Lessons learnt

Inland paddling
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Natalie
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Lessons learnt

Post by Natalie » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:08 pm

After reading an interesting thread on here earlier, it made me think about a couple of scary incidents I've experienced kayaking and the factors which I think led to my mistakes:

1) Paddling without concentrating. Even if a river seems really easy, it can change and something even small can catch you out, unless your mind's on the game.
2) Long lunch breaks before getting back on without a proper warm up. I find just a few chocolate bars throughout the day enough to keep me going and work best for me.
3) Being in the wrong mood/wrong mind set. When I feel that I can do it it nearly always goes right, when I don't feel I can- even though a rapid should be within my abilities- it normally goes wrong. The thing is to follow your instincts.
4) Finally, run the rapid the way you have it in your head. I sometimes get tempted to run rapids a different way when I see others following a different line- but it normally backfires on me and I kick myself for not sticking to my original plan.

What other things influence your paddling/or have led you to make mistakes?

Natalie

TomOL
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TomOL » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:11 pm

Thinking too much about what might go wrong, then getting on and finding myself drifting towards the hazards I was focusing whilst on the bank scouting and not hitting my lines as a result.

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Natalie
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Natalie » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:31 pm

TomOL wrote:Thinking too much about what might go wrong, then getting on and finding myself drifting towards the hazards I was focusing whilst on the bank scouting and not hitting my lines as a result.
Good one.

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Jim_MWX
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Jim_MWX » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:35 pm

Inspecting Drops before running them.

To be clear, someone else in the group has inspected it and said its clear, but if I see it I often fluff the line and end up having to roll. If I onsight it, normally it works out well.

In terms of lines, I choose my own. They work for me, but are normally pretty strange and others have problems trying to follow the one I've selected.
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Pyro
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Pyro » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:41 pm

Like Jim above, inspecting when I don't really need to and/or getting out above a section to take pictures of others. More often than not I psych myself out by doing that and end up missing my line.
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TomOL
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TomOL » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:12 pm

Don't trust the person in front of you to show you the line, but using them to tell which holes are sticky is perfectly acceptable...

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Chaucer
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Chaucer » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:32 am

Being too cold can lead to mistakes.
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by scottdog007 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:59 am

TomOL wrote:Thinking too much about what might go wrong, then getting on and finding myself drifting towards the hazards I was focusing whilst on the bank scouting and not hitting my lines as a result.
"The time spent staring at the stopper is proportional to the time you will spend in it". Meaning if you stare at a 'nasty' too much you fine yourself naturally paddling towards it.

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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by RizzRat » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:13 pm

Do not say in an over confident manner - "shall I demo the line"........ no river gods like a show off and it defo made me more nervous about "following/avoiding" the same fate!!!!!
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TechnoEngineer » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:20 pm

1) Eating too much or too little for breakfast, or drinking too little, lead to poor performance

2) When scouting, don't just look at one part from one angle, look at the whole thing (including its approach) from different angles. The most difficult part of a run can often be its approach, not planning your strategy and tactics for the whole run can lead to failure.

3) Lean forward as soon as you think/feel that you're capsizing; at times I've found myself pinned to the back deck, not a nice place to be.
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TomOL
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TomOL » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:55 pm

Stay well practised with a throw-line - it's amazing how many people carry one they can't throw with any accuracy, which is next to useless in a lot of situations.

MarcusS
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by MarcusS » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:36 pm

1. Cereal bars rather than chocolate for me - too fat already.
2. Paddler too heavy and unfit - see above.
3. Mood/mindset - too right. Spending too long looking, discussing, checking, holding a meeting - just makes me more nervous. Conversely I'll always remember a stretch on the Soca that we just read & ran. Adrenaline/endorphin rush - good. Heart pounding, mouth dry, hands shaking - bad.
4. Number of times I've thought 'Is that really the line to take? Oh well, I'm sure he knows what he's doing so I'd better follow...'
5. Be comfortable about the people you're paddling with. Much of it's about anxiety management with me, so good friends/reliable coaches make all the difference.

