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Canoe Strokes

Developed from cards drawn by Bill Lodge Redrawn by Andy Oughton

FORWARD STROKE

J-STROKEStart position (Plant or Catch) Blade enters water with trunk rotated, knees pointing to paddle side (stroke powered by trunk unwinding) Lower arm extended for maximum reach, top (grip) hand high Body slight forward lean (use back muscles) Both hands outside gunwale - keep shaft vertical During stroke (Power) Blade covered, right angles to keel, power face toward stern Blade follows keel line straight back Body unwinds, hands keep shaft vertical Steering (Correction) As paddle reaches hips, top hand turns power face outwards, thumb of top hand points down towards water Lower hand pushes blade away from boat, using power face to push against water, top hand just above gunwale For extra turning, lever paddle off gunwale (beware trapped ngers) Recovery Lift blade cleanly out to side, skim forward close to water Power face upwards, front edge raised slightly (will not dig in if it catches water)

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FORWARD STROKE

C-STROKEUsed when extra inside steering is required (towards the paddle side) e.g. windy conditions, correction during ferry glide, moving away from bank Start position (Plant) Initial bow draw which continues into a J-stroke Steering is achieved before and after the power stroke During stroke (Power) As for J-stroke If blade is kept deep and goes partly under the hull this minimises tendency to turn the bow away from the paddle side (beware of blade tripping up boat if wind is pushing boat towards paddle) Recovery As for J-stroke Stroke Development The C-stroke leads into both the Box Stroke and Circle Stroke used for tight inside pivot turning

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FORWARD STROKE Alternate strokes start with opposite faces of the blade

NATIVE AMERICAN (INDIAN) STROKEPower stroke Body facing paddling side with both hands outside of the gunwale Successive strokes use power and back face of the blade alternately Steering (Correction) At the end of the power stroke turn the paddle grip 90 to slice the blade forward, at the end of the slice turn the grip a further 90 in the same direction to start the next power stroke with the opposite face of the blade. The stroke is repeated with continuous rotation of the grip in the palm of the upper hand As the blade slices forward you can feather the blade to steer (i.e. leading edge further from boat will draw the boat towards the blade) or gain support by taking the blade further from the boat Recovery There is no recovery as such, the blade is in the water providing continuous support making it a good stroke for whitewater and windy conditions. Used by the Native Americans as a silent hunting stroke, crouching lower into the boat as they approached their pray. Also favoured by the army for night paddling as there is no possibility of moon light reecting from an exposed, wet blade

Feather the blade on the return slice as it passes the body to steer

Slice

FORWARD STROKE

KNIFING J (CANADIAN) STROKEPower stroke Similar to J-stroke except top (grip) hand drops at end of power stroke Steering (Correction) At the end of the power stroke the blade is knifed forward underwater blade almost at, power face upwards, leading edge slightly lower than trailing edge Bottom hand controls forward movement top hand controls angle As blade moves forward top hand levers down on gunwale as bottom hand lifts blade up (harder pull up on blade gives more correction) Recovery Once enough correction has been achieved, raise leading edge and slice blade out of the water and skim forward to the catch of the next stroke Regarded as the denitive steering stroke for canoe trippers. It was actually the Americans who came up with the name (originally it was called the Kning-J). Canadians just didnt bother changing it back because, according to the experts, a well-executed Canadian Stroke is the pinnacle of perfection in motion, a skill that only comes after extensive canoe tripping (best done in - Canada!).

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REVERSE STROKE

BACKWATER STROKESAlternate both backwater strokes to move backwards in a straight line Move forward in the boat before starting, to adjust trim, lightening stern Backwater Stroke Rotate trunk to use major muscles Use the back of the blade square to the keel line , close to gunwale Bottom arm pushes blade down and forward Top arm outside gunwale to keep blade close to boat Cross-deck Backwater Stroke Maintaining normal paddle grip, rotate trunk and place paddle in water behind body on opposite side to normal paddling side Use power face of blade to make stroke as above To repeat either backwater stroke the recovery is with power face towards paddler Dont apply full power at the start of cross-deck stroke as top arm Normal muscles are exposed to damage backwateruses back face of blade

Crossdeck backwater uses power face of blade

The backwater strokes provide a dynamic solution to stop and reverse forward motion in an emergency. For longer distances travelling backwards other strokes remove the need to use cross-deck.

