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  • Writer's pictureKelvin Horner

Boating tip - A different approach

I consider this article really important if you paddle OC1 or C1. One of the most challenging things for a single bladed boater is controlling your turns into the flow on your offside. An understanding of my previous articles 'Why are wide turns important' and 'Creating wide turns' will set you up with the fundamentals, this will add an important piece to the puzzle.

Many single bladed paddlers know how important it is to leave an eddy with an amount of upstream angle to create a controlled turn. Here's one of the main reasons that they don't always get the result that they intended: they start with the boat close to the eddy-line in order to 'aim' upstream. This has the potential to create a number of problems, I'll list some below using a right handed paddler as an example:

  • Been so close to the eddy-line you can get tangled in the flow too early.

  • The above point makes entering the flow at a particular place on the eddy-line really challenging.

  • You need to travel on a left arc to get to the flow, which is challenging from this position and often creates too much left spin momentum.

Now let's look at a different approach.

In the image below I am setting up to enter the flow on my offside. Rather than starting close to the eddy-line I am setting off from deep in the eddy aiming straight at the flow.

In the image below I now have some forward momentum and the boat is tracking in an arc towards my onside. I have chosen this path for a number of reasons:

  • An arc towards my onside is really easy to control.

  • Once moving I can stay on my onside.

  • My my strokes are the most predictable water.

  • It's easy to keep my left edge slightly raised, this prevents it engaging with the flow too early.

  • I only engage with the flow at the end of the approach.

  • I have some spin momentum towards my onside (right spin momentum)

In this next image let's look at why it is important to have some spin momentum towards my onside. Here I am just finishing a stroke to guide the boat into the flow, because I'm driving against the right spin momentum created on the approach, it's less likely that I over-initiate with this stroke. Over-initiating here is likely to cause the boat to spin too much as it enters the flow.

Combine the things that I mentioned in my last article 'Creating wide turns' with an understanding of the above to add more control to your offside turns into the flow.

Here's the video that I took the stills from.

The eddy that I chose is a good size to make the demonstration clear, it's also worth noting that this concept can be applied when leaving the smallest micro-eddies too.

I hope you found this useful and if you have any questions, just get in touch.

Happy paddling,



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