This is a complex subject that merits substantial discussion... but here's an image to get us started:
Hackworth wrote:I know we've been here before, but here's something I posted a while back on the subject of hit and switch:
Also, as the esteemed George Oliver reminds me., you need to keep the paddle as near upright as possible in the catch to minimise turning effect:
0) Normally the logo points forward. The main advantage of bent shafts (debated here at length a while ago) is that for short paddle strokes the blade is on average more vertical, and so more effective, and there is a minimum of pulling down.
1) Try to have the paddle enter as far forward as you can without leaning or straining. I use my toes as a benchmark, though this will be different for different people/boats
2) At the end of the stroke try to pull the paddle out of the water early, by the time your elbow passes your hip - otherwise it's inefficient, and you also pull the boat down into the water
3) Try to make the stroke straight back - i.e. don't follow the shape of the boat or you will make it turn away from the paddle more, which is what you're trying to avoid
4) Top hand about level with your nose in the power phase
5) Don't lean forward and backward in the stroke. A slight forward lean, drop the paddle side shoulder a little as the paddle enters the water, then pull back with a modest shoulder/torso twist. Don't make the boat plunge with the violence of the movement - it should all be really smooth and easy.
6) Edging works well, but the best way to catch deviations from the straight and narrow is anticipation and a couple of extra strokes that side. Although I said pull straight above, obviously if you want the boat to go away from the paddle more you can follow the shape of the boat, put in a pitch stroke, or J stroke or whatever
7) Following in from 6) if you're far off line it's often better to put in one real correction than strain with 20 hard paddle strokes on one side
8) Remember to bear down with the top hand in the power stroke
9) Get a clean catch at the beginning of the stroke. A lot of burbling and swooshing and splashing in the power phase means you're pulling on air, not water and that's a big waste of energy.
10) Bear in mind that wind combined with trim can have a HUGE effect on direction. If you're weight is backwards (i.e. bow up) and you're paddling into a stiff diagonal wind, then that's going to be hard
11) When assessing the wind, remember to mentally add your forward speed!
12) Lower hand - interesting, this seems to be a matter of personal preference! I have mine about a hand's width clear of the water to get a slightly longer stroke
13) If you want to go well with this sort of paddle you MUST brace your feet against something, or you'll end up with backache
14) Try to time strokes very neatly with your partner. It's very wasteful if you're out of synch.
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