REVERSE STROKE

REVERSE JEDor Backwater followed by Cross-deck J-stroke Backwater Stroke As detailed Cross-deck J-Stroke Adjust body as paddle taken across deck so that knees are facing outside gunwale (may use several strokes to complete adjustment) Plant as for Cross-deck Backwater, using power face for stroke At the end of the power stroke drop the thumb of grip hand and make steering correction as with J-stroke Recover as for J-stroke Continue the J-strokes on the cross-deck side 1 Provided the body adjustment is made at the initiation of the cross-deck combination stroke it removes the need to keep switch paddling Normal (backwaters) and overcomes the awkwardness of reverse J. backwater uses back The added advantage is that paddlers unfamiliar with the combination will struggle to unpick what you have done to change direction. Named face of after Jed Yarnold who had me fooled with it for too long! blade

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Cross-deck J-stroke uses power face of blade

REVERSE STROKE

REVERSE J-STROKEOnly included for completeness. Worth trying to see how awkward the stroke is and ineffectual it would be at moving you backward quickly when needed Power Stroke As for normal Backwater Steering (Correction) As the blade passes the knees it is turned away from boat by turning top hand thumb towards the water and forcing water away from the boat with the back side of the blade Lever off the gunwale for extra steering Extra steering can be achieved by starting stroke with a stern draw (Reverse C-stroke) Recovery Lift blade cleanly out to side and recover with power face down

TURNING STROKE

SWEEP STROKE (OUTSIDE TURN)General Trunk rotation is important throughout stroke Forward sweep uses power face of the blade Optimum blade path is semi-circle around paddler, watch the path of the blade to achieve rotation Shaft low to extend sweep (top hand at waist level throughout) Choke lower hand (bring up the shaft towards top hand) to extend reach Two phases of stroke One Reach forward, blade near bow, thumb of top hand pointing upwards Sweep away from bow - turns boat away from paddle Two Blade in to stern, pulls stern towards paddle Paddle reaches as far back as is comfortable Recovery Lift blade cleanly out and recover with power face up Reverse sweep stroke Performed with back face of the blade, stoke is weak after initial push away from stern. Inside pivot turn is more effective.

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TURNING STROKE

OUTSIDE PIVOT TURN Turns bow away from paddle side (paddle on outside of circle created) Power face of blade used throughout Start with a cross-deck reverse sweep from the hips to the bow. Lift paddle across bow and continue with full forward sweep This will require the trunk to be wound up (rotated) to the start position then unwound through the stroke Recovery as for forward sweep Three outside turns: 1. Forward stokes without steering correction The boat will turn away from the paddling side 2. Forward sweep stroke More turn than above but still some forward motion 3. Outside pivot turn Stoke should turn boat without moving forward (pivot on axis)

TURNING STROKE

INSIDE PIVOT TURN Turns bow towards paddle side (paddle on inside of circle created) Start with a reverse sweep using the back face of blade At mid point (hips) turn blade (power face forward) without changing grip. Thumb of top hand changes from pointing up to down Finish with bow draw Recover with stern slice or lifting the blade An alternative to turning the blade at the mid point of the stroke (which can cause a stall) is to change top hand grip only from thumb up to thumb down As with outside pivot turn the boat should rotate on axis without moving laterally

slice

TURNING STROKE

BOX STROKE PIVOT Turns bow towards or away paddle side depending on direction of box Turn body sidewards with knees close to the gunwale of the paddling side Outside (bow away) start with a stern draw then knife the paddle to the bow of the canoe Continue with a bow pry (pushing the paddle away from the canoe) Knife paddle back to stern and repeat Inside (bow towards) start with a bow draw, knife to stern, stern pry and knife back to start Reach out of the boat as far as comfortable and edge the boat down to the gunwale to achieve a pivot turn without lateral movement

TURNING STROKE

CIRCLE STROKE Development of the box stroke very graceful when mastered Edging the boat down to the gunwale to allow half the stroke to be completed under the boat Paddle is swept in 360 degree circle Grip and shaft hands rotate the paddle throughout the stroke Top hand is extended out over the gunwale to complete the section of