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Sitting vs. Kneeling stance & stroke implications...

What we want do on the water and how we communicate it

Sitting vs. Kneeling stance & stroke implications...

Postby GregS » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:42 pm

The following was contrubted by Charlie Wilson on the Solotripping forum...

Sit and Switch verse Kneel and J/C/Power Forward

The choice is part hull shape, part paddler preference and expectation.

One can sit & Switch or Kneel and J almost anything, but there are preferred shapes for each. Dedicated sit and switch hulls are usually radically Swede-Form. The bow tends to stick, the stern to skid, and the amply rear also resists squatting in shallow water and many race courses have some shallow water. The rotational center is aft so S&S strokes don't torque the hull off course much; paddles are generally bent to move the +/- 10dg "Winters sweet spot" aft. The effective part of the S&S stroke isn't really shorter, but it occurs aft along the hull and closer to the paddlers body, allowing a higher cadence. S&S paddlers switch sides for fatigue relief and to make course corrections because the sticky bow won't draw. S&S is also a great way to give new paddlers some directional control while their paddle sensitivity grows. Most S&S hulls have extreme tumblehome with low "bubbles" to clear the paddler's hand with the short shaft lengths that work close to the body. As the paddler is sitting ~ low and stabilized by her sitz bones, heeling is proscribed, so volume above the bubble isn't needed. Stems tend to lay deep in the water, particularly the stern, to resist the uncorrected stroke's tendency to put the hull into yaw. All cool whether neophyte or an experienced paddler heading somewhere far in a hurry.

Hulls designed for kneeling technique tend to by more symmetrical, maybe even Fish-form. Rotational center is farther forward along the hull, but the paddler, rotating from her knees can move the catch and entire stroke further forward to square the straight shaft blade up to the stroke forward of the knees. Directional control and be affected at catch by inducing some C or bow draw into the catch and/or by drifting the blade aft of the +/- 10dg sweet spot to various forms of stern rudder; generally a pry or pushaway. With all the control/correction options, more rocker can be carried in the stems. More advanced skills allow a maneuver that skids the stern back in line and eliminates after stroke correction entirely. Another advanced technique, available due to the wide, stable stance in the hull that spread knees provide is heeling the hull to lift the stems higher and improve turning rate. It makes sense to carry volume high for this use; it firms the heel as it progresses and lifts the stems higher.

So why the difference(s)?

Sit and Switch is both an entry level way to arrive at destination and an advanced opportunity to eliminate wasting energy in directional control and, through higher cadence, achieve very fast forward speeds.

Kneeling improves Pre-stroke control efforts and engages more muscles, so it becomes the choice of whitewater paddlers who do not wish to go over the pour-over backwards and upside down. It also improves stability because we can spread our knees wider than are issial spines are set. The reach and recovery to a J or pry before horizontal recovery slow cadence, so speed over distance is compromised.

Complete paddlers carry both straight and bent paddles and use both techniques as conditions and fatigue suggest.

See source.
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