your lower hand, you will have much more power at the front one-third of the length of your stroke. The pause should be very short, yet fluid with the rest of your stroke.”

Sounds good until you calculate that in “just a millisecond” the paddle blade won’t be anywhere near fully submerged. Say that the maximum velocity that you could shove the paddle down would be something like 30 mph. Then, in 1 millisecond, the paddle blade would only go down about one-half inch, far from fully submerged. Okay, maybe Brent is exaggerating. But it’s quite a big exaggeration. If 30 mph is the right downward velocity (and I doubt anyone could push down the paddle faster), Brent would have to pause 23 milliseconds for the paddle to submerge (assuming the blade is one foot long). But the point is that the longer it takes to shove the blade down, the father back the paddle moves without any thrust. In fact, the inertia of the paddle (due to its mass) actually causes some drag force on the boat, but granted it’s a small drag force. It’s pretty hard to allow the paddle to freely do whatever it wants in the horizontal direction while pushing down in the perpendicular direction.

Maybe I’m wrong, but here’s what my instincts tells me to do: Instead of “just letting the blade flow with and into the water” as you say, I pull the paddle back with my arms to quickly match the speed of the boat in addition to pushing it down fast. Of course the paddle is still going down all during this arm-pulling phase. Doing it this way I’m applying some thrust to the boat during this “pause” so that it eliminates the completely powerless horizontal distance the blade would move during a real pause. When the paddle is fully submerged, I follow the expert’s advice and pull much harder with trunk rotation. But don’t tell anyone that I do it this way. It’s better to listen to the experts.

Any comments out there?

Leon

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Thanks, Bill. I’m not sure that what you say is completely consistent

Hi Leon, I edited your quote to improve its accuracy for brevity. :) At the moment, I don't even know how I execute the forward stroke. I'll have to pay attention the next time I go paddling.

By the way, nice link. Improving my forward stroke is definitely one of my goals, and Brent Reitz's page definitely has some ideas for me to compare against what I actually do.

It seems both you pushing it down fast and Brent spearing the salmon agree that fully inserting the paddle into the water quickly is important. I suspect that I have tended to be lazy there.

I think we all agree that the paddler should not exert effort to make the partially inserted blade act as a brake. Avoiding a braking action seems to require some arm motion. What arm motion is where I think you and Brent's article may differ. You say I pull the paddle back with my arms while my read of Brent's article, and the picture on his page, suggests to me something more like spearing the paddle in at an angle which I think must be followed by pivoting the paddle with the bottom hand relatively motionless, and the top hand moving towards the bow until the paddle is both closer to vertical and the blade is fully submerged.

The best way to ensure the blade gets in the water as far forward as possible is to reallocate the energy from the lower hand to the top hand. If your top hand is sliding the blade in beside your toes, as if thrusting the blade in a spearing motion, the lower hand will not hurry the catch. Intuitively, one wants to start the blade in with the lower hand, which is something to overcome. Changing your attention to the top hand will also help you relax you lower hand, arm and shoulder, which can actually help extend your reach by a few more inches.

So in Brent's terminology, I think unwinding the torso and pulling with the bottom hand should both begin simultaneously after the paddle is fully submerged. However, I think he does move the top hand earlier during his spearing motion.

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Hi Leon, I edited your quote to improve its accuracy for brevity. :) At the moment, I don't even know how I execute the forward stroke. I'll have to pay attention the next time I go paddling.

By the way, nice link. Improving my forward stroke is definitely one of my goals, and Brent Reitz's page definitely has some ideas for me to compare against what I actually do.

It seems both you pushing it down fast and Brent spearing the salmon agree that fully inserting the paddle into the water quickly is important. I suspect that I have tended to be lazy there.

I think we all agree that the paddler should not exert effort to make the partially inserted blade act as a brake. Avoiding a braking action seems to require some arm motion. What arm motion is where I think you and Brent's article may differ. You say I pull the paddle back with my arms while my read of Brent's article, and the picture on his page, suggests to me something more like spearing the paddle in at an angle which I think must be followed by pivoting the paddle with the bottom hand relatively motionless, and the top hand moving towards the bow until the paddle is both closer to vertical and the blade is fully submerged.

The best way to ensure the blade gets in the water as far forward as possible is to reallocate the energy from the lower hand to the top hand. If your top hand is sliding the blade in beside your toes, as if thrusting the blade in a spearing motion, the lower hand will not hurry the catch. Intuitively, one wants to start the blade in with the lower hand, which is something to overcome. Changing your attention to the top hand will also help you relax you lower hand, arm and shoulder, which can actually help extend your reach by a few more inches.

