Wavehopper technique?

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Jim
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Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:53 pm

My club has a fun sprint event coming up and has borrowed a couple of wavehoppers so we can have some WW sprinting as well as flat water. Yesterday I took one for a spin in the basin at Pinkston

Now, I have paddled an old glass WWR years ago on easy water so I was prepared for it to turn opposite to the edge, which it does, but really slowly.

It seemed that once turning, if I swap edges it just continues to turn even faster in the same direction, and that to change direction I need to level off, straighten up and then use the other edge to turn the other way - is that about right or am I missing something?

The course was on so there is a big powerful eddy in the basin, I was trying to break in near the top of it and paddle around. How do I do that?
I was finding the boat so fast that once I crossed the eddy line I had to virtually stop and use reverse and forward sweeps to get it turned downstream before accelerating, if I just used a forward sweep and tried to follow with a power stroke it would cross the current and break out opposite (if I was far enough up, otherwise it would hit the wall). Which way to edge when breaking in? or do you break in flat?

I beleive the intention is to race down the WW course, which is very short and has two 90 degree bends, based on my experience in the basin, I don't expect to be moving fast enough to get it to turn before I hit the first bend....
There is a playhole just before the bend - its there some way I could use that to help me turn?

From what I can tell I am going to have to paddle quite slowly with a lot of reverse sweeps to get the boat down the course - is that normal when you take these things on tight technical water? I can see how much easier it would be with a big open lines on a proper rapid but I'm struggling to my head round the idea of racing these things down the WW course rather than just doing my best to get to the bottom somehow.....

It was a bit busy last night to try and plough my way down in the wavehopper so I just stuck to trying to get the hang of it in the basin.
Oh yes, my paddling is kind of low angle with plenty of support at the moment too :)

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Hakase » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:58 pm

Jim wrote:My club has a fun sprint event coming up and has borrowed a couple of wavehoppers so we can have some WW sprinting as well as flat water. Yesterday I took one for a spin in the basin at Pinkston

Now, I have paddled an old glass WWR years ago on easy water so I was prepared for it to turn opposite to the edge, which it does, but really slowly.

It seemed that once turning, if I swap edges it just continues to turn even faster in the same direction, and that to change direction I need to level off, straighten up and then use the other edge to turn the other way - is that about right or am I missing something?

The course was on so there is a big powerful eddy in the basin, I was trying to break in near the top of it and paddle around. How do I do that?
I was finding the boat so fast that once I crossed the eddy line I had to virtually stop and use reverse and forward sweeps to get it turned downstream before accelerating, if I just used a forward sweep and tried to follow with a power stroke it would cross the current and break out opposite (if I was far enough up, otherwise it would hit the wall). Which way to edge when breaking in? or do you break in flat?

I beleive the intention is to race down the WW course, which is very short and has two 90 degree bends, based on my experience in the basin, I don't expect to be moving fast enough to get it to turn before I hit the first bend....
There is a playhole just before the bend - its there some way I could use that to help me turn?

From what I can tell I am going to have to paddle quite slowly with a lot of reverse sweeps to get the boat down the course - is that normal when you take these things on tight technical water? I can see how much easier it would be with a big open lines on a proper rapid but I'm struggling to my head round the idea of racing these things down the WW course rather than just doing my best to get to the bottom somehow.....

It was a bit busy last night to try and plough my way down in the wavehopper so I just stuck to trying to get the hang of it in the basin.
Oh yes, my paddling is kind of low angle with plenty of support at the moment too :)
I don't actually have much experience paddling wavehoppers on whitewater so I can't help you with most of that, but when it comes to edging and carving I find that it will carve hard left and right even only with edge. Perhaps your problem here could be something to do with how you're sized for the boat? I'm around 55kg and it's pretty responsive to this for me -- but I don't know how I measure up to the 'ideal' weight for the boat and it may well be not meant to do so. It might also be worth having a look at your trim in the boat here.

