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Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kayaks

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:41 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Hi all,

My name is Shelley Broomfield and I have been kayaking for getting on for a decade now. I spend many of my weekends both kayaking and coaching on white water, with and for my club. In my spare time (!) I work at Bournemouth University teaching Coaching Sciences and I am studying part time for my PhD. Based on my love of kayaking and my specialist area of interest being Biomechanics, the physics of sport, I have decided to use my PhD to look into what sitting height white water kayakers should sit at in order to get the most efficient paddle stroke.

The first phase of my research involves me measuring a lot of white water kayakers body dimensions. The reason for doing this is so that we can see where males and females are different, and also so we have the opportunity to communicate with manufacturers to provide them with the most up to date data on the population of UK white water kayakers on which to base their equipment design.

How can you help? I need volunteers who are over 18 and consider themselves to be white water kayakers. I need you to be willing to give up 45-60minutes of your time to allow me to measure your body dimensions such as arm span and siting height. All body shapes and sizes are welcome and, most importantly, are needed and your data will remain confidential. Even better would be if you can get your club mates, or paddling buddies together so I can measure a few of you at the same time. In order to take the measurements I will need a flat floor, indoors with somewhere private such as a changing room (although I can bring a screen with me if this is not possible); a club house would be perfect. I am willing to travel to capture this data as I want to get as representative a sample as possible, so don’t worry about location too much. Or if you and your club/ friends have any away trips planned, maybe I could come with you and measure you in the evenings/ mornings or whenever fits in with your schedules, just let me know where and when! PM me if you or your club would be interested and for more information. I have an information sheet I can send you by reply which will give you full details of the measurements taken and other information surrounding the project.

Thanks for reading and happy paddling!
Shelley

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:42 pm
by Wadhamite
Hi Shelley, might be able to find you a few people in one go at Lee Valley one evening/weekend, although I'm the only girl! Your research sounds really interesting, although I dread to think what kind of sample size you need. If you can wait until term time again, university clubs might be good (eg Cambridge) as many of the members will need to do research of their own and will therefore be that much more willing to help out. Getting enough samples for a statistically significant sample size was the bane of my PhD...

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:11 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Coming to lee valley would be amazing!! Could you PM me with your details please so we can sort a time that is suitable? Guys and gals are all needed so it doesn't matter at the moment who I measure! You are right though, the sample will need to be large so the more help I can get the better! I will definitely be contacting Uni clubs when they get back, but want the sample to be representative so I need kayakers that aren't students as well! Thanks so much for getting back to me and your support!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:47 am
by Garry
Have you thought about setting up a tent or similar at one or more of the white water events over the summer/winter this year and advertising you will be there and why? e.g. Tyne tour, BCU freestyle events, Hurley classic, Tryweryn fest, Gene 17 dart weekend etc. will be typically hundreds of of white water paddlers at each of these events.


A previous study into surfers ear in paddlers did this approach and I understand got a lot of extra sample data and all focussed on target audience.

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:02 am
by Big Henry
This would be an ideal opportunity to see if there is any correlation between sitting height/position and whether they suffer from a bad back!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:45 am
by Wadhamite
I wonder how much correlation there is with rolling, too - with boats where the seat is set too low, I find rolling almost impossible - can't bend round enough to roll up!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:00 am
by shelleybroomfield
Once I have the sitting height data there are so many places this can go!! I need to start at the beginning though as we currently know very little at all about any of this stuff!

I have thought about locating myself somewhere for a weekend, but really it needs to be warm with flat floors and at least 1 solid wall. The measurements take around 45 minutes and in winter in a tent in shorts that would be cold!! But if anyone knows of anywhere I could do this then please contact me! Thanks!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:13 pm
by Poke
I assume that you're looking for information on the height of the person whilst sat down?

Looking at some of the above comments I wonder if people might be confusing sitting height with seat height?

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:41 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Initally I am looking at all measures of people. Their height, sitting height and others such as arm span and limb lengths. This is because the idea will be to eventually work out which of these measures relate best to the seat height which is most efficient for the paddler, in simple terms, if you are shorter you will need a bigger seat raise, if you are taller you will not!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:05 pm
by TechnoEngineer
I'm interested :) See PM

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:11 pm
by TechnoEngineer
Wadhamite wrote:I wonder how much correlation there is with rolling, too - with boats where the seat is set too low, I find rolling almost impossible - can't bend round enough to roll up!
I looked into this - if you sit on the floor and bend yourself over, as if setting up to roll, you'll find that your "spare tyre" may interfere with the cockpit coaming. The cockpit coaming should not be much higher up than your hips, or if it is at such a height that it would interfere, then it needs to be wider than the distance between the hip pads.

Also bear in mind that the coaming on most boats rises up at the front, so if you move the seat too far forwards, it could interfere with your torso during set-up. If you move the seat too far back, then the coaming interferes with your back if you do lay-back recovery.

The other dimension is how much your bum moves when upside-down. Make sure you can get a hand in between you and *one* of the hip pads; ensuring you're not too tightly wedged in.

So for me the rule-of-thumb is to sit in the boat on dry land and see whether or not I can positively touch the floor with both hands without my bum lifting off the seat.

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:00 pm
by nickwright321
Hi Shelley

Stour Valley Canoe Club meet on a Saturday morning. We have a range of paddlers from beginners through to experienced white water. You are welcome to come along to the club and measure us all if you like. Let me know and I'll post the details.

