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Dan, how’s your kayak shopping going?
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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

7/26/19 9:11 AM

Moving low brace

It may refer to something like this, a low brace turn done while moving, and in fact after building speed. Tom mentioned a climbing paddle angle several times, which comes in at the end of this technique:

https://paddling.com/learn/low-brace-turn/

I know this is all elementary, but I’m in pre-school!

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17462
Location: Portland, OR

7/26/19 12:24 PM

" but I’m in pre-school!"

I am still chromosomes...

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

7/26/19 1:01 PM

That may be what Tom meant, but like April, I'm not familiar with the exact term "low moving brace", either. However, "low brace turn" is commonly understood to mean what the article shows, so I suspect that if that's what Tom meant, that's what he would have said. It seems most likely that he's encouraging you to try to learn something about low bracing before going out on "textured" water, as you're probably going to be doing a fair amount of it.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

7/26/19 1:40 PM

yeah

I think he wants me to learn about bracing to lessen the chances I dump the boat, and specifically to brace while moving as opposed to stationary (which is how most videos demonstrate it). I'm guessing movement adds the factor of a climbing blade angle as opposed to just putting the blade down flat. But I'm probably wrong, though I'll find out soon enough. I think we'll be doing this next week.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

8/2/19 4:31 PM

Moving along

Very helpful session today, out with Tom for a bit over 2 hours, learned a lot. One thing, which I think seems to explain some of my previous kayak experience, is that I loosen up over time, so a fit that seemed great when I was cold was way off after I had been out an hour or so. With all my funky leg, knee and back issues, things change. So a cockpit fit that seemed tight at the start was loose after an hour or so. And when it got loose I had no leverage from my legs, which affected my back position and led to back pain. An adjustment mid-paddle made a big difference. Tom thought that after I loosened up, I could push my butt further back, so I had no leg leverage.

That notwithstanding, the paddle was really fun. The thing he liked about me is that I don’t really care about waves (at least what I’ve seen so far). A couple times he said “well, you’re not afraid of waves.” Which I’m not, at least so far (I’m sure there are conditions which will scare me Sh*tless).

We did some surfing, which was fun.

His recommendation is a hybrid Surf which he has in his warehouse, and I am going to look this over on the internet, then if I give him the OK he will pull it and I’ll go out for a fitting session. I could also order a custom one, but that obviously will take longer. I will probably OK this boat. I think the Surf is still probably the right boat, as when I found the Classic to too small last week, it was at the end of the day and I was loosened up.

He thinks foam is probably still better than pegs, but maybe two chunky pieces with the middle open so I can stretch my legs. Plus a need to build up seatback support to keep my pelvis rotated forward. That is also probably a chunk of foam.

I asked Tom about the “inconsistent workmanship” of NDKs that Brian had mentioned, and he said he would be even less polite, but that was a period in the past and the quality was now good. Plus he said he has the say on warranty issues, they have never gone against him.

Tom is an interesting guy. He also does motorcycle racing, cliff diving, stuff like that, plus he used to be a lawyer!

I think maybe next year I will take some of his more intensive courses.

Because of my various issues, I am really glad I am working with him. I think if I had just bought a kayak at a typical store or 1/2 day demo, I could have ended up with something that didn’t work with no idea why. That’s not a criticism of them, just my unique situation.

I’m glad April’s post inspired me to move forward with this, it is really cool. Thanks April!

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

8/2/19 5:00 PM

Your experience is not all that unusual. If you're not used to paddling, you're using muscles in new ways and it takes time to adapt. Once you're paddling on a reasonably regular basis, the fitting situation will resolve itself.

I'm in the process of getting our boats "ship shape" again, so we can hit the water. I'm expecting to be quite stiff and somewhat uncomfortable until I get back into the swing of things.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17462
Location: Portland, OR

8/2/19 5:03 PM

Considering that IMO it takes a good 10k of road riding from a beginner to evolve to the 'position', Sounds like this may be similar for personal water craft?