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Andrew Battye
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Andrew Battye » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:08 pm

scottdog007 wrote:
TomOL wrote:Thinking too much about what might go wrong, then getting on and finding myself drifting towards the hazards I was focusing whilst on the bank scouting and not hitting my lines as a result.
"The time spent staring at the stopper is proportional to the time you will spend in it". Meaning if you stare at a 'nasty' too much you fine yourself naturally paddling towards it.
I have to disagree, i like too get the line clear in my head for a rapid that i'm nervous about and i think i'm more likely to get it right for doing it.

Also:
Always carry splits
Still need to get around to buying some though ;)

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:57 am

You can't disagree, that was a quote from Nealey, it must be right.

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David Robinson
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by David Robinson » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:53 pm

Expecting the river to be a nice easy paddle. I recently drove a long way expecting the river level to be fairly low making this a gentle fun trip. Arrived and the river was very high. Was quite surprised and found it quite hard to change my mindset to paddling a hard river.

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James Hartley
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by James Hartley » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:14 pm

This one was a quote from "Skinny"
If online, paddle hard, if off line paddler HARDER
Action is always better than reaction
If in doubt, get forward (I think that one is from Olaf's book, but not totally sure )
And that old adage classic, if in doubt, boof left
The more apparently complex an act, the more vital it is to search until you find its inner simplicity
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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:48 pm

Andrew Battye wrote:
scottdog007 wrote:
TomOL wrote:Thinking too much about what might go wrong, then getting on and finding myself drifting towards the hazards I was focusing whilst on the bank scouting and not hitting my lines as a result.
"The time spent staring at the stopper is proportional to the time you will spend in it". Meaning if you stare at a 'nasty' too much you fine yourself naturally paddling towards it.
I have to disagree, I like too get the line clear in my head for a rapid that I'm nervous about and I think I'm more likely to get it right for doing it.
I don't think it implies that one should run things blind, so much as that you should be focusing on the positive; When the negative creeps in it can be insidously difficult to rid yourself of, and will make you paddle like a muppet.
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Eliza Dolittle » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:57 pm

Parents don't always complete consent forms accurately (Or should that be truthfully?) and put down over inflated claims of swimming ability or prior experience and scant or missing medical information. Taster sessions are the worst offenders as they don't see the point for just one session.

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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:00 am

If you're scared because you feel off your game, consider that in fact you're off your game because you feel scared.

Perhaps even consider why you actually feel scared, what you're scared of, rather than simply labeling the stimulus that first unsettled you as the cause. It might not help then, but it will in the future...
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DaveBland
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by DaveBland » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:17 am

TheKrikkitWars wrote:If you're scared because you feel off your game, consider that in fact you're off your game because you feel scared.
wow, deep, Bro...
dave

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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:22 am

DaveBland wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:If you're scared because you feel off your game, consider that in fact you're off your game because you feel scared.
wow, deep, Bro...
You'd be shocked how long it took me to realise that about my own paddling.

In spite of the fact that it seems self evident when written down; I have all too often excused irrational, excessive fears by rationalising that I was off my game... When in actuallity I'd allowed myself to get worked up before I even got on the water.
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by DaveBland » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:41 am

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
DaveBland wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:If you're scared because you feel off your game, consider that in fact you're off your game because you feel scared.
wow, deep, Bro...
You'd be shocked how long it took me to realise that about my own paddling.

In spite of the fact that it seems self evident when written down; I have all too often excused irrational, excessive fears by rationalising that I was off my game... When in actuallity I'd allowed myself to get worked up before I even got on the water.
Didn't mean it to sound sarky – it really is enlightened.
dave

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wezzzy
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by wezzzy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:00 am

You can cause more problems trying to be over safe.

Mzee
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Mzee » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:50 pm

Lots of interesting points in this thread. I hope this is useful to someone.