Regards

Nick

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:34 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Hi Nick, that is amazing, just down the road too. I am free on the 12th July so could come over then and start collecting some measurements. If you could PM me an email address I will send over an information sheet and some more details and we can arrange the 12th if that is suitable with you! Thanks so much for your support!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:03 pm
by shelleybroomfield
I'm up at the Tryweryn this weekend. If you want to keep up with where I am measuring join my Facebook Group:
https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/527967533969572/
Happy paddling :o)

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:41 pm
by Chris Bolton
the idea will be to eventually work out which of these measures relate best to the seat height which is most efficient for the paddler, in simple terms, if you are shorter you will need a bigger seat raise, if you are taller you will not!
Shelley, as a C1 paddler I'm not much use to you for measuring but I'm interested in the science of your approach. I think you may find that taller paddlers usually have longer arms so cancelling out the height difference. It's torso length compared to arm that will make the difference, but perhaps that's what you meant by taller?

How are you going to measure paddling efficiency? I don't quite follow how you plan to use paddler size measurements without paddling efficiency measurements for the same paddlers.

I'm guessing that since you're looking at whitewater paddlers you will be covering the effect of sitting height on a variety of strokes, not just forward paddling (otherwise you could get data from sea kayakers and flat water kayakers).

Best wishes for your research anyway.

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:00 pm
by Sue8873
Very interested in this research- it has been a real bugbear for me over the years getting boats that fit and work well. Both white water and sea kayaks. Would be interested in more info and I could probably rustle up a few ww kayakers on a Wednesday evening in Swindon. All the best
Sue

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:36 pm
by BristolBob
If you do a session in Bristol I'd be up for helping.

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:04 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Chris Bolton wrote:
the idea will be to eventually work out which of these measures relate best to the seat height which is most efficient for the paddler, in simple terms, if you are shorter you will need a bigger seat raise, if you are taller you will not!
Shelley, as a C1 paddler I'm not much use to you for measuring but I'm interested in the science of your approach. I think you may find that taller paddlers usually have longer arms so cancelling out the height difference. It's torso length compared to arm that will make the difference, but perhaps that's what you meant by taller?

How are you going to measure paddling efficiency? I don't quite follow how you plan to use paddler size measurements without paddling efficiency measurements for the same paddlers.

I'm guessing that since you're looking at whitewater paddlers you will be covering the effect of sitting height on a variety of strokes, not just forward paddling (otherwise you could get data from sea kayakers and flat water kayakers.
Hi Chris, the science behind the method has obviously undergone extensive reading, pilot testing and agreement from the university research panel that the appropriate considerations have been taken. I am more than happy to discuss it with you and it's too long to write in full here, but I will give a brief overview if that's ok for now.

The arm length is a key factor and when I measure the efficiency I expect to see a bell curve, where introducing the seat raise will show an efficiency improvement to a point and then the efficiency will reduce based on lack of balance, increased lean due to arms being higher and other factors.

This phase is just the first phase, the second phase looks at efficiency, for which I will be measuring strain through the paddle, a number of boat movements and some elements of technique. I will of course measure each individual for their anthropometrics prior to the efficiency tests so that I can associate the measures with the efficiency results.

For the phd as a start point I will be focussing on the forwards paddle stroke as this is estimated to be 80% of paddle strokes in ww kayaking. As the boats handle differently in these different disciplines, I am just focussing on the ww population, although there are any number of directions this work can take post the phd and I am very excited about the possibilities this could bring in the future!

I hope this answers most of your questions, but if not pm me and we can chat properly if you like!

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:07 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Sue and Bob, I would be most grateful for your help!! Could you please PM me your email address so I can get in touch and send the relevant info over!

Thanks :o)
Shelley

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:54 pm
by DaveBland
TechnoEngineer wrote:So for me the rule-of-thumb is to sit in the boat on dry land and see whether or not I can positively touch the floor with both hands without my bum lifting off the seat.
Unbelievably wise words – particularly so if you are struggling with your rolling.

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:51 pm
by gp.girl
TechnoEngineer wrote:So for me the rule-of-thumb is to sit in the boat on dry land and see whether or not I can positively touch the floor with both hands without my bum lifting off the seat.
By positively do you mean fingertips, thumbs, palms or something else?

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:37 pm
by DaveBland
For me I'd go knuckles when making a fist. I wouldn't say it's that critical, but if you aren't making contact easily with the floor, the water surface won't be easy either. [Of course, the water surface will be closer to the hands than the floor will.]

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:58 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Hi All,

I am data collecting on the 17th July in the Chichester/ Brighton area. I am pretty much full for the evening, but if anyone else is in the area during the day and free and willing please contact me :o)

Shelley
https://www.facebook.com/groups/527967533969572/

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:50 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Hi All,

I am looking to book up visits to come and measure white water paddlers at clubs and or individual people over the Oct-Dec period. Can you help me? I could come on a club weekend away and measure in the evenings or I could come and visit you on a normal club session. You can either contact me on here or my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/527967533969572/

Thanks all :o) I hope you've had a great summer paddling
Shelley

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:01 pm
by janet brown
Fascinated by this study, unfortunately only just seen the thread!
As a 5'0" WW paddler, I often find I am at a disadvantage due to my lack of height, not helped by reduced flexibility associated with advancing years and differing layers winter and summer....

Will try and link up with you when you're next in Sussex.

Janet

Re: Volunteers needed for PhD into sitting height in ww kaya

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:06 pm
by shelleybroomfield
Hi All,

I just wanted to give you an update, I have had a paper accepted into the Journal of Sports Sciences in the last couple of weeks, so I am just awaiting a publication date. I will let you know when its out, but I am hoping to write about it in a publication a little more available to you all so am currently looking for avenues for this.

I am still after willing volunteers to let me come and measure body shapes and dimensions so if anyone knows that there would be people in their club who could help me, please get in touch and I will give you all the information you need.

Thanks!! Shelley