Two days ago I went paddling with a friend I met not long ago. He has been doing it for way longer than I have; a full five months versus my two months I have a Mont-Bell Ellsmere 480 (15.75’x22.8”) no rudder, he has the Ellsmere 530 (17.4’x24”) with rudder. We both use Greenland-style paddles. We started an hour before low tide on fairly strong winds coming from land, enough for a decent amount of white caps and washing machine-type of environment because of all the rock formations that we were supposed to steer clear of but didn’t (please leave that one alone for now).
Long story short he can’t keep up. We switch paddles; his actually has more resistance than mine so I can push my boat faster (albeit with more effort). On the way back we switched boats. His is a bit harder to paddle, but I can make it go even faster than mine, with either his paddle or mine. So we started talking about technique.
Based on books, videos, the internet, and anything else I could read/see, I think I’m learning how to do it by keeping the following in mind:
- - Keeping the paddle low. I try to keep my knuckles at/bellow eye level.
- - Short strokes, starting a hair pass knee level, out by the end of my hip. In fact every stroke has the aim of preserving effort, more with less and all that.
- - Foremost, I try to disturb the water as little as possible. I practice hard to get the paddle in without a ripple, stroke smoothly without currents or bubbles, and out in the same fashion. When I practice in calm waters, my goal is to see how hard/fast I can sustain the cadence where I can only hear the drip of the water falling from the paddle.
Was it good advice or did I doomed him to failure?