Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

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RuthF
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Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by RuthF »

Hi

I'm a ww kayaker canoeing to get the ticket I need for Level 2 coaching and I'm really struggling with connectivity when in a canoe. I cant kneel in a traditional canoe due to a disability, I can use a saddle though.

Other types of canoe are out, as the canoe 3* syllabus states it must be done in a 'traditional open canoe'. I'm quite little too, so the lack of connectivity is making me pretty rubbish in a canoe even though I have been paddling them for ages (6 years, lots of trips bow tandem, received lots of coaching solo and tandem in a canoe). I dont have the cash for a £2,000 OC1 just to do an assessment either.

I have spent ages looking for adaptations to open canoes to improve boat control etc for disabled paddlers, and everything I find is about making taster type sessions inclusive. I could go on about this, but will leave the rants in my head... I cant find anything about actually helping me control a canoe on my own. (I have struggled to find a regular tandem partner of late to develop the team needed for a 3* assessment).

So, rather than reinvent the wheel, has anyone here had any experience of teaching / outfitting an open canoe for a disabled paddler to actually paddle rather than essentially be a passenger?

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Hi Ruth and welcome to the forum. I am not offering any particular advice at this stage since I don’t have experience of the issues you mention but it might be helpful if you could go into a little more depth about what you can do and what you have difficulty with. I know you say you don't want to reinvent the wheel but you will most likely want a tailored solution to suit your needs. I have a friend who has had knee replacements and he has struggled to get back to canoeing particularly since he was a keen and very able whitewater paddler.

You say you can use a saddle but cannot kneel. Is this because you cannot put weight on your knees? Presumably you can transfer forward pressure from the paddle through your bum. Is the problem you are having with edge control?

What I am thinking is that using a saddle and a ‘bulkhead’ you may be able to obtain rotational connectivity through your thighs rather than your knees.

icklepaddler
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by icklepaddler »

If you can use a saddle, why not just put a saddle in a traditional style open?

No one should argue with you, if you can do traditional manoeuvres, as it would be a reasonable adjustment.

RuthF
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by RuthF »

Thanks for the replies.

I think my problems are 2 fold: I'm small (5'1'' and 8 stone) and other women I have seen paddling open canoes paddle the boat really on edge and move across the boat a lot for cross deck maneuvers, which I just cant do. I do well in a kayak as I am snug in my boat so when I move, boat moves; I do edge control all from my core and shifting my centre of gravity. This works really well, and if you have seen me on ww you wouldn't know my legs dont work.

In an open boat, I move boat doesn't: I cant edge it at all so it feels like I can barely reach the water, and for strokes like a jam or a pry I am being pulled out of the boat (not a pleasant feeling). I think a saddle that I can transfer between boats would help, but I am not sure how I would be able to reach to do cross deck strokes if the saddle is set sufficiently close to one side so I can reach the water to paddle unless the boat was no wider than a kayak, hence the inital thought of a C1, but the BCU Canoe 3* syllabus specifically states it must be done in a traditional open canoe. I have contacted the BCU and didnt get much constructive advice.

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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by garya »

Ruth

I think you will find that the assessor and syllabus should be interpreted as use a traditional Open Canoe Hull and design. it that you wold be looking at a 15- 16 foot boat that cold be paddled solo or tandem.

How you sit in the boat and your outfitting should not be a prime concern as long as you can paddle the boat and achieve the desired manoeuvre and outcome competently and consistently in line with the syllabus requirements. if you require adjustments to your outfitting to achieve the correct control of the boat then this is allowed and should not present an issue.

I do not know the specifics of your disability, but I do work with adaptive paddling students a lot. some of the things you could look at if you cant kneel are using a seat where the keeling thwart would go and lowering it with some longer hangers. Fitting foam blocks in a few places to place your feet or heels against to transfer power into the hull. Moving the thwarts around can also help with access if flexing your leg is an issue, this would give you a large open area in the centre of the boat . I have also used quick release Lap belts as well when needed.