So in Brent's terminology, I think unwinding the torso and pulling with the bottom hand should both begin simultaneously after the paddle is fully submerged. However, I think he does move the top hand earlier during his spearing motion.

Bill,

Eureka and bingo, you nailed it. For the catch, Brent and I are almost in synch. I do actually pivot the paddle around my lower hand pushing with my top hand (maybe I pull a little too, not sure, can’t verify because my kayak is now loaded on my car for the trip from FLA to MA). My purpose is to get the blade quickly up to at least the speed of the boat. Brent doesn’t say it this way, but I think he’s doing the same. I’ve read so many articles that don’t make this clear that I zoned out on this key paragraph in Brent’s article.

On a different forward stroke topic, you see how Brent emphasizes his “chicken wing” thing. Many other experts tend to end the forward stroke with the forward arm almost straight. I think this is true of Greg Barton. Here’s a link to Barton’s book “The Barton Mold”, http://www.epickayaks.com/news/news/the-barton-mold--now-online?PHPSESSID=35fdfa635e5527d74a48f0a329acbd08. Mostly, I follow Barton’s forward stroke techniques (he personally gave me a little stroke lesson; hmm, time flies, it was actually last century).

Thanks,

Leon

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Leon, I <assume> you have the Barton DVD? If not -- and you want to see it -- let me know, won't you? (And Oscar's, too...)

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[

I don't know if I can add much, or I've coherently read the thread, but I have watched that DVD about six gazillion times and thought a lot about it.

As a background, I think what Brent was trying to do was to take the form used in competitive kayaking and adopt it to recreational paddling. In making that adoption, he chose to tweak some elements in competitive paddling for the recreational paddler to minimize the risk of injury. As with any discussion of form in an athletic endeavor, there's room for divergence of opinion, so I don't think there's any perfect solution. My comments are only on what I perceive as Brent's intent.

The 'catch' is based on the observation that you get most power from having the blade as far forward as you can get it when you initiate the stroke. I think that's correct as the torso is rotated maximally if you do it properly, and you get the most power from your lumbar muscles contracting. Any slight braking would be mitigated by the extra power you get from the lumbar muscles. I also looked at Brent's paddling style and tried to imitate that. I noticed that just before 'spearing' the paddle, he has a slight pause. I interpret that pause as a way of making the entry of the blade as swift as possible to minimize any braking, yet allow for maximum rotation. I've played with that pause and now incorporate it into my forward stroke.

For the 'chicken-wing thing' (as Brent calls it), I think that's his invention. If you look at competitive paddlers, they extend their forward arm and contract their lower arm. I believe this is to gain additional power from both the torso and the arm. I suspect that what Brent is trying to do is modify this form to reduce RSI-type injuries so that it minimizes and 'arm paddling'. In other words, if you locked your elbows at about a 120 degree angle, you could probably complete the stroke, modulo the spear with almost no arm action required. That's probably a bit inefficient, but the purpose of the chicken wing (I think) is to create a finish to the stroke that preserves the tendons in the wrist and forearm from repetitive injury, while this is less of a consideration for a short race where you want to get the most power out you can.

This is just my interpretation and also my experience messing around. I will go into more of a 'racing form' mode if I'm trying to accelerate to catch a wave, and it might be a good practice on flat water to alternate a sustained paddle form and a sprint form just to get the two ingrained into muscle memory. Just a thought.

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Not completely related, but when I was paddling with Steve Maynard, he suggested making the path of the paddle through the water follow roughly the line of the "V" of the developing bow wake. He claimed that this kept the blade in a region where the water flow was laminar and not turbulent. I'm not completely sure this gives a good advantage, but it feels more comfortable and works well for me with the 'chicken-wing'.

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Leon, I <assume> you have the Barton DVD? If not -- and you want to see it -- let me know, won't you? (And Oscar's, too...)

Thanks Sir Pintail. I have the Barton/Oscar video (via a VHS tape that I purchased and then I took a video of it and then downloaded to a DVD). I also have the Brent Reitz video (via a VHS which was digitally converted to a DVD). Are you saying that there's a separate Oscar video that you have?

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[

I don't know if I can add much, or I've coherently read the thread, but I have watched that DVD about six gazillion times and thought a lot about it.

As a background, I think what Brent was trying to do was to take the form used in competitive kayaking and adopt it to recreational paddling. In making that adoption, he chose to tweak some elements in competitive paddling for the recreational paddler to minimize the risk of injury. As with any discussion of form in an athletic endeavor, there's room for divergence of opinion, so I don't think there's any perfect solution. My comments are only on what I perceive as Brent's intent.

