• Happy International Left-Handers Day!

Poll: How often do you switch sides?

Poll: How often do you switch sides?

  • Every 1-3 strokes. I'm a hit-and-switch paddler.

    Votes: 1 3.6%
  • Every 4-10 strokes.

    Votes: 4 14.3%
  • 11 to 20 or more strokes.

    Votes: 13 46.4%
  • What is this 'switch' of which you speak? I'm a unisidular paddler!

    Votes: 10 35.7%

  • Total voters
    28

Glenn MacGrady

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I presume there is a correlation between dominate hand (I’m a righty) and preferred paddling side (left).

That might make an interesting poll. I've usually assumed that a paddler would prefer to paddle on his or her dominant side. But I know that's not a universal preference, as my old tandem partner was a natural righty who always paddled on the left side.

Which goes to prove that there is no bar to becoming an ambidextrous paddler if one is willing to put in the practice and work.

As another tangent, in response to something I read in another thread here, no canoeist in the Olympic games, whether in whitewater or flat water, ever used a goon stroke as a forward correction stroke. The goon is an acceleration and momentum killer, which brings the paddle too far astern, plus it leave the paddle faces and wrists in the wrong position to complete certain forward correction strokes (C, pitch, J), to execute palm rolls, and to initiate in-water returns for other important forward strokes (Canadian, Indian, northwoods).
 
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yellowcanoe That makes sense with some of the things I'm noticing when paddling. It may be that I've got to long a paddle shaft. As I said on another thread, I tend to dig deep. My shaft hand is almost always wet to the wrist, and the top hand is definitely above my nose - more like, forehead height. I'm definitely digging too deep to do an in-water recovery without some modification. Sounds like I'm in your ballpark comparing blade area to your freestyle. I'm going to have to try the beach ball thing.

pblanc As originally intended, I meant switching grips. I had no idea that anyone would do a cross stroke in flat water, I'd kind of filed it in my mind as something that whitewater guys did when they needed to make a quick stroke on their off side. The way that this discussion has broadened to include cross strokes is a good thing, though.

With my current setup, I doubt I could do a cross stroke at all, at least without doing some odd reaches.
 
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no canoeist in the Olympic games, whether in whitewater or flat water, ever used a goon stroke as a forward correction stroke. The goon is an acceleration and momentum killer, which brings the paddle too far astern, plus it leave the paddle faces and wrists in the wrong position to complete certain forward correction strokes (C, pitch, J), to execute palm rolls, and to initiate in-water returns for other important forward strokes (Canadian, Indian, northwoods).

Well thanks, that finally explains why I never made the team.

I am always interested in watching the US canoe and kayak Olympians. Many of them are/once were from the DC area or train there:

http://potomacwhitewater.org/

In the wayback memory machine a pair of C2 racers (brothers?) trained on gates set up at the Quarry Rapids on my local homeriver, the Gunpowder.

Every time I paddle that little stretch I wonder where the gates were positioned. What the hell were their names?
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Well thanks, that finally explains why I never made the team.

That's rather goony logic, perhaps a good example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. It's obvious that the real reason you didn't make the team was your opposition to headlamps.

I am always interested in watching the US canoe and kayak Olympians. Many of them are/once were from the DC area or train there:

http://potomacwhitewater.org/

Indeed, Bill Endicott trained the greatest C-1 paddlers in the world in the late 70's through the early 90's, including Jon Lugbill, Davey Hearn and his sister Cathy Hearn. Before that, the Washington Canoe Cruisers club produced some of the most prominent river explorers and river runners, as well as racers and canoe designers, including the early and influential river guidebook author of the eastern U.S., Walter Burmeister, and my primary whitewater teacher, John Berry.

In the wayback memory machine a pair of C2 racers (brothers?) trained on gates set up at the Quarry Rapids on my local homeriver, the Gunpowder.

Every time I paddle that little stretch I wonder where the gates were positioned. What the hell were their names?

Fritz and Lecky Haller?
 
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yellowcanoe That makes sense with some of the things I'm noticing when paddling. It may be that I've got to long a paddle shaft. As I said on another thread, I tend to dig deep. My shaft hand is almost always wet to the wrist, and the top hand is definitely above my nose - more like, forehead height. I'm definitely digging too deep to do an in-water recovery without some modification. Sounds like I'm in your ballpark comparing blade area to your freestyle. I'm going to have to try the beach ball thing.

pblanc As originally intended, I meant switching grips. I had no idea that anyone would do a cross stroke in flat water, I'd kind of filed it in my mind as something that whitewater guys did when they needed to make a quick stroke on their off side. The way that this discussion has broadened to include cross strokes is a good thing, though.

With my current setup, I doubt I could do a cross stroke at all, at least without doing some odd reaches.

cross strokes are an excellent flatwater exercise; We use lots of them in FreeStyle but for the tripper being comfortable with them and knowing you can do a cross forward without catching on the bottom of the hull( scary) adds another tool to your tripping repertoire.

