Alec wrote: ↑
Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:31 am
EJ - recently made video.
That video is from 8-9 years ago
I'll let you read this thread for some opinions on EJ as a coach
Maybe I need to qualify my comment about sculling for support a little. It can be useful for developing different paddle movements and how they feel however it needs to be done correctly and safely - unfortunately this is rare. If you go and watch someone sculling for support at your local club / pool session they will likely be pinned onto the back deck doing massive sweeping sculls with dangerously extended arms and shoulders. This position is so reinforced in their muscle memory that on encountering a grade 3 wave they automatically lean back on to their back deck with the resultant loss in stability and inevitable capsize. As they capsize they try to prevent the capsize with some sculling (the only support stroke they're in a position to attempt) which fails because their technique is poor. They then roll or swim then head to the next week's pool session where they yet again practice badly sculling for support in the vain hope that if they can hold a boat on its side in a pool this will somehow translate to improved stability on a river.
If they're sculling badly, someone should show them what they're doing wrong and correct them - same as anything else in kayaking.
When I first practised sculling and high braces I was told I extended my arms too much. It didn't take much adjustment to extend them less. (Incidentally, I've never heard anyone criticise moves that are just as risky to the shoulders, such as extending an arm to the other side of the kayak to get the paddle in vertical. This is clearly effective in many circumstances, but it only takes one shoulder injury to stop you doing it and accept that you're going to have to adopt less stylish, less efficient techniques.)
I'm not sure that I've seen anyone attempting to scull on white water in the circumstances you describe. Like many paddlers, at first I used to lean back when I encountered intimidating features, but I forced myself to stop doing it and to adopt an assertive posture. Most people improve step by step, and no bad technique is so ingrained that it can't be replaced by good technique. You soon learn what doesn't work on real rivers and gradually your technique improves.
As for leaning back while rolling (viz. the link you gave to the other thread): this is how Ken Whiting taught it and how I learned it. In fact, I believe it's how it was taught in all the videos I watched when I was learning to roll - and that was only 3 years ago.
The technical argument for leaning back is that it increases your angular momentum at the crucial moment - the same principle by which a ballerina spins faster by moving her arms down to her sides. From experience, I can say that it works, and means you have to use remarkably little muscle power to get back upright.
I understand the argument that leaning back exposes you to rocks, but as long as you remember to tuck forward as soon as you go under, this risk doesn't seem that serious - since by the time you're leaning back you're well away from the river bed, at least if your roll is successful. I'd rather have a solid roll with slight extra edge-case risks if it doesn't work, than a "safe" roll that is less effective. My roll may not be technically perfect, but it is reliable. I've used it in rocky rivers, and of the numerous bruises and cuts I've received, none have been to the face during a roll.
You can't eradicate the risk of injury from white water kayaking. Look at the former advocacy of the low brace over the high brace - theoretically safer, but of such limited practical effectiveness that you might as well not bother.