To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

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canoemad
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To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by canoemad » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:09 pm

I was watching the C1 slalom with interest on Sunday when to my suprise the Italian competitor,Cipressi swapped hands on his paddle at various points during the run.

I always thought that swapping hands was the work of the devil and should never happen. Seeing an Olympian swap makes me rethink about my pathetic cross deck strokes and maybe I should just swap hands. Is swapping hands such a bad thing to do after all?

I know that only one person out of seventeen slalomists swapped hands, but how many swap hands in the rest of the canoe world?

Paul

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Three Coats » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:27 pm

I never swap hands when I'm paddling OC1 (except on easy water and even then only to piss off the coach...) swapping hands would just be too slow...slalom boats being so much lower volume they can probably get away with it. surprising to see though...

trad boats, well they're a different ball game, part of the skill for me is being 'bilateral' but I still cross deck just for the fun of it! :-))))

Garry
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Garry » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:21 pm

I think part of the reason you see that particular paddler swapping hands on his C1 blade is that he is a former k1 world champion who was ill at the time of K1 selections for the Italian team so he switched to C1 to qualify for the olympics! Presume switching is his way of bringing his k1 skills to C1 to max his chances?

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by AHPP » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:56 pm

I'm predominantly a trad open canoeist. A few thoughts:
+ I cross deck and swap sides in a trad open canoe and I pride myself on being able to paddle both sides pretty equally.
+ I hurt my arm/shoulder the other day. Paddling on the left was pretty uncomfortable but paddling on the right was OK. I was able to keep going because I can paddle on both sides.
+ A spec OC1 paddler (ex-kayaker) was giving me the usual unimaginative stick the other day, which involved pointing out that he only paddles on one side and that I probably change sides. I said that I can do it all from one side by why limit myself? He's on this site. Maybe he'll chime in.
+ If you're setting up for something like a big ferry (water or wind) then why wouldn't you change to the more efficient side?
+ It doesn't take very long to change sides.

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by twopigs » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:56 pm

One of the coaches I paddled with said that when he was learning to paddle swapping hands was frowned upon, but if it makes a move easier or more elegant then swap if you want to..... Just don't sit in your boat passingthe paddle from hand to hand as it makes it obvious that you've no idea! If you are running a river you might plan to make an eddy in which you change hands.... no big deal, the sky won't fall down.

As stated if you damage one arm you might tend to prefer one side overthe other, but being able to paddle both sides of the boat is a strength. And if you're ever going paddle tandem .......
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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:10 pm

What medal did the italian get?

Exactly...
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Boop » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:12 pm

Good question this.

My canoe background is slalom so I have always avoided swapping hands. Subsequently I have paddled C1 playboat and trad boat, all of which I paddle on my on-side all the time.
Basically on moving water there shouldn't be a time when you can't cross deck paddle which for me is much more effective than faffing with changing hands. If the paddler cannot cross deck in all situations when paddling white water then I suggest there could be a confidence or technique problem because it can be really commiting to cross deck, say, running a big drop into an offside eddy.

The couple of exceptions when I think its OK to swap sides is when your doing a long river trip, in which case it rests the side that you usually paddle. The other occasion is on open water in trad canoe, where it may be more effective to change sides in wind and paddle on the downwind side (but not necessarily).

I once had a heated but good natured discussion with a good open boat coach about the need to be able to paddle both sides. In the BCU/UKCC syllabus you do need to show that you can paddle on both sides, however I would argue that I can do most if not all that I need to on my right. If called upon I can paddle on my left but I would choose not to unless I have to.

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by janet brown » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:00 pm

Watching the GB selections back in April, it was noticeable that quite a few of the women paddlers were swapping sides. This generally was done as they were going down the feature so that they could set up for a break-out for an upstream gate in the eddy. It was talked about on the PA, and I seem to remember that a comment was made about a recent champion doing the same?

Janet

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:25 pm

I'm one of the ones Paul describes as having a damaged arm so not only do I only paddle on one side, my cross deck strokes are pretty limited too. If you see me swapping hands it is often because something is going wrong and a left sweep is the only thing which is going to get me out of it.

Sure, the period during which you are swapping means you have next to no control with the paddle in the air but provided you are doing this at a time of your choosing I don't see a problem.

