Cross-bow strokes for sea kayaking.^

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Mark R
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Cross-bow strokes for sea kayaking.^

Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:20 am

A total joke.


Discuss.
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dom_edward
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Post by dom_edward » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:57 am

Probably not done enough sea paddling yet to have an experienced opinion, but having practiced the stroke a couple of weekends back it isn't at the top of my list to perfect and a long way off using it in anger!

but it is surely a good stroke for coaches - flexibility, trunk rotation, paddle awareness, edge control ....... I remember doing a session with Doug Cooper who used it as a warm-up exercise and to gauge general experience within the group.

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XB strokes

Post by Gareth Plas » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:10 am

I have even given up trying these.

They hurt my aging shoulders and it seems a long way to the other side of my Aquanaut HV

Gordon Brown seems to like them, amongst the reasons for using them is no drips down the neck.

As far as I am concerned there are many other ways to turn a sea kayak that are just as efficient but less painfull.

I watched a comp in Llangollen a few weeks ago and was impressed by the white water guys using them with great effect, but for a 17' sea kayak, naaaaaaaaaa, a basic bow or stern rudder or draw will do me fine.

G

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Re: Cross-bow strokes for sea kayaking.

Post by JohnK » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:42 am

MarkR wrote:A total joke.

Discuss.
I've not paddled a sea kayak but over a great many years have paddled river runner, WWR, K1, slalom, surf kayak and waveski. I can't see a reason why anyone would want to do a cross-bow stroke in a KAYAK.
Gareth Plas wrote: I watched a comp in Llangollen a few weeks ago and was impressed by the white water guys using them with great effect...
Not in a kayak.
MarkR wrote:A total joke.
What prompted you to start this thread?

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Post by Owen » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:44 am

As there's a blade on both ends of the paddle I can't see why you need to do all that twisting about. The only good point is when you do manage the inevitable and capsize your already it the setup position to roll.

They might be useful for developing boat control, edging and balance but as a cross-bow rudder does the same thing as a bow-rudder why bother. I think many sea paddler could do with improving their boat handling skills but that doesn't mean performing circus tricks where a simple and easy stroke will do just as well.


P.S. When would you ever use that Colorado Hook thing?

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Post by TimParish » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:00 pm

I learnt the cross-bow rudder with Gordon Brown during some training last year and enjoyed both learning it and practicing it afterwards. I've only been paddling a year and I found that, while it was more difficult to get into the correct body position (I put that down to my age at the time) the cross bow stroke placed less tension on my shoulders than a 'normal' bow rudder and it is certainly effective.

Surely the greater the repertoire of strokes at a paddler's disposal the better off he/she is? IMHO practicing this stroke improved my balance and edge control and at my level of experience that was, and still is, a good thing. I also enjoyed the challenge of learning it and have used it occasionally for real, so for me it certainly wasn't a 'total joke'.

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Tim
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dom_edward
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Post by dom_edward » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:38 pm

Could cross bow rudders in sea kayaks be analagous to hanging draws in a play boat?

I have heard lots of people with short boats claiming a hanging draw is a useless stroke/doesn't work - but with practice I think it can be done in any boat.

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Post by Mark R » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:31 pm

I strongly suspect that certain coaches are pushing cross-bow strokes simply for want of something to teach that makes sea kayaking sound difficult...and themselves impressive by analogy.

Sea kayak technique isn't hard. Anyone can figure out the strokes needed for sea kayaking in a short space of time. The tricky stuff is the judgement and planning (which isn't all that tricky).
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Post by ianzippy » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:41 pm

I've been playing around with this stroke in kayaks after originally learning it in open boats and think its a great stroke to have in your 'paddling toolbox'. Biomechanically it seems to be a very powerful body position and turns a boat well, if requiring a little more balance than more 'conventional' strokes. JohnK's comment above, about not being used by slalom kayakers is, i think, inaccurate, I'm fairly sure it's been used in slalom for a good many years (though is perhaps out of fashion now?), perhaps due to the powerful winding up effect of the trunk rotation needed to plant the paddle.
Anyway, like Tim mentions above, if nothing else it certainly gives you an awareness of the body, boat, blade relationship to perform it effectively.
So not a total joke. Though admittedly amusing when someone falls in trying it out.
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Post by JohnK » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:49 pm

ianzippy wrote:... it's been used in slalom for a good many years
Nope.