I'll admit my pretty comprehensive lack of knowledge on the subject, so these are just my thoughts and may well be completely wrong.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Simon » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:57 pm

These long boats also need the paddling techniques developed for the old style long boats of thirty years ago.

Forget high brace and low brace turns, think high and low telemark style turns.

The low telemark, in particular, will let you put the boat right over on it's edge, close to ninety degrees, and help in turn on things like breaking in and out.

Modern short WW boats have a pivot point which is forward of the cockpit especially when moving forward, but the pivot points on long WW boats is further aft so a lot of the paddle technique needs to be level with, or even behind the cockpit, which will feel very strange to modern WW boaters, but may be familiar to sea kayakers.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Hakase » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:05 pm

Simon wrote:These long boats also need the paddling techniques developed for the old style long boats of thirty years ago.

Forget high brace and low brace turns, think high and low telemark style turns.

The low telemark, in particular, will let you put the boat right over on it's edge, close to ninety degrees, and help in turn on things like breaking in and out.

Modern short WW boats have a pivot point which is forward of the cockpit especially when moving forward, but the pivot points on long WW boats is further aft so a lot of the paddle technique needs to be level with, or even behind the cockpit, which will feel very strange to modern WW boaters, but may be familiar to sea kayakers.

Simon
I may be showing my inexperience here, but what is a telemark-style turn? Google only turns up skiing, and I'd think I'd have some trouble trying to execute that in a boat.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Simon » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:46 pm

Hakase wrote: I may be showing my inexperience here, but what is a telemark-style turn? Google only turns up skiing, and I'd think I'd have some trouble trying to execute that in a boat.
Not inexperience, just youth.

These are the paddling techniques used in the sixties and seventies when all WW boats were over four metres long. They fell out of use in the mid eighties when people realised that WW play boats boats could perform better, and were more fun, if they were shorter. And these shorter boats needed different paddling techniques.

The battle to get the, at the time, very conservative BCU coaching scheme to abandon these old techniques and develop new ones is imprinted on my soul.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Hakase » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:56 pm

Simon wrote:
Hakase wrote: I may be showing my inexperience here, but what is a telemark-style turn? Google only turns up skiing, and I'd think I'd have some trouble trying to execute that in a boat.
Not inexperience, just youth.
Well, I've plenty of both so it was going to be one or the other! Thanks for the explanation -- looking at the one video I can find it seems to be some bizarre amalgamation of a stern rudder and a high brace?

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Simon » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:31 pm

Hakase wrote: some bizarre amalgamation of a stern rudder and a high brace?
That sounds about right.

To modern eyes it looks bizarre, but in a boat like that it works.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Hakase » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:42 pm

Simon wrote:
Hakase wrote: some bizarre amalgamation of a stern rudder and a high brace?
That sounds about right.

To modern eyes it looks bizarre, but in a boat like that it works.

Simon
Yeah, I can see that it would be effective in a long boat.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by DaveBland » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:39 pm

Hold the horns, one in each hand between your legs. Lean a bit forwards, squeeze your thighs to hold on and start bouncing on your 'seat' ... Hang on... Oh WAVE hopper... My bad
dave

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:04 am

Even though I started in Dancers and a Corsica S the telemark turns had recently been withdrawn so I only know them from what I remember of illustrations - high telemark is basically a trailing high brace at speed? low telemark?

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Yellow boat » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:17 am

Jim
WW racers are not designed to break in or out. So don't worry if you are having difficulty. I know wave hoppers are slightly shorter and more stable than the full on competition craft but if you are breaking in and out and crossing the current without going over. Give yourself a pat on the back.
WW boats don't react or at least not well to any type of rudder stroke. In fact many WW racers use the wing style paddles so they can't do rudders.
Outside edge and forward drive stroke works best when paddling down stream. On the flat you may have to do a bit of a forward sweep to help. If it's not turning fast enough just crank it over further on to the outside wing :-)

Enjoy

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:57 am

But I need to be able to break in at the start of the run.....

