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PostPosted: June 9th, 2005, 8:23 pm 
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I want to challenge the idea of never switch. I had a hunch that I could power upstream better switching than doing the J, as a solo paddler. Today I put it to a test. There is a place where water rushes under a foot bridge. I tried first to paddle up under the bridge using the J. All I could do was hold my place. I then started switching every three of four strokes, and what do you know, I started gaining ground and made it under the bridge.


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 Post subject: Old switch sides eh?
PostPosted: June 9th, 2005, 9:19 pm 
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For some this is a touchy subject. There are those that believe that there are moves that should be preformed on your “on” side for both safety and convenience. A ferry could very well be one of these moves. The biggest problem I see is people using improper strokes. For example, instead of using a “J” stroke use a “pinch” or better yet a “river J” (AKA Goon Stroke). Done properly the River J is a very strong and fast stroke. Even better, a carving stroke will allow you to paddle forward without a correction. As for off side ferries I would try to promote a proper “Cross forward Stroke” along with a carving action. This is easier said than done I realize but, with practice it is very efficient. What switching sides will doe is undermine your confidence to make off side moves when there are absolutely needed. I have also found that the switch will take longer when you are in the middle of a rapid. There is also the problem of what to do when you over correct? Now you must switch sides again to correct your angle. On the subjects of ferries, you may want to look for river features to aid your ferry. A small wave (as small as 6”) will allow the boat to front surf across the river with little effort.

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PostPosted: June 9th, 2005, 10:18 pm 
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Scott-
What I did today was a test. I had no trouble holding my place in the current doing the J. I also tried it with the correction in the bow on the recovery. Either way, all I could do is hold my place, but not move forward. I then went to switching sides. I moved side to side some, but I made a net gain forward and paddled up through the fast water. As for cross forward strokes- they don't deliver much power. It is much better to switch if you really want to get somewhere. I suggest you try what I did. Maybe it helps that I have done some racing using the Hut method and am able to switch quickly and efficiently.


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PostPosted: June 9th, 2005, 10:38 pm 
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It almost sounds like you are trying attainment moves. Attainment moves are strategic ferries and raw power moves that can get you up river. If this is the case then the best way is to read the river features. By using the features you can reduce the amount of work required.
If you are using flat-water equipment and strokes than perhaps switching sides is best for you. A white water boat and a little practice can produce a reasonable amount of power on your off side. The trick is that you need to practice. It uses muscles not ordinarily used when paddling.
The real secret to paddling is to do what is combatable for you. When you see someone doing something you cannot and wonder why, it is time to question your technique or ability. At this time you are ready to learn something new. I, by no means, know everything but I am willing to try new things and to listen to those more experienced than I. The best way to get this advice is to take a coarse.

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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 11:13 am 
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Scott's pretty much nailed the descriptions for what should work. When I'm teaching white water courses I enourage students to concentrate on good technique without switching because there's some "air time" involved in switching that puts a paddler in a position where they can't do a brace. I have no problem with them changing sides in an eddy to set up for a move but I prefer it if they retain their hand position once underway. Regardless of how fast you are at switching, Murphy's Law pretty much guarantees that the time you'll most need to do a brace is the exact moment when your paddle is being swithced from one hand to the other. John, if you're being more successful by switching, it's a pretty fair assumption that there's some room for improvement in technique - you should be able to be about 90-95% as effective by remaining on your prefered side as you could be by alternating. As Scott points out, comfort is an important part of running white water and if the switching is what works best for you then that's what you should do. If you can find the patience to continue working on refining your technique without swithcing though, it'll pay dividends in the long run.


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 12:10 pm 
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I generally agree. One should stay on one side for most maneuvers. But, there are times when I must agree with John. For example. you are sitting in an eddy and you plan to ferry out across the eddy line and then pound it up the face of the current to catch the next eddy above the one you are in. It's great when you can "ride the elevator" ferry to another eddy and ride that one up stair step up the river. But when the eddys are parallel abross the river....these chutes are generally shallow, rocky bottomed and the water is really humming. I don't care how fast you can J, you can't get enough of the paddle in the water to be able to keep course without making a longer correction. This is futile... My J is generally as short as anyones... but here, I just switch sides and climb the current and then ferry into the eddy above. Sure there is the risk that you won't have a brace... but you don't have a brace when you do a cross stroke either.

I think there are places, especially when climbing chutes that switching sides is probably the only way to make the attainment. The other place where switching sides is useful is when doing certain surfs... especially side surfs in rollers.

PK

PK


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 12:21 pm 
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pknoerr wrote:
but you don't have a brace when you do a cross stroke either.


It's a low percentage move, but I've pulled off a cross draw low brace successfuly a few times. It's one of those moves that requires the planets being aligned etc. to succeed, but I figure you might as well try as you're headed down for the count anyway and there's nothing lost in giving it a shot. If that one fails, there's always the face brace, but I can't recall a time when that's ever put me back upright again :-).


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 2:16 pm 
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Thanks to Scott, Rolf and PK for replying.
"best way is to read the river features" - Scott Well Scott I read river features all the time when working my way upstream and make use of every little variant in the current. But there are times when only raw power will get you where you need to go.