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Like I said.................

Post by Gareth Plas » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:09 pm

I was watching a comp in Llangollen and they were using the cross bow draw ...................

I do wish that people would not tell me what I saw or didn't see......

G

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Re: Like I said.................

Post by capsized8 » Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:22 pm

Gareth Plas wrote:I was watching a comp in Llangollen and they were using the cross bow draw ...................

I do wish that people would not tell me what I saw or didn't see......

G
May I remind you of your age, it might have been a ww raft you were watching ;0)

I have to admire your multi tasking skills, you posted this whilst talking to me on't phone

See you soon G

Pete

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Post by JonC » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:28 pm

Cross-bow rudder in ANY type of non-competition paddling

A joke?

Discuss

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Post by andreadawn » Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:58 pm

I've taken Gordon out to play (in book form that is; that way you can stuff him back in a drybag and shut him up when you've had enough of him ;-) ) quite a lot recently and I'll even admit to learning some useful things from him.

But the cross bow strokes feel so unnatural and counter intuitive.

Running the race through the railway viaduct on the River Kent recently on a big spring tide (20kph said the GPS), I decided I'd try and catch one of the eddies beyond. I missed the microscopic ones that form behind the bridge piers by miles and only with much bracing and general incompetence did I manage to get into one thirty metres or so further on. I'm pretty sure there was a bow rudder in there somewhere. What I'm really glad I didn't do was to cross my live blade over to the 'wrong' side of the boat otherwise I'd have taken my first accidental swim.

Would a cross bow rudder work/be better in a sea kayak in water travelling at that sort of speed? In gentler conditions, I can't really see any point except to impress the style judges and I'll never be in any danger of doing that.

A total joke? I'm nowhere near skilled enough to say so. But as I said, the cross bow strokes feel very unnatural to me. Maybe it's just lack of familiarity. I'll keep playing with them on easy water for a bit yet.

Andrea.

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Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:39 pm

JonC wrote:Cross-bow rudder in ANY type of non-competition paddling

A joke?

Discuss
How else would you do an offside break out, or break in, in a C1?

I agree, I can't see the point of using them in a kayak, competition or not.

Chris

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Post by Cameron » Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:58 pm

As I said to Gordon, " Too little reward for too much risk"

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Post by Jim » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:33 pm

As with so many discussions (many of which seem to be sparked by Gordons writings) I think cross-bow stuff is useful for the 'toolbox'.

It might not be a stroke you will ever use on an A to B trip but I think it is important to try out as many of these 'daft' things as possible to develop a range of comfort and familiarisation with your boat.

As for uses for cross bow strokes, Canoes as mentioned will always have a use for them. The colorado hook itself can be used as part a sequence to initiate a squirt manouevre, so from that perspective it has a very definit use in that kayak discipline. Also as has been mentioned if you have the dynamic balance for it, the trunk rotation involved does seem to give a much more powerful turn, not that there should ever be a need for that in a sea kayak, except when training inland... :-)

Jim

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Post by Tom_Laws » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:22 am

dom_edward wrote:Could cross bow rudders in sea kayaks be analagous to hanging draws in a play boat?

I have heard lots of people with short boats claiming a hanging draw is a useless stroke/doesn't work - but with practice I think it can be done in any boat.
Think about what you do with your feet. Sounds a bit off the wall, but give it a go, its the secret to a good hanging draw!

Cross bow strokes are a bit of a waste as an actual stroke to use, particularly in a sea kayak, but as Jim says, handy to have in the tool box.

Tom

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Post by Mark R » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:43 pm

Nobody at all willing to speak up for them? I was lead to believe that quite a lot of coaches are teaching them to sea kayak students...
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Post by thames kayak » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:48 pm

What a set up!

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Post by CaileanMac » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:14 am

Sea kayak technique isn't hard. Anyone can figure out the strokes needed for sea kayaking in a short space of time.
Correct.

For vast majority of people sea kayaking is about touring, exploring and mild adventure with healthy doses of socialising, eating, tea drinking and drinking. The skill level required facilitate this isn't of an Olympic standard. This style of sea kayaking doesn't happen on rough days - reality and doesn't require technically perfect strokes and boat/body/blade coordination.