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

8/3/19 9:02 AM

Yes, it's very similar. As I eluded to previously, being a cyclist actually makes it more difficult to paddle initially, due to the short hamstrings that cyclists typically develop. It's also common to experience soreness in your hip flexors from paddling, as well as the more paddling-specific muscles like the abdominals and obliques. I've also had issues with wrist, elbow and shoulder soreness.

It's going to be "interesting" to see what happens when we get back on the water.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

8/3/19 10:33 AM

Pulled the trigger

Agree with Brian that the only way to make progress is to start paddling. I won’t solve anything by watching YouTube videos for 8 months before I get in a boat again. So I will go with the hybrid surf, provided Tom thinks it’s OK after pulling it from the warehouse. Not cheap, but hey, I’m worth it. :)

If you scroll down it’s the blue and yellow surf hybrid.

http://maineislandkayak.com/boat-store/ndks/romany/

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17462
Location: Portland, OR

8/3/19 10:45 AM

" Not cheap, but hey, I’m worth it."

Agree, we say that alot, mostly about food. We are at new seasons picking up 25lb fresh albacore as i type this.

Enjoy that toy, be hard not too pretty much...

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lrzipris
Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 436
Location: Doylestown, PA

8/3/19 5:00 PM

It may be the different muscles thing Brian is talking about or something mental, but I find a mix of cycling and kayaking quite enjoyable. Some days I see how I feel when I wake up--bike or kayak?

Yes, Dan, enjoy the new toy. Your story about how careful Tom is reminds me of when I bought my first bike as an adult. I was at a highly regarded local shop, and the major fit guy was talking a novice out of a terribly expensive bike--"You don't need all that, why not start with X, then you can always upgrade if you stay with cycling." And it was clear that he was not angling for another sale in the near future. I remember being impressed with his honesty; Tom sounds similar in making sure you get the right boat.


Last edited by lrzipris on 8/4/19 12:37 PM; edited 1 time in total

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

8/3/19 8:19 PM


quote:
If you scroll down it’s the blue and yellow surf hybrid.

Check with Tom to see if he has any matching gelcoat for that hull. The reason that most kayaks have white hulls is that other colors can be exceedingly hard to match when you have to repair them (trust me, you will). One of my boats has a light gray hull and even than is hard to match.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

8/4/19 5:18 AM

Gelcoat etc.

Thanks Brian, I’ll check the color gelcoat issue. One of Tom’s catch phrases is “gelcoat is a sacrificial layer.” He has others like “kayaking is a core sport” and “kayaking is a deep sport” (when adding seamanship to technique).

Roy, I agree, and Brian has mentioned in the past, that the 2 sports complement each other well. Cyclists of course are known for having no abs or upper body strength....

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17462
Location: Portland, OR

8/4/19 9:29 AM

"Cyclists of course are known for having no abs or upper body strength"

Only of they stay on he saddle all the time... I find climbing standing quite core building, honking on the bar in sprints also. Both VG isometric upper body building.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

8/7/19 12:21 PM

Fit session

Out on the island for a few hours this morning getting the boat fitted. Quite a process, it definitely now is a custom ride, with custom foam padding on the bulkhead replacing foot pegs, custom thigh and hip pads, and a big chunk of foam replacing the back band. I sat and got in and out of the boat on the lawn while Tom cut various versions of the pads. It felt great at the end and I think particularly the back piece will help as I need some support to sit upright with the pelvis rotated properly. He thought it looked pretty good as in that position I could rock the boat pretty easily with my hips.

I'll get my car rack system set up in a couple days and then meet him in Portland to pick it up. The boat has a compass installed in the front which I think is cool. I'll get a paddle from him and he says just bring it back if you want something else.

He's spent about 10 hours with me at this point, and I doubt there will be any separate charge for that, and he even said he'd discount a bit. I may want to pay him more than I'm charged!