"switching that puts a paddler in a position where they can't do a brace" - Rolf. I can think of a lot of situations where I don't need a brace, but I need all of the forward power I can muster.

" if you're being more successful by switching, it's a pretty fair assumption that there's some room for improvement in technique"- Rolf, pehaps my technique could be refined, but the basic fact is that correction strokes slow momentum, that is why Eugene Jensen invented the Hut technique. The next time you are out on some fast smooth water, find a spot where it is all you can do to maintain your place.. Then go to switching, I am willing to bet you will go forward.

The bottom line is that if I am stuck on an island with a dangerous drop below me and a fast current on either side, I'm going to bet my life on switching. In paddling up river I have found too many times where I am treading water doing the J, and when I go to switching I move ahead.


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 2:30 pm 
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John Marshall wrote:
The next time you are out on some fast smooth water, find a spot where it is all you can do to maintain your place.. Then go to switching, I am willing to bet you will go forward.

That's one bet you'd loose :-). I'm 55 years old and I've been paddling since I was a kid. I've spent that time really refining my ability to get the most out of paddling without switching sides, I've spent very little time refining an abilty to Hut. I can guarantee you that I'd get farther in the water by holding the paddle in a paddling on left side of boat position than I would switching back and forth regardless of what you stuck me in. What would be a more fair comparison would be to have someone like PK attempt that experiment or meet me on a river somewhere and have us both attemp the same stretch of water in the same canoe. In that situation you might be able to pull ahead of me, but I wouldn't recommend putting money on it :-)


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 3:22 pm 
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John I`m a little confused...... yes there is merit to the Hut in current but you`ve posted this question under moving water. White water and current are more or less at two different ends of a spectrum. If proper technique is used with the forward stroke and in combination with a stern pry and the boat carving the correct ferry angle, then staying on one side will remain the optimum method. Its time tested by the best in the world, do you ever see Olympic C1 slalom paddlers doing the hut ???? :wink:

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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 3:27 pm 
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That's one bet you'd loose . Rolf
Well Rolf, I won't make that bet. There are reasons why one person might attain more forward momentum switching and another might not. If your stroke is decidedly stronger on one side than on the other you would be better to do the J. If you are not well practiced in switching it would take too much time. I normally do the J or the Canadian, but if I really need to put the pedal to the metal I switch. I took up the switch when I got into racing. We have a race here called Ridge to River which involves four miles of swift Class I water with waves to two feet and eddy lines followed by four miles of flat water. There is a woman's team that wins their division every year. The stern paddler is a friend and she told me her goal is to do the entire course without ever doing a correction stroke, as correction strokes have such a negative effect on forward speed. It took me a while to learn to switch efficiently, but I would guess that I can switch considerable quicker than it takes to do one forward stroke with a J on the end. No doubt your J is better than my J Rolf and I wish you would come out here and demonstrate.


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 3:47 pm 
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Alan Greve Wrote: "John I`m a little confused...... yes there is merit to the Hut in current but you`ve posted this question under moving water. '

Alan- To me Moving Water can be white water, or simply swift water, and the canoeist could be moving downriver, accross river or upriver. In general I would agree that switching while moving downriver is a bad idea, but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about moving up river or accross river when the current pretty well matches the canoeist forward speed. As to your olympic slalom paddler analogy, it does not fit what I am talking about, as slalom is always done moving with the current and involves a lot of turning, rather than going in more or less a straight line.


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 4:11 pm 
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John front ferries are used all the time in slaloms when using front ferries from one eddy over to another. But to stay on track we`ll stay away from slalom paddling.


John I was referring to front ferries as well, but as I stated the hut has merit in current ( only ). But only in current where there is no white water to deal with.

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PostPosted: June 10th, 2005, 10:00 pm 
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John Marshall wrote:
No doubt your J is better than my J Rolf and I wish you would come out here and demonstrate.


I rarely use a J stroke, especially if I need to get somewhere quickly. Doing the correction part of the J takes a long time and wastes forward momentum. Instead I concentrate on little things like keeping the paddle vertical through as much of the power phase by adding some body motion, getting the paddle a little under the canoe to reduce turning and doing an agressive but short snap at the end to correct. All that can add a lot of forward speed. I can see where you'd want to be switching sides doing a long stretch of paddling at speed going upstream. I've done a little marathon racing but can't say I ever enjoyed it. Doing "huts" just feels foreign to me.

Where is "here" John?


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2005, 9:27 am 
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Alan Greve wrote:
John front ferries are used all the time in slaloms when using front ferries from one eddy over to another. But to stay on track we`ll stay away from slalom paddling.


OK, I'm still envisioning John doing attainments by climbing current as opposed to using a ferry to move translational across the current or to maintain position in current. In both of those situations I would never switch.

Now I've climbed current both using short forward strokes combined with J corrections and by paddling several strokes on one side and switching to the other. Both seem to work especially if the water is deep.... but the high cadence switching sides without the correction is especially effective if the jet of current is shallow.

PK


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