As the snow recedes and water fills the Deschutes River, my first paddling session with my Ekahi outrigger paddle
felt awkward. 120 days of rust needs to be shaken. Endurance will come with repetition. But the erosion of technique requires attention.
The stroke is comprised of 3 parts; the catch, the pull and the return. All 3 phases are important, but the pull is the only element which contributes to forward motion. While there is forward motion in the catch and return, the motion is a result of momentum.
I like to focus on one objective when doing technique work. Starting the new season, my focus will be to smoothly accelerate the blade through the pull phase.
-Water is a fluid medium. When we pull on the paddle, the water on the power-face moves.
-A paddle blade moving at the same speed as the water, is just floating along. No additional force is being added if the blade speed remains static with the moving water speed.
-To continue to generate power through the pull phase, the blade must move faster and faster as the moving water speeds up. The blade must move smoothly and quietly and accelerate from catch to return to maintain maximum contact with the water.
Image: Dana Edmunds