Here's an opinion which I've formed over the years - the vast bulk of sea kayaker's aren't necessarily the most efficient and effective paddler's in terms of boat handling/awareness, use of their whole body and blade awareness as some key areas. They don't necessarily need to be either if all they want to do is simple, sheltered trips. When it comes to the fore is when people appear on coaching or star award courses or venture into rougher waters and get a reality check about their skill and boat/blade/boat awareness levels either through verbal or direct (capsize/near miss) feedback. I've reached this opinion after spending a number of year's coaching people both in a club and commerical settings.

I have indeed coached 'cross bow strokes' as a means to an ends - improve balance, coordination and blade/boat/body awareness. As a stand alone stroke I can't say that it's that practical or useful particularly in rough water. Personally I would prefer to use a bow rudder which could easily be blended into a draw/power/slice back and brace, etc depending on what happens i.e. wave breaks, you make past the obstacle whilst rock hopping, etc.
I strongly suspect that certain coaches are pushing cross-bow strokes simply for want of something to teach that makes sea kayaking sound difficult
Sea kayaking for far too long has had the 'black art' kind of thingy about in particular geographical areas and social groupings. However being honest there isn't much to getting out on a calm day and enjoying yourself on the sea. Different kettle of fish on a rough day or when the sea turns into a wild and unforgiving playground. Hence why planning is so important and again there isn't an 'black art' to this either - ref: Franco Ferrero's Sea Kayak Navigation book. Some people will want to push themselves and their skills/understanding/awareness and hence coaches will use many different ways, tailored to their needs to acheive the end goal which may include if appropriate cross decked strokes.

If a coach is simply teaching a cross decked stroke as a 'stand alone' stroke then I ask the question are they really in tune with current thinking? blending strokes/skills/awareness and using a wide variety of approaches tailored to suit their students needs as apposed to teaching fancy strokes just for the hell of it?

Regards

CaileanMac
Last edited by CaileanMac on Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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From Gordon Brown

Post by Skyak » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:22 am

Weeellllll,

This seems to have caused quite a bit of a stir, the whole cross bow rudder / bow rudder thing. I wrote in the book what my experience is and has been in more than thirty years sea kayaking and coaching (not just in one discipline).

The cross bow rudder is a much stronger position for your body and places MUCH less strain on your shoulder than the bow rudder.

Here's a question which should get you all thinking.

Do your muscles work better when pulling or when pushing?

While you are considering this here's what happens;

Bow rudder uses the very puny muscles that we all use for pushing and places the shoulder at risk especially in a sea kayak.

Cross bow rudder uses all of your muscles from your feet to your fingers, including some pretty big strong ones (names aren't important unless you need them).

What this means is that I can use my whole body to turn my boat instead of one arm - I guess though that the choice of what strokes / techniques you use is up to you. No one should be injured when playing on the water in any craft. I have seen more injured shoulders (both sea and river) from bow rudders than from cross bow strokes of any sort.

Another benefit of the CBR is that you are in the forward protected roll position if your skill is not up to carrying off the more powerful and effective technique.

Please keep playing with things and commenting on them as it will drive the sport on, just remember to keep looking forward not backward.

Gordon

Andrea, I would shut up without you putting me in a drybag;-)
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Post by CaileanMac » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:08 am

Bow rudder uses the very puny muscles that we all use for pushing and places the shoulder at risk especially in a sea kayak.
Aye the bow rudder doesn't use the most powerful muscles but if done conrrectly doesn't rely on them completely - use of boat speed, edge and intation along with good awareness and timing. Poor technique which doesn't employ these elements causes problems with shoulders as most paddlers are blade dependant as apposed to using body, boat and blade in equal amounts. Finally a blade angle which is parallel to the boat and not 'open' reduces the potential for injuries and increases the radius of the turn and of course its dependant on the speed, edge and body position as well!
Cross bow rudder uses all of your muscles from your feet to your fingers, including some pretty big strong ones (names aren't important unless you need them).
So the amount of commitment from the paddler to give a go and learn, is relatively high as the perception can exist that it's likely end up with swimming or causing injury to themselves - the bulk of this thread have been about bashing it as a stroke and dismissing out of hand. Comfort zones? Sterotypes which exist in sea kayaking? The sport will move on Gordon as we both know it will, but progress will be slow. Maybe in another 10 years the sport will need you to produce another book which gets people fired up and stimulates more debates and goes some ways to dispelling myths and sterotypes about a lot of things :-)

Regards

CaileanMac

(Edited to sort out typos and grammar - I was in a rush this morning)

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Post by Mark R » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:07 pm

CaileanMac wrote:the perception can exist that it's likely end up with swimming or causing injury to themselves
I have given these strokes a try since reading about them (you see, I am actually only 99% narrow-minded) and I didn't injure myself or swim, but I certainly found myself aborting them more than once to prevent pain or capsize. Modesty aside, I don't think that my balance or boat control is poor.