The put in pool has pump outlets on one side and the first drop just over a boat length downstream, so even though I will put in facing downstream (as I do in my Ocoee and have done in a slalom boat) I will need to move about 3m sideways to clear the wall/gate post, whilst the towback from the pump outlets tries to suck the boat upstream into the hole.....

Within about 20m there are 2 drops, the second being the playhole, and a 90 degree bend. Obviously once I am in the flow the boat will follow it round the bend to some extent, but will I really have steerage way by then to just crank it over and wait for it to turn?

Bearing in mind that I will probably have clawed my way off the concrete wall at the entrance (taking care not to trap my fingers in the metal gate cover) as I take the first drop and still be struggling to get the boat off the eddyline into the main flow by the time I hit the playhole....???

I'm told the course has been negotiated in wavehoppers, and I know it has been done in 16' canoes and in sea kayaks so I'm sure that if I back paddle a lot I can get one round the bends, but that's not really how they are meant to be paddled, and it's not very racy!

I think I need to see someone who knows how to paddle one run the course and just copy them! I'm quite good at that!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Yellow boat » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:38 am

Wow! I've not seen the Pinkston course but that sounds TIGHT. :-0 . . . I think proper technique should be chucked away and whatever works will win the day. Are you going to get chance to practice? Not sure what to suggest for the start, reverse ferry perhaps? You might be surprised at how well it will turn on that right angle bend if you can keep off the outside eddy line :-/
Sounds like Pinkston is the same as most of the new artificial courses in that they have packed lots of features in to a short distance so good luck Jim.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:14 pm

A nice write up of Pinkston has just been uploaded to SOTP.

You can't quite see the gate on the entry drop in the photos but you sort of get the impression. I've only paddled on 3 pumps when the hole at the pumps is right across the top pool, getting away would be easier with less pumps.....

It is a very compact course, and does manage to get a lot in!

I have managed to get every eddy in a single run in my Ocoee, although one of them towards the end needed 3 attempts with some eddy hopping back up in between!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Simon » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:51 pm

Yellow boat wrote:Not sure what to suggest for the start, reverse ferry perhaps?
Wow, reverse ferry glides,

another old skool technique that is fast going the way of the dinosaurs.

Good luck with that one in a Wavehopper, Jim

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:25 pm

Simon wrote:
Yellow boat wrote:Not sure what to suggest for the start, reverse ferry perhaps?
Wow, reverse ferry glides,

another old skool technique that is fast going the way of the dinosaurs.

Good luck with that one in a Wavehopper, Jim
I was thinking I might have to reverse set to get round the corners :)

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Yellow boat » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:07 pm

Spoken like a true "canoeist" :-)

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:37 pm

Jim,

It would be usual to start facing downstream in a WWR boat - is that possible at Pinkston? On places like the Washburn, it's usual to break in just by poking the bow into the current and letting the boat turn on the spot. Then reverse ferry into the start eddy, which isn't an area of strong flow. So you don't have to break in while racing.

Just checking, by "turn opposite to the edge" you mean dip the right gunwale to turn left? That's indeed usual (and means that C1s need a permanent edge away from their paddle!). I do sometimes find that it's necessary, after turning the required amount, to use opposite edge to straighten up. But the trick is not to have to put too much turn on in the first place, by correct positioning in the flow. If a WWR is at an angle to the direction it's travelling in, it will keep turning - the bow is sufficiently submerged that there's a rudder effect. (and the heavier the paddler... not that I'm suggesting anything!)

Right angle bends (as after the footbridge on the Washburn - or possibly the bend in the last photo on the Pinkston photo thread) are best navigated by a slight turn, maybe 10º, just enough that you can shave the eddy line with the bow, then let the boat turn until nearly round, then drive it back into the flow with a sweep and edge, before it breaks out completely.

You really need to expand your Canadian skills by trying a WWR C1!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Yellow boat » Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:02 pm

Jim.
With all this online coaching you must try and get a video of your run and post it here.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:36 pm

Um, I broke my stills camera and don't have a video camera so I'll be highly reliant on someone else taking photos or videos but I'll see what I can do!

