Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The little GP

Last summer my kid was 4 years old. I sat him in the front hatch, gave him the spare paddle and we went paddling. After that I started a quest to get him a shorter, lighter paddle, with small blades so the paddling motions would be easier for him. After all he was not supposed to paddle but enjoy the ride. I could not find anything in a reasonable price so I decided to carve a Greenland paddle for him.

My crafting skills are not good but I gave it a go anyway. After a lot of cursing for getting into that kind of ‘enterprise’ I finished a nice mini storm paddle. I had decided that the paddle would be a nice tool to practice Greenland rolls, a half way between a normal paddle and the hands.
The small carved and my normal paddles besides my kid meter
The water has finally reached a temperature that I feel nice so a couple of weeks ago we went with my wife and kid to a nearby beach inside the bay. I took the kayak, the new mini GP (Greenland paddle) and the small PFD for my little one along with all the paraphernalia I normally take for paddling plus all the stuff my wife takes to go to the beach... the car was so packed that it looked we were changing residence!!! Once at the beach I practiced some rolling with the small GP. While resting from rolling my kid and I went for a spin or I hung out with both of them until it was time to do some more practice. I must say that the paddle was a success for my kid who wants to paint it with colors...

Enjoying the new paddle.
All the time using the carved paddle, I started with normal sweep roll specially to practice my offside. Then I did some balance brace, butterfly and forward finishing rolls. The short paddle with very small blades doesn’t give much support and forces you to use proper body movements. Some of the rolls I never fail with my normal paddle I failed miserably with the mini GP.

Nice decoration of the roof
As I didn’t spend more than 15 minutes in a row rolling before resting on the beach, by to the end of the afternoon I didn’t feel tired but my muscles were very relaxed and stretched. At that point I managed to do two things I hadn’t managed before: recover from the balance brace without the help of the paddle and then encouraged by that I tried the hand roll and I did it!!! Not very useful but a nice exercise and good show off J

Below are the videos that I got in order to correct technique, I have edited out all the non rolling parts and added some music to make them a bit less boring. If you watch them ( and don't fall asleep half way J) and feel that you can tell me something to improve my rolling technique please do. I know there are good rollers out there that can contribute with a little piece of advice.

 Standard Rolling: the times I fail it is either because I am not leaning back or I am lifting my body before the kayak.

Sculling Brace and Butterfly roll: the sculling on my left is horrible I can't manage to stay there comfortably but I don't know what I need to improve... Similarly with the butterfly for the same side

Storm and reverse sweep roll: I am not sure about this but I think the problem is that I am not facing "sideways" with my chest.

Chest sculling: Unknown territory for me, but a few days after this I borrowed a full length GP and I had no problem sculling...

Static brace and hand roll: I am happy with what I got and no idea how to improve it.