MIKCO Rough Water Symposium
It is Friday and this is the first true day of the symposium. All the participants and coaches have arrived, including a great group of pros from England. Maine Island Kayak company, Nigel Dennis Kayaks, and Kayak Waveology are leading the organizations at this years event. The event represents a great opportunity to not just gain instruction, but to also meet with other folks that are just as passionate about kayaking as I am.
Today I opted to go with Nigel's group that was focused on Core Paddling. While at first this may seem silly for someone paddling around North America, I decided that I spend 90% of my time paddling straight and I really need to perfect that area of my 'game'. So Nigel spent the first part of the morning talking about strokes, paddles, and the affects that these have on your overall paddle performance. We then had the opportunity to go out on the water and have our stroke video taped first w/o any instruction and then after a brief critique, we were filmed again. During the lunch break we then had the opportunity to review the film and hear the critique of our before and after strokes.
I had always known that I was not a fast paddler, often falling behind any group I am with. I am however steady and strong so it has never really been an issue. On the Atlantic Odyssey, I have come to realize that my logic was flawed, and that by perfecting my stroke as well as using the right paddle and paddle length, I could dramatically increase my performance (miles/speed) with no additional energy output. In fact you could make the argument that by properly executing the stroke with the correct equipment, all things being equal, I could actually reduce my energy output. This hit me like a rock upside the head today and I realized that I really needed to work on this.
Well, after the instruction, video, and trying different paddles, I now have the knowledge to begin correcting things and hopefully improve my paddling efficiency. Like any change, this can be painful to do. Our bodies become mechanically trained and when we want to change things it often proves frustrating and physically painful. Luckily I have some time to work on this and look forward to the challenge of improving my stroke.
I also have some great sponsorships to announce but will wait until tomorrow when things are finalized to spread the word. In the meantime, I encourage everyone who is really into kayaking to attend a symposium or find a local coach and really work on perfecting your stroke. What a huge difference this makes in happy paddling.