Seriously...am I missing something? I simply don't get what they bring to sea kayaking. I am aware that these strokes are being pushed in certain quarters, and certainly not by idiots. Should I be getting some coaching input on this, or are they just a hypothetical training type thing, not for real use?
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Post by JohnK » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:48 pm

Why is sea kayaking any different from other kayak disciplines particularly when it doesn't require such technical input as for example river running or slalom? I can understand being made to jump through hoops on a course but back in the real world the only reason anyone would want to do a cross-bow stroke in a kayak is if they are misguided or showing off.

Is this not an example of what happened during the 80s when inbred coaching caused a whole generation of paddlers to perform skulling for support whilst lying on the water with their arm in the dislocated position?

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Re: From Gordon Brown

Post by JohnK » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:53 pm

Skyak wrote: Bow rudder uses the very puny muscles that we all use for pushing and places the shoulder at risk especially in a sea kayak.

Cross bow rudder uses all of your muscles from your feet to your fingers, including some pretty big strong ones (names aren't important unless you need them).

What this means is that I can use my whole body to turn my boat instead of one arm - I guess though that the choice of what strokes / techniques you use is up to you. No one should be injured when playing on the water in any craft. I have seen more injured shoulders (both sea and river) from bow rudders than from cross bow strokes of any sort.
If that's the case then you're clearly not performing trunk rotation.

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Post by CaileanMac » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:55 pm

MarkR,
I simply don't get what they bring to sea kayaking.
The process to getting the stroke working correctly is a tool I use when coaching - refinement, reflection, body/boat/blade awareness and generating internal feedback. As has been said earlier in the thread by others - they add another stroke to your toolbox. Unlike others here you are happy to experiement and try the stroke rather than dis-miss it out of hand. To get the stroke right is like threading a fine needle to give it an analogy. It's process tool for me as a coach primarily and once people have developed the skill they have it in their toolbox to use - far better to have the ability to have a range of strokes, skills and ways of achieving the same result, than relying on just one or two ways?

To quote JohnK
particularly when [sea kayaking] it doesn't require such technical input as for example river running or slalom?
It all depends to what level you want to take your sea kayaking to. As I stated in an earlier post - for most people paddling in rough water and narly rockhopping isn't their main reason for sea paddling and conseverly their skills, awareness and balance don't need to be at the higher end of spectrum. I see the phrase 'technical input' here in a wide sense in terms of sea kayaking and not just about specific stand alone strokes.

May I suggest some coaching or demostrations would be order to unlock and de-mysify cross bow strokes for yourself?

CaileanMac

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food for experiment...

Post by tomthehaggis » Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:07 am

great discussion which has given me lots to think about and try.

from my experience of CBRs so far (in sea kayaks), i admit that they are a little more tricky than a more 'simple' stroke such as forward paddling, in that it may be a bit unstable (with regard to the boat) sometimes (at first). however, at least when i have played with it, i felt it was more secure and safe from a body point of view, and no less effective than a normal bow rudder.

i look forward to my next opportunity to paddle in a sea kayak to play with it (Sunday, Anstruther) and river boats too (Saturday)

i will not go into any longer discussion about coaching/need/philosophy about the stroke as i think that everything i would have said has been said already...

happy paddling
Tom
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Post by Jim » Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:34 pm

Cross Bow Rudder forces you to use more trunk rotation than you are getting away with in bow rudders, so will be useful for developing extra range applicable to both strokes.

The reason it feels vulnerable is because you haven't done it before and they are big muscles resisting it. If you spend the time to retrain them the vulnerable feeling will evaporate and the muscles will be much happier and more useful in the stroke, and in other strokes.

(I presume, having not spent much time on them myself).

Jim

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Post by andreadawn » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:30 am

CaileanMac wrote:generating internal feedback
Jargon for "being sick"?

Andrea.

ps Best wishes for your Pesda project Cailean. My favourite part of Scotland, so look forward to seeing the end product.

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