I and Glenn do alot of solo and having your bottom wrist wet indicates your body is being torqued sideways and your paddle shaft hand way too low. Do that in a solo and you would be in the drink..your head would be pulled over. Solo paddlers learn fast to have their bottom hand only shoulder width away from their top hand and to kneel or sit with torso absolutely perpendicular to the water. ( trick paddling with head over in the water comes much later and is of no use other than to impress others)

I have seen a non goon finesse a goon stroke exquisitely so it has no braking component. He developed that due to some sort of injury.

Here is a video of Charles Burchill paddling the inside circle using a cross forward stroke on flatwater
note
he is upright
his hands are not near the water.
he is paddling on the opposite side of his normal paddling side but he has not switched hands
the boat is heeled. He isnt
If he heeled that boat the other way the turn would be tighter cause the bow would carve into the water. But he is pretty far forward in a tandem and crossing over midships would require ape arms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6LB8lIZFOw
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Here is a video of Charles Burchill paddling the inside circle using a cross forward stroke on flatwater
note
he is upright
his hands are not near the water.
he is paddling on the opposite side of his normal paddling side but he has not switched hands
the boat is heeled. He isnt
If he heeled that boat the other way the turn would be tighter cause the bow would carve into the water. But he is pretty far forward in a tandem and crossing over midships would require ape arms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6LB8lIZFOw

Nice video.

Note that he's positioned himself forward of amidships in order to pitch down the bow and lift up stern, which will make stern slide turning easier. He's done this by turning his body around and facing the stern. This won't work so well in many asymmetrical canoes, and probably isn't very practical for trippers even in symmetrical canoes -- though Bill Mason does it in rapids in some of his videos. A long-travel sliding seat will make quick bow and stern weighting easier without having to turn around or scoot off the front of the seat.

And, yes, if your shaft hand is getting wet, you are holding it too far down the throat or you are burying your paddle blade unnecessarily (and counterproductively) deep.
 
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That's rather goony logic, perhaps a good example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. It's obvious that the real reason you didn't make the team was your opposition to headlamps.

Are you sure that isn’t more of a cum hoc ergo propter hoc? In either case it explains my failure in the short-lived and hard to televise night Olympics.

Indeed, Bill Endicott trained the greatest C-1 paddlers in the world in the late 70's through the early 90's, including Jon Lugbill, Davey Hearn and his sister Cathy Hearn. Before that, the Washington Canoe Cruisers club produced some of the most prominent river explorers and river runners, as well as racers and canoe designers, including the early and influential river guidebook author of the eastern U.S., Walter Burmeister, and my primary whitewater teacher, John Berry.

The Hearns are still local, running Sweet Composites. And the CCA is still very active and offers some excellent presentations and classes.

http://www.ccadc.org/

I have a full collection of Burmeister guides from years ago. Some of which include descriptions of runs Burmeisteris purported to have never actually paddled.

Locally I give major props to Roger Corbett and Edward Gertler, not only for paddling every inch of what s covered in their guides, but for creating the absolute best guidebook format, now followed by others (see Paul Ferguson’s eastern NC and SC guides)



Fritz and Lecky Haller?

Thanks, that was driving me crazy. Nearby Glenco MD natives in the early 90’s games.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecky_Haller

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Haller
 
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Nice video.

Note that he's positioned himself forward of amidships in order to pitch down the bow and lift up stern, which will make stern slide turning easier. He's done this by turning his body around and facing the stern. This won't work so well in many asymmetrical canoes, and probably isn't very practical for trippers even in symmetrical canoes -- though Bill Mason does it in rapids in some of his videos. A long-travel sliding seat will make quick bow and stern weighting easier without having to turn around or scoot off the front of the seat.

And, yes, if your shaft hand is getting wet, you are holding it too far down the throat or you are burying your paddle blade unnecessarily (and counterproductively) deep.
I grant you he is a$$ backwards in the boat. Won't work too well with a skegged stern/bow.
EH? Which was front again! I have the same trouble judging FreeStyle competition.. that powerful but painful cross reverse... No one uses that tripping. O wait I got myself into what I thought was passable alders in high water at La Verendrye. I had to back up . ALOT. So across the boat I positioned myself as not to back up into an alder evil mess. ( I needed to see where I was going) and used a cross reverse stroke. Its powerful but painful for my ankles and totally not very useful for sitting paddlers.

I hijacked things but here is another video on the cross forward stroke on flatwater.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGE6i_aIvuE
 
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Depends how I feel... when I'm fresh, it may be quite awhile before I switch... when I'm tired or hurting, it's more often. If I'm with a weaker paddler, we switch whenever they want. If I'm with a stronger paddler, we switch whenever I get tired.

I typically double blade when solo, but not always.
 
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yellowcanoe Thanks for the video link. Food for thought. My paddle handle may be too long, but I can also see that I'm holding too wide... not sure why, I'll have to experiment with that. I'll also try shortening my stroke....
 