When coaching, using a student or assistant to demo position that you cannot get into is a option. as well as photos showing them how to kneel in the boat, but I assume from your post the WW kayak is really what you want to concentrate on.

Drop me a pm if you need any further advice or ideas on solutions that have worked for me and my students when open boating.

Good luck with the 3 star open

Gary Archer

icklepaddler
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by icklepaddler »

Sorry if this sounds a bit facetious, but how about a saddle in a narrow boat? A narrow boat should enable you to cross stroke.

Something like a Mad River Freedom Solo, Nova Craft Supernova, Bell Yelowstone Solo - or speak to Stu at Apache Canoes and see what he can make bespoke for you.

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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by garya »

RuthF wrote:Thanks for the replies.

I think my problems are 2 fold: I'm small (5'1'' and 8 stone) and other women I have seen paddling open canoes paddle the boat really on edge and move across the boat a lot for cross deck maneuvers, which I just cant do. I do well in a kayak as I am snug in my boat so when I move, boat moves; I do edge control all from my core and shifting my centre of gravity. This works really well, and if you have seen me on ww you wouldn't know my legs dont work.

In an open boat, I move boat doesn't: I cant edge it at all so it feels like I can barely reach the water, and for strokes like a jam or a pry I am being pulled out of the boat (not a pleasant feeling). I think a saddle that I can transfer between boats would help, but I am not sure how I would be able to reach to do cross deck strokes if the saddle is set sufficiently close to one side so I can reach the water to paddle unless the boat was no wider than a kayak, hence the inital thought of a C1, but the BCU Canoe 3* syllabus specifically states it must be done in a traditional open canoe. I have contacted the BCU and didnt get much constructive advice.

Thanks Ruth I just read your reply.

It sounds like you would benefit from a smaller lighter boat more suited to your size. There some out there but you may not have any at your club. What boat do you paddle now ?

We have a number of rhapsody open boats at our club. These are quite rare but might work for you as they are scaled down in size and weight for smaller lighter paddlers. You are welcome to come over and try one if you are around north London or lee Valley. We may even be able to arrange a 3 star assessment for you.

Gary A

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Well I'm glad others are thinking like me. Yes, the Freedom Solo sounds like an excellent idea and I have friends who use lap straps, the single wide Mowhawk one might be the most useful.

I have a dodgy right arm so use very few cross deck strokes but the cross bow cut is pretty much essential for moving water since the jam is a bit precarious.

I have to say that disabilities need to be taken into account when assessing for star awards but if you are coaching, you will need a certain level of ability.

Where are you based? We might be able to find someone with a smaller boat for you to try.

RuthF
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by RuthF »

Hi

I am based in Shropshire. All the club open boats are the 15 - 16 foot long types, and all the seats are set quite high. I borrowed a friends 12' canoe (I think it was a Mad River) which was no better as it was very wide. The best time I had was when I borrowed a Mad River Outrage, and I think with a lot of practice I could get that down some grade 2 ww if the saddle and bulkhead were the right size. Shame they don't do an Outrage S though.

My better half has offered to make me a strip 9 foot canoe, so if I wait about 2 years I'll have something of an appropriate size. It seems these are paddled in the USA with kayak paddles as I bet they aren't very directionally stable and believe it or not, there is nothing about using a single blade in the 3* open canoe syllabus.

As far as coaching is concerned, all of my coaching has been done from a kayak, including coaching open canoes. I can still show the paddle movement for the strokes (I can paddle my kayak with a single blade), and correct if, say, someone is following the gunwales rather than the centre line of the boat. The principles of many strokes are the same kayak and canoe (draw strokes, rudders etc).

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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by Adrian Cooper »

I put a post over on Song of the Paddle

http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/ ... solo-canoe

There are a few useful offers. Greg is now in the Midlands somwhere and should be able to loan you a solo canoe, he has very nice Flashfire which, I think, would suit you. Dave (wavecloud) is in Abingdon, he has a Snake River 12' but I don't know how wide it is. The Freedom Solo from bin-man in Cumbria is another likely contender.

DanJ
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by DanJ »

I have only skimmed over all the posts here but you mention having the skills for canoe 3 star.

