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Greenland Clinic at Maine Island Kayak


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Emilie and I met up with Barb in Portland and paddled the 2+ miles out to Tom Bergh's, Maine Island Kayak on Peaks Island where we would meet up with Cheri and Turner for a Comprehensive Greenland Clinic. While we were getting the boats loaded a guy stopped by and asked about where he might be able to rent or get a tour. I told him I know just the place! ...but he'd need to take the ferry. :D

We had a great day of paddling. I now have more to work on with the GP forward stroke, the beginnings of a storm roll, and a ton of other bits that are less tangible. At the end of the day we walked over to Tom and June's house where we met their parrot and had some beer. Turner had brought a couple bottles of some amazing specialty beer that were shared. ...and some wine for those that like to be able to see through and don't like to be able to taste their beer.

Unfortunately, that crack I heard in my paddle the previous weekend came back to haunt me. I don't recall what type of roll I was working on at the time, but when I tried to come up my paddle snapped in two.


I reorganized the bits of paddle in my hands and rolled up with using the pieces. I don't know if it was a flawed piece of wood or if Western Red Cedar isn't right right paddle material for me.

On our way back to Portland, we stopped at Fort Gorges.



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Sounds like a nice day learning......

Was your paddle vertical grain cedar?

Even if it was flat grain, I'll bet you rolled too fast and am sure they would tell you to sloooow down.


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Tyson, in addition to what the ever-wise PS has advised, if you had only looked hard enough (under magnification?) and <found> the source of that cracking you had heard, you might have saved the paddle with some neat, judicious reinforcement (nylon whipping covered with epoxy)? Shame...

What he also wrote about slowing down your roll is the first thing any of the Pond Scum will advise, too! It removes the strain from paddle (and biceps) so that hips and thighs do all the work in righting yourself.

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A slow standard roll is pretty easy, but I have a long way to go before I can do a slow storm roll! Heck, I can't even do a proper storm roll yet. It is still mostly brace as the sweep portion isn't very effective yet.

Regardless, I wasn't putting nearly as much load on it at that point as I often do with a forward stroke. A more careful "off-line" inspection as Pintail suggests, followed by repair is the only thing that would have prevented it. Repair options that include some fiberglass and perhaps some doweling are being explored.

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It removes the strain from paddle (and biceps) so that hips and thighs do all the work in righting yourself.

Bingo! Consider the considerate and self-sacrificing behavior of the paddle to save you from potential shoulder injury.

Dubside, whom I believe knows a few things about GP rolling, notes in his video that when he tries to perform many storm rolls quickly his technique suffers and there is a much larger bracing component. This in turn means more force on body and blade. Seems to me that some rolls, and the storm roll in particular, can be done with technique and core muscles or by basically turning them into braces by applying lots of force. As both PS and Sir. Christopher point out, by slowing down you will use less force and you may develop better technique.

Some say better technique translates to being more consistent in different conditions and boats and less stress on body and blade. I have been told it also makes moving on to the more demanding rolls easier.

Based on my limited experience with the basic rolls, when they can be done slowly with little effort you are likely doing them with proper technique. The storm and reverse sweep rolls go very easily with decent technique. You can force them and end upright, but its not easy on the shoulder or the paddle.

Ed Lawson

Who has broken a paddle or two too.

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It is still mostly brace as the sweep portion isn't very effective yet.


Cheri has some great floor exercises which will help train your torso for the storm roll. As well as keeping shoulders and head in a good alignment. When your torso rotates the boat, you stay low, and the shoulder leads the way across the deck; the sweep just happens as a byproduct. For me it seems to happen later than I expect so at first I needed to resist the urge to haul on the paddle to get upright.

Ed Lawson

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<Ed Lawson

Who has broken a paddle or two too>

You mean "a paddle or two too, too many"? Or is it better as "a paddle or two too many, too"?

:D (Nothing if not pedantic -- and playful!)

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