Sideways momentum across a drop.
The drop is just under 2 meters high and the width of the tongue of water is about 3 meters. The stopper is one to avoid. I had to get to the safe water to the left at the immediate bottom of the fall.

Solution - paddle hard left as I go over the drop. I set up in an eddy on the right. Break into the current and get the boat moving to the left as planned but it goes wrong. Analysis after the event showed that I was crossing the river on the brow of the drop and, despite a correcting stroke I was turned straight down stream. I missed the safe water. I should have been powering across the river lower down the face of the tongue, ie I crossed too high up.

Obvious, isn’t it? Well not really. Firstly, I paddle a creek boat that usually forgives such errors. Secondly, I do not usually paddle water hard enough for such a mistake to be so critical. So for me this was a lesson learnt the hard way, but one that I managed to get away with.


Leaning forwards
This is something I am very bad at but, for my usual paddling, it is not usually significant. However, on this trip, I really felt its importance. Has anyone got any tips, apart from tacks in the back rest or a string from my nose to the bow grab? What will keep me leaning forward in times of stress?

Nic

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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:05 pm

MZee - paddle a modern, stubby-stern playboat (SuperFun to MonStar was a world of difference). Doing that, you will soon get in the habit of leaning forwards! Raising the seat also helps. It will also get you into the habit of getting your body over the front deck when rolling up.

Along similar lines, I've experienced the issue of "too much lateral momentum too early", causing me to slow down as I approach the drop. Just a case of recognising that pattern and not doing too much too early!
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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:29 pm

Your kit has to be just so:
  • It doesn't matter what you're using (so long as it fits), but making sure it's comfortable and doesn't impede your mobility when you change things (like put a pin kit in your BA, ram your pockets full of mars bars or hang your car-keys round your neck) is important
  • You will become habituated to certain things over time and changing them can affect your paddling (The thing that opened my eyes to this was going from paddling in a cag-deck in the summer to paddling in a drysuit in the autumn, significantly less torso mobility, adding my pile onesie once it got really cold made this even more noticable).
You'll enjoy paddling just as much if you train in a semi-structured or structured way, and get more out of it:
  • Switching disciplines three years ago pushed my technical skills back a notch, and I struggled to keep pace with my paddling buddies... I eventually realised that I was just getting on the rivers I'd been doing before and blasting down, deliberately avoiding the moves I struggled with. It took someone else to point out that I needed to take time to step down the whitewater difficulty and step up the technical difficulty so I could re-learn and dial down some skills; It's an ongoing process of looking at what's weak and thinking about what I can do make it stronger... but that's got me out of my rut
Fitter, Stronger, Better?
  • It is not just paddling "specific fitness" that contributes to the pace at which you improve, even for a recreational paddler making a small regular commitment to build your strength, stamina or flexiblity will pay dividends.
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DaveBland
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by DaveBland » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:06 pm

Don't get old.
It's all sooo much easier when you are younger.
dave

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wezzzy
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by wezzzy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:58 pm

DaveBland wrote:Don't get old.
It's all sooo much easier when you are younger.

I've tried but Mother Nature has her nails in and won't let go.

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Jim_MWX
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by Jim_MWX » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:12 pm

One other, and its both obvious and random to an extent.

Carrying a spare paddle in arms reach in an OC1. I didn't bother on the first few trips, and soon realized that running the second rapid section on the Crake sans paddle was, well, c**p.

I never carried one as the paddle wouldn't fit easily on the front airbag without getting in the way - solution was to cut one down to size. Lost my paddle a week ago and reached for the spare without even thinking about it. Got t'other one back.

I second the Throwline point as well, went for it the other week and missed by miles, on second use later on, spot on. More refreshing needed!
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TheKrikkitWars
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Re: Lessons learnt

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:40 am

Jim_MWX wrote:Carrying a spare paddle in arms reach in an OC1. I didn't bother on the first few trips, and soon realized that running the second rapid section on the Crake sans paddle was, well, c**p.
Are you paddling a trad or a spec boat?
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