Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Balance Brace practice in the Maelstrom Vital 166



Here goes! I'm starting to practice the Balance Brace without a spotter. Even though I'm not perfect, I'm making progress.

I had to make a choice between camera man or spotter because the camera man is sometimes also my spotter. So most of the time, I choose to have a spotter since I haven't learned to roll yet. It's easy to fall over and go upside-down when you start learning the Balance Brace. I find it isn't very forgiving for mistakes.

I like having someone to spot me, coach me, and also have someone to film each practice session. It's a great way to learn and progress. It takes a village! But we don't always have a village around to help us.

I'm a big fan of Helen Wilson's video, (from Greenlandorbust.org) "Simplifying the Roll", a multi-level guide to rolling a kayak where you learn the basics in simple terms and can move on from there. She also demonstrates how to troubleshoot common problems with the roll (I have all of them), and she shows you how to progress through the ancient Greenland technique of rolling a kayak.

I especially like her demonstrations and explanations of how you can practice on your own or with a helper.

Thanks to awesome Senjaroller, Frode Wiggen in Norway for recommending this video. It has already helped me a lot. And thanks to Frode for encouraging me from afar, not to give up on trying to learn how to roll. I was ready to give up last year.

Since going directly to learning how to do a full roll just didn't work for me, I'm taking another approach.

I'm going to learn how to Balance Brace first. It's considered a fundamental maneuver or principle for Greenland style. I think of it as a pose I go into with my kayak. This works for me as a fan of Yoga. And my yoga practice helps with flexibility.

I actually enjoy the Balance Brace (when I don't tip over). It's very relaxing, and it's easier for me to learn than rolling. From there, I plan to move on to collapsing the kayak onto myself, and tucking myself into a half roll position and learn the half roll.

It's great to have a simple plan to follow and a guide I can understand and relate to. It gives me confidence and hope. I even look forward to practice now instead of dreading it.

Helen Wilson's video, "Simplifying the Roll" has become my rolling guide. It motivates me and makes me believe I can do it too. It also helps my paddling partner and I learn how to help each other at practice sessions. This video also improved my paddling partner's basic roll by 50% after watching the video, then going to the lake to practice rolling and balance brace. He found his roll almost effortless.

It looks like I'm a Greenlander now too. I like the style, mentality, and teaching methods. And I already have two Greenland paddles and two Greenland style kayaks.

Happy Balance Brace practice and learning how to roll a kayak!
The BaffinPaddler

(Video shot in the summer at Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why do you paddle?

Maelstrom Vaag 174 sea kayak, Loon, Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Simple question. "Why do you paddle?"

You may question it sometimes. "Why am I doing this!"

It can be an up and down road. 

The answer for me is: It's all the times that make me think and feel . . .
"This is why I paddle!"

Picnic table on sandy beach, Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
I'll admit. I love luxury. When you spot an unoccupied picnic table in the distance on a sandy beach, you may find yourself thinking, "This is why I paddle faster!"

Later, I'll write about and post some video on another great adventure. 

Learning how to Balance Brace a sea kayak in nice spots. (Here it is: Balance Brace practice in the Maelstrom Vital 166 in this beautiful spot.)
Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak, sandy beach, Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Why not? If you're going to get sideways and look at the world upside-down from a kayak, you might as well do it with nice views for inspiration.

Then, on to the road to rolling. It's been a long, hard, fearful road for me - 3 years. So, for people who don't just learn all this stuff quick and easy, you may want to come along for the ride.

For instructors, paddle friends and bloggers, and spotter friends who stick with us on the longer path to success - THANKS!

And we won't forget about the awesome Cowboy Scramble!

Keep practicing.

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer in Canada

Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
You're on vacation right?

The hot, lazy days of summer have taken hold of you.
The gear is always wet. It doesn't get any time off. Rolling practice and balance bracing means even more wet gear, and wavy, curly hair that is always tangled. You're already dreaming of a dry suit for fall.
Back at camp and at home, people, including yourself exclaim, "There's wet gear strewn everywhere!" You don't want to see pics of that beautiful mess, right?!

It doesn't bother the neighbors at all.
Yep! You're a paddler.

Enjoy the best of summer . . . doing the stuff you love best!
Maelstrom sea kayaks, Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Nuf said!
Large marsh, Lac Monroe, Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Happy paddles.
The BaffinPaddler