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Sickboy
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Sickboy » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:25 pm

I'll chip in on this one as a trad boater mostly and occasionally a bad oc1'er.
I was always led to believe that you paddle on the one side, but you should be able to paddle equally well both sides. Sounds pointless but changing sides is a sign of there being something wrong (poor technique, injury, stupidly wide boat etc).
With age I've softened my view, if you PLAN to swap sides to make a certain move easier or dare I say it more elegant then fair enough, if you find yourself in a position that you HAVE to swap sides to get yourself out of a situation then there's a problem that needs sorting out.
I can paddle both sides equally well, but ones more equal than the other..
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by davebrads » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:40 am

The top women's C1 in the world is Jessica Fox (Richard Fox's daughter), and she swaps sides. Because of this our women's C1s are being encouraged to emulate her, and that is why you see it a lot more in women's C1. As far as I understand it the justification is that women are weaker than men, and can't make the moves without swapping sides. This doesn't make any sense to me, they are weaker on both sides, and I would tend to agree with sickboy that it is more of a technique issue than a strength issue. Jessica Fox is also primarily a K1 paddler, and although she is pretty good in a C1 she is miles behind the C1 men. The Italian who swapped sides is a K1 paddler as krikkitwars has said, and watching his run his technique was pretty poor whatever side he paddled on, they must be really short of C1s in Italy!

Years ago there was a British team paddler called Pete Bell who swapped sides, but he is the only top men's C1 I know of that did. Jessica Fox is very slick at swapping sides, and she also is very good at selecting which side to be on, and when to swap, so she has obviously been practicing. And obviously Richard Fox thinks it is worthwhile, and you can't ignore that.

If you watch this video of Dave Florence he struggled crossing the eddyline on his offside on the breakout gate 1 on his first run, so he swapped sides for his second run, not that it went any better!

Personally, I am dead against it in slalom C1, but it might make more sense in OC1.
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Mal Grey » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:36 pm

In my experience, the extra flexibility of the ladies seems to make it easier for them to cross-deck, making up for a (perceived) lack of strength and reach. I've certainly seen a few who are a damn site better than me at it!

As for me, as a trad boat paddler with fairly limited white water experience I do occasionally find myself swapping, but most of the time I try not to, except when ferrying perhaps.

There is also something very satisfying about reaching across the canoe and planting that paddle in the eddy..when it works anyway!

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Yellow boat » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:37 pm

Like a lot of you here I came to the sport though slalom C2 and C1, I am naturally a right hander but so were all my partners in C2 so I changed to the left and after 30 plus years of training and competing the shape of my body and muscle memory prevents me paddling on my right hand side. I am worse than a beginner when I try. I even default to the left when paddling my kayak. If I was starting again in slalom I would train and practice on both side even if I only paddled on one side when racing. In trad boats being able to paddle on both sides is a must in my opinion, a cross deck stroke in a 15' solo trad boat for most people is no more effective than the equivalent on side stroke. Plus an onside low brace works better than the pry support in a trad boat.
The purist in me still doesn't like to see slalom C1's switching but the old man with a damaged body says both sides are good.

Paul

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:24 pm

Yellow boat wrote:snip...........In trad boats being able to paddle on both sides is a must in my opinion
Sorry, can't agree for reasons given above. Certainly useful though.

58panel
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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by 58panel » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:32 am

Nothing wrong what so ever with switching

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by paddling coach » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:38 pm

There is a simple answer to this,

On moving water, we should be looking at the start of a move, or the entry to a crux. From there we should read the water back up the rapid, and down the rapid. If certain moves will be easier on a specific side, then we should look at paddling on that side for that move. If that means we want a deliberate swap to make a specific move easier and more effective then swapping is essential.

BUT if your swapping to hide bad technique then that is a bad thing.

So read the water, work out which side will enable the move to be achieved easier, choose that side.

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by Jim » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:34 pm

I tend to paddle on my right, can paddle both sides but favour my right. On a 3 day Tay trip a few years ago with a guy who has won DW in canoe, he pointed out that I was only ever paddling on side and that it is more sensible to alternate sides every few minutes when paddling long distance.

I have also noticed that when paddling tandem (which I don't do much at all) someone has to compromise, so again switching sides frequently or being able to paddle continuously on either side is useful - you have to co-ordinate the switching though!

In C1 I might paddle both sides to get going out of an eddy where I find it hard to build up speed for steerage because my cross bow strokes have always felt relatively weak, but once in the flow I'm pretty sure I stick with my right. It's been a few years since I paddled C1 but I seem to recall that I actually felt more confident breaking out left with the right sweep into a cross bow rudder - probably the time a cross bow stroke actually feels like I can lean hard on it!

I have never paddled C1 slalom, but I reckon I would train on improving my cross bows first!

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Re: To swap or not to swap? That is the question.

Post by g_c1_gbr » Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:18 pm

This debate is still going on 7 years later.

I have written some thoughts on switching

https://c1canoeslalomtechnique.weebly.c ... /switching

along with some other Technique articles around C1 slalom Technique

https://c1canoeslalomtechnique.weebly.com


Overall I think Xbows and Switching are useful.

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