Portage technique for K1 Marathon

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Portage technique for K1 Marathon

Post by RacePace13 »

Hi, I will be doing a bunch of races with portages next season and i have been trying to find info on the technique. I watch a lot of videos on marathon and it sure looks like there is a specific technique to getting in and out of the boat quickly in a K1 but i cannot pick it out exactly. I was wondering if any of you guys new of any resources for this? I would love to study up before hitting the water.

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Re: Portage technique for K1 Marathon

Post by PaulK1 »


I assume you’re relatively new to racing with portages, so I’d say the major thing to worry about to being with is just not to lose a lot of time. You can pick up some time on a portage for sure, but you can lose a big chunk too.

When you’re approaching the portage, if you’re in a group, you want to get in to a good position. Try to know before hand what choices of places you’ll have to get out and to get back in. Can you go both sides? Maybe you can get out both sides but only get in on one side so you might have to swap over the boat if you choose one side over the other.

Make sure you get yourself some space to get out. I.e. if the get out is on the right bank and you’re on the wash to the left of the leader, then they can choose to go long and leave you with no where to get out, so you might need to drop behind just before the portage, or consider taking the lead in the approach to the portage, or sprinting in to reduce their options. Similarly if you’re in a V wash you might end up with no space until someone else has got out. If you’re sat in your waiting for space then that’s by far the limiting factor to your speed through the portage. That all mostly disappears if it’s a beach portage.

For the get in, if you’re there earlier then the others then you can choose your space. Normally it’s a good idea to run long, and get in at the furthest point (again assuming it’s not a beach where there’s a lot more space) because otherwise someone can come and put their boat in over yours (so that their back overlaps with your front and your trapped between them and the bank). You either need to wait for them to push off or try to back paddle if there’s no one behind you. Again, much more time to be gained back or lost on this than being speedy and standing up in the boat.

To your actual question! For getting in and out, I’d try to brace with one blade flat to the water and the paddle shaft held in your hand while also holding the cockpit. That’s stable and keeps the paddle under control. Don’t scrape your paddles along the bank, you should be at the right speed (probably almost stopped) by the time you touch against the bank.

Then pull your feet towards you, still holding the front of the cockpit for something to pull against, and stand up. Step out. The less time you spend ‘stood up’ in the boat the more stable you’ll feel, so try to be fast and smooth if you can.

With a high bank you might have to totally stop and put a hand on the bank.

If you come in at a big angle then you can use a big back paddle stroke to stop the boat and also line it up with the bank at the last minute - don’t try it at flat out speed the first time or you might slam the nose in to the bank! But once you’re used to it you can come in pretty fast and not damage anything.

Don’t throw the paddle on to the bank, always keep hold of it. Someone can deliberately kick it away, of accidentally stand on it and break it. Plus it’s slow to have to pick it back up.

For a beach you can do the same thing - paddle held on the front of the cockpit, pull your feet towards you, stand up, then jump out to one side with both feet at once (so you don’t leave a foot behind in the boat as it bounces up when you take your weight out of it)

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Re: Portage technique for K1 Marathon

Post by Chris Bolton »

If you're serious about getting good results, I think you'll need to find a club to train with, and they will help you learn portaging - I assume you're not with a club now, or you wouldn't be asking here, and I appreciate there may not be a club near you. Training on your own you don't push as hard nor do you learn to make use of wash and pick up tips on technique.

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Re: Portage technique for K1 Marathon

Post by mrcharly »

I could give you lots of tips on what NOT to do!

Main things to avoid:
Falling out.
Getting caught outside of other boats (either sprint ahead and get a clear spot or take a rest and recover and get a clear spot).
'turning round' to pick up your boat. When you step out of the boat, step out facing in the direction in which you are going to run, pick up the boat and move. Don't step out, turn and pick up your boat.
Trying to stop yourself with your hand. This is a really bad habit. You are going to pick splinters, catch your hand on jagged steel, brambles, who knows what (BTDT). Practice coming in at an angle, use a brace on the outside to slow and 'skid in' (don't lean too much or you will fall in, BTDT).

At beach portages, go in deeper than you think is required. If you don't, you will get in, and your rudder will be stuck in the mud/sand. You can use your paddle to 'pole off'.
When coming in to a beach portage, the real pros stand up in their boats and jump out. Ruddy show-offs :D Looks damn impressive when you see people do this.

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