technique

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 15:17 | Category : Latest Surfski News

The year: 2004. The place: Fish Hoek Beach in a howling southeaster. Dawid Mocke says to me, “Go paddle upwind for a while.” So, I did. Quite a way upwind. Eventually I turned around and surfed the runs back to Fish Hoek. Dawid met me at the beach. “What happened to you?” he yelled. “The lesson’s finished now!” And that was my introduction to Surfski School…

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 13:40 | Category : Latest Surfski News

[Editor: This is the first of what I hope will be many "Tuesday Tips" from Stewart O'Regan, mad Irish-Aussie and Think Kayak's agent in Australia...!]  Here's Stew: If I had a dollar for every time I get asked what grip tape I use, why I use it etc etc, well I might not have the resources to retire, but I’d certainly be better off!

Friday, 16 February 2018 11:30 | Category : Videos

Clearly I'm late to the game; this video was posted in March 2017 and has been watched over 51,000 times as at February 2018!  But if you haven't seen it; it's very highly recommended for anyone who wants to improve their technique...  

The coach is Ivan Lawler.  Ivan is a renowed British canoeist; he:

  • Specialised in marathon paddling, winning five gold and two silver medals in world championships in a career that spanned 1988 to 1989
  • Won a silver and a gold medal in K2 sprint medal in the 10,000m in 1989 and 1990 respectively
  • Competed in three summer Olympics in sprint.
  • Now owns and operates the company Ultimate Kayaks, selling boats (Epic Kayaks and Nelo) and paddles.  He also coaches and provides insightful and entertaining commentary at marathon and surfski events!

Peak Paddle Performance Podcast

I heard about this video on the latest Peak Paddle Performance podcast, which I thoroughly recommend.  The podcast is hosted by Nick Murray who runs TC Surfski in the USA.  Click here for a full list of the podcasts - they're also highly recommended and comprise a series of interviews with the likes of:

  • Oscar Chalupsky
  • Carter Johnson
  • Austin Keiffer
  • Sean Rice
  • Boyan Zlatarev
  • Pat Langley 

...and many more.  They're all entertaining, they're all instructive.  Download them from the website, or subscribe to "Peak Paddle Performance Podcast" wherever you get your podcasts. 

Now watch the video!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 09:37 | Category : Videos

A few days after winning "Ze Caribbean Race", here's Oscar coaching a couple of paddlers (including his boss) on downwind technique.

I've had the enormous pleasure of paddling a number of times with Oscar in doubles on our beloved Miller's Run downwind route here in Cape Town, and I can say with all honesty that it's been a revelation and inspirational every time.

As you can see (and hear, as he barks at his pupils!), Oscar's basic mantra is to paddle early and stop paddling early and work with the energy of the waves.  On many other occasions (although he doesn't mention it in this video) he's described taking a couple of "explosive" power-strokes to get onto the run.  

Don't try to catch every run

When I paddled doubles with him, I was astonished at how many waves he didn't take: he has an uncanny ability to feel whether the wave is the right one or not.  If not, he lets it roll under him, taking the next one (or the one after that).  But more often then not, he then pops back over the one or two that he discarded, making up the distance and more.  This kind of skill takes time in the boat to acquire - at the beginning of a downwind career, the novice tries too hard, fails to get over too many runs, using too much energy - but you learn over time how to use the least amount of power to catch the run and then to milk it for all the energy it contains.

Scanning

Another of Oscar's mantras is too keep scanning 45 degrees either side of your course, looking for the next dip in the water, or the next shoulder of the wave in front.  Frequently he'll steer a kind of S-curve, turning left or right, keeping the speed up, before turning back onto the wave.  

If you ever get the chance to ride doubles with Oscar (or any of the other top downwind elites), don't hesitate!  You'll learn more in five minutes than you can imagine - and you'll be inspired to get straight back out to try it for yourself.

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