I mentioned Brian and April (not by name) had made some comments and he asked what they paddled, and I said Valleys and that Brian had a Pintail, and he said then Brian would know what he's talking about and I should listen to him...:)

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

8/8/19 7:13 AM

That's too funny!

Pintails are not considered to be beginner's boats, so I guess he's just assuming a certain level of competence. In my case, that could be dangerous! ;-)

Having done a fair amount of kayak outfitting and running outfitting clinics, I can fully appreciate the service that Tom has provided to you. You've confirmed every good thing I've heard about him. One of these days, I'll have to get up there and spend some time with him.

Speaking of Pintails, I need to repair the deck rigging on mine this week so it's ready for the water. I did our other three 'glass boats last weekend. Now we have no excuses not to paddle, other than that Linda is coming up here Saturday, to do an agility trial with the dog this Sunday, which is an all-day affair. I'll be there shooting photos and video.

I'll be starting a new contract on Monday, but we plan to hit the water next weekend.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

8/22/19 1:50 PM

Got it

Met Tom at the ferry terminal this morning, got the boat loaded onto my Thule rack, got home without incident (turnpike speed), got it off the car and into the garage.

Have a couple Celtic paddles to try out, various other accessories. Just ordered a cockpit cover as my garage is more like a barn with a dirt floor and critters, and I don't want them eating my custom foam pads. Ordered a skirt.

I can carry the boat OK on my shoulder, but not looking to do that very far.

Tom basically charged retail for the boat and gear and nothing for the demo, fitting, etc. He said if he didn't do the fitting etc. he'd knock something off the retail price. Hell of a deal IMHO.

Hope to get in the water this weekend (flat, nothing too challenging).

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

8/22/19 4:55 PM

Cool! Have fun and be safe.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

9/1/19 10:39 AM

Maiden voyage

I got a cold last weekend, so I just paddled the boat for the first time. About 10 miles on a flat but beautiful river, 5 down and 5 back, figured I’d start slow and get used to stuff without being technically challenged.

The boat worked great. Best thing is the custom padding and supports. I could sit upright comfortably, with my back loose, and maintain good contact with the cockpit. My back got a bit sore after an hour and a half or so, but it was not stiff and did not interfere with paddling. So I think it was just being in an unfamiliar position for that time. When I got out of the boat, my back was fine and in fact feels looser and better than usual. This is a big plus as I have had back issues in some past kayaking which really interfered with function.

As with the last time I paddled, the cockpit got t a bit “bigger” after awhile, probably as my body loosened up. But I was still able to maintain good contact, and I have another piece of foam I can add to the bulkhead if I need to.

I paddled pretty much nonstop with no arm fatigue, so while I’m sure my technique sucks, at least I’m not tiring out the muscles.

This is really fun. What I reallly need to work on is getting out of the boat after a couple hours. I flopped sideways, but got the job done....

I have my transport system down after some trial and error. I started with folding J-racks, which work fine but are a bit challenging for one person to load. You have to get the boat up from the side and over some lips on the racks. Sort of a clean and jerk with a 16’ boat. I could do it, but did not look forward to it. After some research I got some Thule DockGlide racks which you load from the rear, sliding the boat in. Much easier for me and also easy to strap down securely.

So I think I got a great benefit by going through the demo/fitting process with Tom and look forward to lots more paddling.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17462
Location: Portland, OR

9/1/19 1:23 PM

"Sort of a clean and jerk with a 16’ boat. "

I pulled my back reading that...

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

9/1/19 6:15 PM

Ease of loading and unloading boats...

...is just one reason that you should always paddle with a partner (or several). ;-)

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

9/2/19 4:29 PM

Always have a partner

Well I’m sure there is safety in numbers, but if I only paddle with a partner, I won’t paddle very much. I don’t really know anyone who sea kayaks regularly. For now I am comfortable kayaking alone on the flat river, I canoed up and down that for years. I will not venture very far offshore unless I am with others and/or know a lot more than I do now. I did sign up for a sea kayak “meetup” which seems to be pretty active so maybe that will be productive. I will be the rank rookie, but I guess you have to start somewhere.

