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Sculling for Support


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I've been watching the rolling vs sculling dry vs sculling wet vs static brace discussion with some interest. I wonder if people might more easily understand the standard if they understood the logic or intended application behind the definition. While I am certainly no expert on this subject, I do have some measure of experience with the BCU and find people's opinions on this matter quite interesting.

Below are listed 6 examples from amoung various paddling disciplines where sculling for support might be considered a useful technique. I encourage people to find even more and possible more common uses for this technique and then revisit the 3* definition or sculling for support.

Recovery from capsize before head falls into the freezing water.

Side Surfing

Survival in overly large and dangerous surf

Survival in stoppers / holes (WW)

Alternative to rolling / method to save a blown roll

Brace against high / sudden winds

Stabilize platform for victim to mount (swimmer or double kayak)



"The ability to defend an opinion with absolute certainty . . .

. . . is inversely proportional to one's actual experience."

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I have absolutely no argument with the utility of sculling for support at all levels of uprightness and starting positions. I'm working on it... I'm working on it ;-))

In fact, thanks for the nice list of applications.

My only question, really, is what the BCU means by that requirement in the 3* criteria. Since 3* officially does not even require a full roll (three tries, OK to have someone hold the paddle) why in the world would they require a full, wet-shoulders sculling brace? That brace is certainly in the same category of difficulty as a roll. In my experience, in fact, more people have rolls than wet-shoulders sculls, though that may be an artifact of fashion and common teaching sequences.

If BCU 3* allows someone else to hold the paddle for a roll, you'd think they'd do the same for a fully horizontal scull.

Anyway, several of your applications of sculling support only require a relatively upright position, not wet shoulders. So that's a very useful maneuver in itself. In fact, the applications that require wet shoulders seem to me to be alternatives or compensations to a roll in one way or another. So, if a roll isn't required for 3*, why would a wet-shoulders scull be?

I'd look this up in my BCU handbook, but I can't find it. (Anybody have a used one for sale, latest edition of course?)

Sorry to engage in this somewhat nit-picky exegesis of the BCU Gospel, but the full scull just doesn't make sense to me as the 3* requirement. That said, I still intend to master it myself!


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The scull for support is a great way to show commitment to the paddle since it uses torso, legs and paddle angle. People think they can do it all with their arms and that is the basis of the problem learning it.

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