Friday, March 28, 2008

Stroking Your Kayak

I picked up a copy of Doug Alderson's 2007 title Sea Kayak Strokes the other day. Now there are lots of 'how-to' books out there explaining what to do with your paddle while you're in your kayak, but I particularly like the approach this book takes. To begin with, there are lots and lots of pictures. Then there are lots of paddles used including the Greenland paddle. As I paddle with one, I found this refreshing.

Another nice addition to the usual explanation given in books, are some exercises to try out after each chapter description. These are useful for the beginning paddler who doesn't always have an instructor close by to say, "Ok, here are some thing to practice...". As someone who mostly had to learn to paddle from books and videos, I know what the beginner goes through trying to figure out how to paddle.

The book deals as well with bracing and rolling. I liked the way the two were presented in the book as a continuum, a low brace being a slight roll, and a full 360° roll being a complete brace. This fits in with my way of thinking about learning to roll where a person acquires a series of braces right up to a controlled capsize with a balance brace at the water's surface. Once at this stage, any roll can be turned into a balance brace or a sculling brace position and, from there, turned into a recovery to the upright position.

I'd recommend this book to anyone starting out, to teachers and to people like me, with lots more to learn.

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