Chris, some strange things happen at Pinkston, the put in is less of an eddy, more of a boil, and the clean clear water makes reading the eddies quite tricky! I can mostly avoid smearing down the right gate post in my Ocoee now, it might be that I just have to accept that's how my start will be in a wavehopper - it's certainly not a disaster, just lacks decorum!
Hopefully if I can keep the boat in the main flow the rudder effect of the bow will help pull it round the bends. No sessions this week to practice :(

It's meant to be a fun event, the fun is going to be finding out if I can do it!

C1 WWR, er no! I can just about stay upright in a slalom boat, definitely not ready to try WWR yet, possibly ever! And I'm definitely not going near one of those sprint things!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:18 pm

We tried the Wavehoppers down the WW course tonight. Absolutely fine once under way, although I did clip a couple of blocks on some runs trying to find faster lines.

The put in is a nightmare, I decided to seal launch (well it's polythene, I seal launch all my own polythene boats), first time I went for the middle of the launch ramp, but the bow hit the upstream side of the boil and was washed into the pump outlet. It side-surfed the outlet quite well, I managed to almost reverse out, except I ran out of space with a third of the boat still in the hole, but with someone holding the stern I was able to push the bow downstream eventually and get going. Another time I tried to start too low and the bow was pushed onto the wall before the gate and took ages to get it free - there is a bit that sticks out and the flow was pushing the bow so I couldn't get it round that bit. But as long as I lined it up just to the downstream side of the boil and did a fast seal launch I was able to get away OK.

I may have used quite a few reverse strokes and maybe even some low braces at points but I was actually able to get round the sharpest corners using forward power strokes and edging. Not exactly tidy but I did find the fastest lines down each section of the course - I couldn't link them all up in the same run though :-)

The hardest part is actually paddling out down the basin, the boat is less positive in the flat water, and despite the floodlights it is quite hard to determine the edge of the flow/eddyline in the dark. I'm not sure how far we will have to go in the racing, if we have to go to the far end I reckon more time could be won and lost getting out of the eddy into the still water, than on the entire WW course.... it is so easy to just spin out at that point!

Saturday should be fun!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Yellow boat » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:06 am

Well done Jim. Have fun.

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Simongelder » Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:53 pm

If you are using flat bladed paddles what length are you using. It is much easier to steer and balance a WWR with longer paddles. Before wings became the norm, top paddlers used between 215 and 220 cm asymetrical paddles. I don't like wings in boats without rudders, especially in moving water or wind & waves. I use N12 bladed sea touring paddles set at about 217cm in my WWR. The longer paddles help you get some welly behind forward steering strokes and reverse sweeps if needed! I imagine that using current sub 200cm river paddles will be horrible in the WWR! Have fun!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Xan » Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:16 pm

Picture will follow. As long as it's not raining I'k planning on coming down with a DSLR at some point!!!

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Re: Wavehopper technique?

Post by Jim » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:06 pm

I'd say it mostly went well.
I managed to swim on my first practise run, no chance to roll because my body hit a block and the boat kept going so I was half out of it before I knew it - Xan apparently has a photo.
First race run I hit the left block wall on the exit drop and then the boat veered into the big eddy instead of following the flow around the edge so it was pretty slow.
Second race run went pretty well, didn't clip any blocks kept the boat in the fast water through the flat section and was sprinting pretty well to the finish line. After I crossed the finish line and left the flow I got a bit of a wobble and another swim but I was finished. My best time was 42.something seconds, there were a couple of guys with results in the 38 second range but I forgot to check the winning time.
I took my sea paddle, but compared blade area and decided to stick with my 2m(ish) WW paddle for more power.

I also had a go in my Ocoee and managed to do it in 56.9 seconds in that.

The event itself was part of a bigger sprint event run by GKC, there was a pretty strong turnout from the kids in the flat water event. After the racing was complete most of them got to try the lower part of the WW course on one pump - 8 and 10 year old kids in creek boats with wing paddles!

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