Have you looked at the touring award as an alternative?

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Dave B
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by Dave B »

You can get a 3* in a Spec Boat (OC1). Ok what's an OC 1!, well they are normally smaller lighter and more aimed at paddling the same type of rivers that creek kayaks do. They also are narrower and you strap yourself in and sit on a central seat called a saddle. And useful skill is to roll it.

They tick the boxes for lightness, shortness and play ability. It also gives you the alternate paddle discipline.

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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by Chris Bolton »

...hence the inital thought of a C1, but the BCU Canoe 3* syllabus specifically states it must be done in a traditional open canoe. I have contacted the BCU and didnt get much constructive advice.

I think BCU are letting you down here. Surely they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for your disability? I understood that the point of requiring cross discipline skills, such as Canadian when you're primarily a kayaker, was to develop wider understanding of blade dynamics, etc, which should work just as well in C1 as a traditional boat. I agree with what people are saying above, a smaller boat should be what you need. If you do want have a try in C1, even if it's just to see if the length, width and outfitting work for you, I have a self-converted Redline C1 you can borrow, and I'm in Cheshire.

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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by Jim »

Chris Bolton wrote:
...hence the inital thought of a C1, but the BCU Canoe 3* syllabus specifically states it must be done in a traditional open canoe. I have contacted the BCU and didnt get much constructive advice.

I think BCU are letting you down here. Surely they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for your disability?
I agree. If your progression is being held up by something of questionable relevance which you can't do to the specified standard due to a disability there is a problem with the coaching scheme.

If it was primary requirement, I would take a less supportive standpoint, but there is no real need for a kayak instructor to be any good in a canoe, as far as I know the whole requirement is about broadening the skills of the instructor so it must be possible to to make an exception or substitution for that element?

I am a bit puzzled about your need for connectivity with the canoe, but I don't know the 3* requirements.
Have a look on youtube for "canoe freestyle", I appreciate that many of the paddlers are pretty gymnastic in the way they move around the boat, but their degree of connectivity is minimal (knees and feet) and the degree of control they exhibit is way beyond anything in any star awards. Maybe you could look into developing something like that to demonstrate that you can handle a canoe, although not in exactly the way the star test prescribes? I realise you won't be able to mimic everything the freestylers do, but I bet you could put together some kind of routine which would show that you have developed a kind of proficiency which is totally different to what you do in kayak, thus achieving the real intent of forcing kayak coaches to do canoeing.
Here is a clip to give you an idea of the sort of thing:

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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by glyn dyfrdwy »

You need to pursue this further with the BCU. They have a scheme called "paddleability" which, as far as I can see covers star awards for people with disabilities. I noted that they are able to award the stars on the basis of understanding in circumstances, and maybe aspects of, the standard , where a person is not actually physically able to carry out the particular activity.
There is no particular number to contact on the web site, and the link to Padleability events will not open on my i pad, so you will have to chase them on this.

You need to contact their Disability Officers, who will give you answers.
And that's me, being positive about the BCU.......whatever next?

Gareth

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RockRiver
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by RockRiver »

Hi Ruth

Lots of good advice on here so far about boats and saddle options, I would throw the Mobile adventure Majorette into the mix, an excillent little trad boat.

With regard to having to get the 3 star Open for L2, the L2 assessment pathway is changing to include the option of single dicipline assessment. This was run by the Coach Educators earlier this month and should be going live pretty soon (Information being released early November I think). Keep your eyes on the Coaching Pages or alternatvly give the CE coaching team a bell.
And you can always be assessed in the canoe side at a later date after gaining 3*.

Hope that Helps

Colin
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richardwitheridge
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Re: Need advice to get 3* canoe skills

Post by richardwitheridge »

Hi Ruth.

I am based at Proadventure. In Llangollen.

We have a freedom solo you could try. And we could create a saddle in it so you could try it for real.

Any single bladed 3 star is acceptable. So canoe touring. Stand up paddle board etc.

Also level 2 assessment with soon be available in just single discipline which might help you.

Rich
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