The 'catch' is based on the observation that you get most power from having the blade as far forward as you can get it when you initiate the stroke. I think that's correct as the torso is rotated maximally if you do it properly, and you get the most power from your lumbar muscles contracting. Any slight braking would be mitigated by the extra power you get from the lumbar muscles. I also looked at Brent's paddling style and tried to imitate that. I noticed that just before 'spearing' the paddle, he has a slight pause. I interpret that pause as a way of making the entry of the blade as swift as possible to minimize any braking, yet allow for maximum rotation. I've played with that pause and now incorporate it into my forward stroke.

For the 'chicken-wing thing' (as Brent calls it), I think that's his invention. If you look at competitive paddlers, they extend their forward arm and contract their lower arm. I believe this is to gain additional power from both the torso and the arm. I suspect that what Brent is trying to do is modify this form to reduce RSI-type injuries so that it minimizes and 'arm paddling'. In other words, if you locked your elbows at about a 120 degree angle, you could probably complete the stroke, modulo the spear with almost no arm action required. That's probably a bit inefficient, but the purpose of the chicken wing (I think) is to create a finish to the stroke that preserves the tendons in the wrist and forearm from repetitive injury, while this is less of a consideration for a short race where you want to get the most power out you can.

This is just my interpretation and also my experience messing around. I will go into more of a 'racing form' mode if I'm trying to accelerate to catch a wave, and it might be a good practice on flat water to alternate a sustained paddle form and a sprint form just to get the two ingrained into muscle memory. Just a thought.

John,

>> The 'catch' is based on the observation that you get most power from having the blade as far forward as you can get it when you initiate the stroke. I think that's correct as the torso is rotated maximally if you do it properly, and you get the most power from your lumbar muscles contracting.

Yes, no one argues this point.

>> Any slight braking would be mitigated by the extra power you get from the lumbar muscles.

Not sure what you mean here. If you pause (stop any horizontal movement of the blade), there will be a very large breaking force (call it negative work) as the water pushes your paddle backwards. Only at the end of this breaking force would your paddle do any positive work; i.e. pull you forward. Maybe I misunderstand you but to me it sounds like coasting on a bike, then applying a sudden impulse of breaking force and then pedaling away very hard. Why hit the breaks at all?

Bill Voss and I came to understand that Brent didn’t really imply a breaking force at all. The pause while spearing is not really a pause (Brent chose a poor word in his description). While the blade is being submerged, you push with your upper arm around the axis of your lower hand. The way I think of it (and the way I do it) is as follows: While spearing, you move the blade horizontally at least as fast as the boat is going. So there really isn’t any real “pause” while spearing the water. However, the pause “before” the spear is another topic that I addressed in the other thread, “To Glide or not to Glide”.

>>For the 'chicken-wing thing' (as Brent calls it), I think that's his invention.

Yes, I used to do the “chicken wing” many years ago after first watching Brent’s video. Then I worked out with an ex-Olympic paddler. He suggested that I forget about chicken wings. Now I only “chicken wing” at the start of the push. At the end of the stroke, my top arm is out almost straight (not locked into close to a right angle like Brent does in his video). But of course, my arm does cross over to the other side of the centerline of the boat. Watch this video (http://www.superiorsurfsystems.com/a/j/component/content/article/25-video-blog/80-paddling-with-zsolt-szadovszki-a-demonstration-of-kayak-stroke-technique) of Szolt to see my model of paddling.

>>Not completely related, but when I was paddling with Steve Maynard, he suggested making the path of the paddle through the water follow roughly the line of the "V" of the developing bow wake. He claimed that this kept the blade in a region where the water flow was laminar and not turbulent. I'm not completely sure this gives a good advantage, but it feels more comfortable and works well for me with the 'chicken-wing'.

I paddle exclusively with a wing paddle. I don’t think there is much freedom for the path of the blade. I spear close to the hull and the wing seems to follow its own path to the exit point.

Respectfully,

Leon

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Leon, as far as I remember, the DVD I have is <only> Oscar -- but I could be wrong. My momory ain't wot it used to be! It was all filmed in Durban (I know that because I recognized every single spot where they filmed) and I do not think Mr. Barton is in the picture at all. Frankly, <much> as I admire his prowess, I did not find Oscar such an effective teacher as, say, Ben Lawrie...(FWIW)

I shall check up tonight on the Chalupsky DVD for you...