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Just got back from paddling solo for 4 days in the BWCA and I definitely fell in the 4-10 category. Will say it was almost always windy but even in times of calm I rarely went over 10 unless I consciously made an effort not to switch which worked fine. My conclusion is that my switching is mainly habit and at this point you aren't going to teach this old dog any new tricks.
 
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Ok...after having been out for three days solo I can honestly say that I am full of shit. I switch just about every stroke. Then I might go for 4-10 on either side but there is always the possibility of me switching a couple of times in there too.

Apparently I am a switch hittter.

Christy
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I switch just about every stroke.

Where do you sit in the boat when solo, and what kind of paddle do you use?

If you're switching that often, you're not doing much, if any, yaw correction on your forward stroke. And if you're going to continue switch paddling at that high a frequency, you would significantly lessen your daily paddling effort and work by using a short carbon bent shaft paddle at a position in the boat that is fairly narrow. Especially as we age, less paddling effort is welcome.

A short carbon bent shaft paddle will be much easier to lift, switch and swing over the gunwales, especially when multiplied by thousands of strokes. You'll have a lot more energy left over to cut torched forests with your chainsaw. Long and heavy animal tail or voyageur paddles are most efficient when used with strong single-sided correction strokes, and perhaps partial in-water returns, so they don't have to be hefted out of the water very often for catch placement or side switching.

Assuming you're using a tandem canoe, sitting in a narrow part of the hull will allow the forward stroke to be more vertical, closer to the keel line, and hence less "sweepier", which will induce less yaw to fight. However, if you sit all the way to the stern, the yaw tendency will naturally be the greatest because you're at the longest lever position from the canoe's pivot point. Sitting bow seat backwards is a good compromise in a wide tandem canoe.

Of course, you probably know all this, so I'm really writing for the benefit of readers who may be less experienced.
 
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I paddle on the left side almost all the time and only paddle right side when winds dictate.


[video]https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipPWhS36qqmymSyef0G4vtxGy3G9tdZhQwPCUK6kytEmE4 xeor_gEqR4lg02QYMo8g/photo/AF1QipMCHRFxShQSa-yLwrsFZ0XbbA8Wxe0J02pF5cBM?key=MFV4OW03N3NXbk12QTg 5UDU5YWJFTklLYURnU09n[/video]
 
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Glenn, Christy failed to mention she is paddling a 15 1/2 foot stripper turned around, it is a wide boat, 36" at midships. She was also on a smaller twisty river going upstream and downstream, so current could affect how much time she spent on each side of the boat. I would think pace of travel would help dictate how much switching goes on. I watched Robin and Rob last year at Marshall Lake just poke along nice and easy and never switch sides.

Carbon paddles are not something we consider as a useful way to spend hard earned cash, the one we have was found in an eddy a number of years ago, which is the only reason we actual have a carbon paddle. I bought her a beaver tail to go with her otter, so at least she has an option now.

Karin
 
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Just to recap:
Solo Yaw
can be caused by the paddle following the curve of the gunwale.
More pronounced you are away from the center of the boat
Exacerbated by carrying the paddle in back of your hip..those loong slow strokes of yore always had a strong sweep at the end that had to be undone with a hard correction stroke
made worse by when you first notice yaw.. paddling more on the same side. To nip it in the bud switch when you first notice yaw
Made worse by the grip hand inside the boat like by your nose instead of out over the gunwale ( you get a sweep when its in close)
Made less by keeping the power part of the stroke ending about six inches in front of your torso


Over time some folks can adapt and do a hard correction by just catching a corner of the blade and prying outward when not switching sides

But I way prefer to avoid work!
 
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YC, every time we get in the boat I give that a try for awhile, but it always feels so awkward and unnatural, so I go back to just doing what I do. Perhaps if I gave it more time it wouldn't feel so weird. Maybe I should try it more and see if there is indeed a benefit to it for me.
 
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YC, every time we get in the boat I give that a try for awhile, but it always feels so awkward and unnatural, so I go back to just doing what I do. Perhaps if I gave it more time it wouldn't feel so weird. Maybe I should try it more and see if there is indeed a benefit to it for me.



Things new always seem awkward and unnatural at first. You head is saying one thing and your body is going "Whaa?"
I always have psychological difficulty too after being in a big tandem for two weeks then jumping into a 25 inch wide 14 foot long solo..
Honey who shrunk the canoe?
I wish you were closer I have a 15 foot tandem covered in dacron. About 45 lbs. Its a David Yost design built by Tom Mackenzie and is based on Chestnut canoe lines. It would like you
 
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I like the Jack's I built last Winter, but need to build another more suited to tripping, this one is more show boat than anything and I know I could lighten it up a bit. Christy needs a lighter solo, her Cottage Bruiser is a big tandem weighing 57 pounds, maybe once we get the 15 foot Bastien in a couple of weeks we can put some 12oz canvas on that and she can use it instead.
 
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