My legs didn’t feel tired after the paddle yesterday, but they do today! I went out for an easy ride today and it took me an hour before I had any legs. Starting to notice that you use the opposite arm to push, as well as the legs, on the paddle stroke.

The hardest part for me is getting out of the boat at the end. Thule should make a hoist. Got to work on that.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

9/3/19 4:49 AM

You do use your legs while paddling, but beware of anyone that tells you that you should be pushing hard with your opposing leg during a paddle stroke. A typical paddle stroke only applies around 10 pounds of force to the water. All your legs need to do is to resist that force. Pushing any harder only drives you into your backband, resulting in a sore back and often sore feet for people who use footpegs in their boats (I know you don't). It produces zero extra propulsion (it's equivalent to pushing straight down on your pedals at the bottom of the stroke). Some folks will spout off about racers using "leg drive", but they have boats with pivoting/sliding seats that allow their hips to rotate. It's completely irrelevant to sea kayaks with fixed seats.

In boats set up for Greenland-style paddling, your legs are straight and the force of paddling is countered by your leg bones, with no muscle effort required.

You definitely should be pushing with your upper hand during the stroke, but make sure your hand is relaxed. The pressure from the stroke will cause your fingers to naturally curl around the paddle shaft and that's all you need. Gripping the paddle can lead to wrist pain and forcing your hand open just puts unnecessary tension in the back of your hand without any benefit. Your fingers should be completely relaxed.

Your lower hand essentially just hooks the paddle as you pull it rearward. The paddle blade will orient itself in the water without any significant input. Again, gripping tightly can cause wrist pain.

Being relaxed is the key to an efficient paddle stroke. If I stopped mid-stroke, my paddle would literally fall from my hands unless I intentionally grabbed it. Of course, rough water conditions, bracing, rolling, rudder strokes and such are going to require some extra control, but your default should be to use the minimum grip effort necessary to complete the task.

As for paddling alone, I've done the same type of solo, calm river paddling and some on local ponds and lakes, but I don't recall if I've ever paddled open coast solo. I was fortunate to hook up with a local club early on and always had people to paddle with on the weekends. That's how Lind and I met, and I now have a permanent paddling partner. I'm not sure what clubs there are in southern Maine, but the North Shore Paddler's Network (nspn.org) out of the Boston area has several members in your general area. I would check their trip calendar and also post that you're looking for paddling partners.

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dan emery
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 6278
Location: Maine

9/3/19 1:32 PM

Thanks

That's all very helpful. I think I'm pretty relaxed, and it's good to know leg drive adds nothing. I just sort of fiddled with that a bit.

I have paddles with 650 and 700 blades to choose from. Haven't used the 700 yet, but I think the 650 is probably fine. And feather or not, I guess I just experiment.

I joined the Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network, this weekend they're going about 10 miles around a couple islands, I think that's maybe a little ambitious for me currently. Think I'll need to brush up on self-rescue before venturing too far out (I did a paddle float self-rescue in a Bean's class a couple years ago, but hardly mastered it...).

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4498
Location: Nashua, NH

9/4/19 4:54 AM

My personal opinion is that feathered paddling offers very few benefits for sea kayakers. It was developed to help slalom whitewater competitors clear gates easier and somehow got transferred to sea kayaking. IMO, the only reason it's still around is that old-school instructors still teach it.

It makes learning to paddle, brace and roll more difficult, as it requires much more thought and effort to ensure that the blade angle is correct. For many people, it causes wrist problems. It also makes a paddle less predictable in wind, as the changing angle of the upper blade will cause it to dart in one direction or the other. It compromises your stability by allowing side winds to catch the paddle blade (compared to an unfeathered paddle). I could go on, but I think you get the point, which is that there's really no point in bothering to learn to paddle feathered.

You'll find plenty of people who will argue otherwise, but I've yet to find a logical argument for it for sea kayakers.

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