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Leon, as far as I remember, the DVD I have is <only> Oscar -- but I could be wrong. My momory ain't wot it used to be! It was all filmed in Durban (I know that because I recognized every single spot where they filmed) and I do not think Mr. Barton is in the picture at all. Frankly, <much> as I admire his prowess, I did not find Oscar such an effective teacher as, say, Ben Lawrie...(FWIW)

I shall check up tonight on the Chalupsky DVD for you...

Yes, that’s a different video that I don’t have.

Unlike the Barton and Oscar video, Brent Reitz’s video breaks down the stroke into minute detail. He’s a real teacher. But I still like to watch the superstars paddle.

PS

Hey, NSPN-ers. In case you don’t know it, the forward stroke is used for more than just racing. I’m surprised that so few of you have added your two cents to my two cents, both here and in the other post “To Glide or not to Glide”.

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Folks,

It seems obvious that "what works" for the individual is the key here. Simple physics show even the layman that force applied and drag determine how far one will propel oneself with a given amount of effort. How fast one gets from point A to point B depends on how efficient their stroke is, and how well their hull displaces the water around it, and quite frankly how young and determined one is.. This is simple! Some of You are way too involved in the question. If You race for a living or ego , then the discussion is important to You. Otherwise it does appear a bit silly, at least to me.

Tom

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Folks,

It seems obvious that "what works" for the individual is the key here. Simple physics show even the layman that force applied and drag determine how far one will propel oneself with a given amount of effort. How fast one gets from point A to point B depends on how efficient their stroke is, and how well their hull displaces the water around it, and quite frankly how young and determined one is.. This is simple! Some of You are way too involved in the question. If You race for a living or ego , then the discussion is important to You. Otherwise it does appear a bit silly, at least to me.

Tom

Tom,

It isn't a silly discussion at all. Although Leon wonders why more of us are not discussing it, for my part, it is because I don't do well with writing an argument - takes too much time and I am lazy. You may find that when you paddle in groups and not alone, the whole discussion of the forward stroke takes on new meaning. Those who are slow and inefficient end up not always able to keep up with the group and then perhaps don't get to go with the group next time. When you are the fast paddler, the forward stroke becomes important - your wishing the slower people would learn a more efficient one. Alternatively, if you are the last in the pack, it becomes obvious why you want to develop a better forward stroke. The reason why people write about it is two fold - some people learn by thinking and writing about it, others learn by reading about it. Still others by going out and doing it.

I will say, I am not a fan of the chicken wing. I started writing something this morning explaining why but deleted it. Basically when the elbow is bent on the release, it usually means that there is some pulling in of the blade relative to where it was. This of course is causes the boat to turn and any turning loses efficiency. Also, there are more efficient ways of getting the blade out of the water - just lift the knuckles and then the elbow follows up - the blade exits clean.

I am a fan of the pause and allowing the boat to glide a bit between strokes. Usually if you paddle next to someone and add a slight pause, you find that you take 1/3 fewer strokes but end up at the same place at the same time.

Suz

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Tom,

It isn't a silly discussion at all. Although Leon wonders why more of us are not discussing it, for my part, it is because I don't do well with writing an argument - takes too much time and I am lazy. You may find that when you paddle in groups and not alone, the whole discussion of the forward stroke takes on new meaning. Those who are slow and inefficient end up not always able to keep up with the group and then perhaps don't get to go with the group next time. When you are the fast paddler, the forward stroke becomes important - your wishing the slower people would learn a more efficient one. Alternatively, if you are the last in the pack, it becomes obvious why you want to develop a better forward stroke. The reason why people write about it is two fold - some people learn by thinking and writing about it, others learn by reading about it. Still others by going out and doing it.

I will say, I am not a fan of the chicken wing. I started writing something this morning explaining why but deleted it. Basically when the elbow is bent on the release, it usually means that there is some pulling in of the blade relative to where it was. This of course is causes the boat to turn and any turning loses efficiency. Also, there are more efficient ways of getting the blade out of the water - just lift the knuckles and then the elbow follows up - the blade exits clean.

I am a fan of the pause and allowing the boat to glide a bit between strokes. Usually if you paddle next to someone and add a slight pause, you find that you take 1/3 fewer strokes but end up at the same place at the same time.

Suz

Thanks Suz,

Your argument is flawless. Covers things that I left unsaid.

Leon

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I think some folks, perhaps like myself, tend to scan the topics see one like this and say that's nice and continue to search for a subject of more interest to them.

I didn't read this one till I noticed it had some 20 responses and thought what the heck is all the talk about.

Checking it further I wasn't overly surprised to see it was a discussion between 4 or 5 people who were interested in it.

That's also fine by me and moved onto a subject that I thought might get no responses but you never know there might be a person or two interested then again maybe not which again is also fine.

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