WWR manual chapter 7

7.1 River Technique

“The most subtle of arts”, racing white water efficiently is a result of understanding and harmony with the river. This might sound a bit “hippyish” but the best white water exponents work with the river rather than battle against it. At its best WWR can be an expressive sport – where moves are executed with flamboyance and grace, which goes beyond the mere functional. It can be summed up in “it’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it”.

Why does the speed of two competitors making apparently the same line on the water differ so much? The answer lies in how much the paddler is able to apply their power and how they are utilising the river to achieve an aim.

The principle of good river technique is to maximise boat speed and maintain your best forward technique. This is generally achieved by making best use of the fastest water. Also, the aim is to minimise energy usage by reducing steering strokes and avoiding shallow water and obstacles, such as rocks, stoppers and drops, as much as possible.

To maintain boat speed using the water, you need to keep the boat parallel to the current line with the stern following the bow (i.e. not crabbing or slipping). With that basic principle in mind you then need to apply powerful strokes that are placed in the best, most powerful water to propel the boat forwards effectively and maintain control.

In general you should try and sit on the fastest current. This will give you the greatest boat speed, require the least steering and use the least energy. Only move from the fastest current if you’re sure there is a time saving by using a shorter line or you need to avoid an obstacle.

7.1.1 Timing Strokes - synergy with the waves

The ability to change stroke tempo to fit with the waves is the key skill to acquire. Almost every WWR skill and manoeuvre will flow from this core skill. The paddle is placed on the back of the wave – a strong leg drive along with torso twist is utilised to move the boat onto the top of the next wave (strong core conditioning really helps here!). Depending upon the wavelength it may be necessary to really reach for the next wave.

 

Video Clip 1: Rotate in waves - note how the boat speed and stability is lost when the paddle is placed in the trough of the wave.

 


This results in the boat being moved from wave crest to wave crest – instead of being driven down into the back of the waves. This gives a feel of a much lighter and manoeuvrable boat. As the ends are out of the water more frequently it’s relatively easy to introduce a change in direction into the normal flow of paddling.

Timing strokes can be a little tiring to start – as you do not have a regular cadence. A longer stroke may need to be followed by a couple of chopped short strokes.  

 

Video Clip 2: Note how Jonny matches the cadence of the waves when he needs to, and then whips the stroke rate up to his normal pace when possible.

 

 

Stability can be an issue in waves – it is important that your fittings are installed correctly for you (see boat fittings section) and the seat is fitted as low as possible. However timing strokes and rotating to grab the next wave in the chain will give a much more stable paddling platform as the blade is fully locked into the water. Typically the elbows will drop a little in white water to provide stability and steering, so an adaptive stoke is important.

7.1.2 Deep paddle strokes ("Wet Hands")


Related to timing strokes for manoeuvrability, a deep paddle stroke is important to ensure the blade is fully locked on to the water and to provide the purchase for rotation. The hand should just touch the water to make sure the blade is well buried.

Placing the blade in solid fast flowing water will allow you to use other parts of the body to steer or maintain control. Once you have locked a blade in the water, you have scope to use your feet, legs, hips and torso to adjust the direction of the boat, without having to do a sweep stroke.

7.1.3 Single stroke acceleration

Racing rivers is not a case of paddling like a Duracell bunny, with no change in cadence to match the river features – the most significant variation is the single stroke acceleration. This stroke utilises some very fast moving water – and allows the athlete to raise the boat speed to match that higher pace water. The paddle is seated firmly in the faster water and held onto, utilising a strong leg drive (and strong core muscles).

7.1.4 Right stroke right time

As with so much of river racing, timing is critical and many manoeuvres simply require the correct stroke to be executed at the right time. Waiting to put the stroke in at the correct time is not wasted time – the alternative is to miss the move. Top exponents will be able to time the sequence of strokes leading up so there is little break in the flow of paddle strokes – but the timing is still there.

7.2 Steering

The objective is to reduce steering by paddle strokes to a minimum. Steering strokes require more energy and are not contributing as effectively to propelling the boat forwards.

There are 2 key methods of steering a white water boat:

  • Shortened boat length
  • Flow differential/feature

 

7.2.1    Shortened length



By taking advantage of the when the ends of the boat are in the air, the WW boat becomes more manoeuvrable due to the reduced waterline length. The boat can then be “thrown” around onto a new line – this does require some strength, but most importantly timing – many top female exponents of WWR have been small and have been exceedingly accurate with their timing.

Shortened length turning can be used:

In waves – the bow is out of the water, and can be pushed onto a new line. This is the most common mechanism for changing direction.

Video Clip: Turning using waves, note the use of the second steering stroke to straighten the boat up once the direction change has been made

On drops – as the boat goes over the edge both ends are out of the water, and a radical change in direction can be made.
Video Clip: Turning using drops

 

7.2.2    Flow differential/feature



On learning a new river the first couple of runs are used spotting the main features and getting the main lines sorted. Beyond this, one will look for features to assist in maintaining a line on the river without the need for steering strokes, and so allow more power strokes to be applied.

Several river features provide flow differences/turning forces

  • Rocks – breakouts
  • Eddys on corners
  • Curling waves
  • Wave offsets
  • Stoppers
  • Rock pillows
  • Boils

When trying to adapt routes to use less steering – look for features that will help, so if you have a problem with drifting right (for example) into a wave chain, look for a feature such as slack water or a breakout to hold the boat on line.

Using the slack water behind rocks etc is one of the most fundamental mechanisms for aided steering in WWR. By exaggerating or opposing the turning force it is possible to achieve a wide variety of direction changes. By leaning away from the rock the turning force is increased, leaning into the rock opposes the turning force. Be careful when exaggerating a turn as this can easily lead to unexpected veering or even capsize – it is usual to need to exaggerate the turn only on very small features with a small breakout. The amount of direction change is a factor of the flow difference and the angle of attack.
We often encounter offset sequences of rocks. A typical attack is to use the leading rock/slack water to hold the boat on line away from the subsequent rock.

It is important to remember that ordinary powerful forward strokes cause a ‘natural’ steering effect which you will recognise as boat ‘waggle’. When paddling in waves or through chutes, the ‘natural’ steering of an ordinary forward stroke can be enough to make the steering required. Choosing carefully when and where to place strokes in the fastest water may mean you can simply paddle ‘forwards’ but still steer.

 

7.3 Reading Rivers


When reading a river for racing, you are trying to spot the fastest and deepest current line. The fastest water is usually indicated by waves. The deepest water usually looks a little darker. It is important to look well ahead to see the trails of flow and shades of colouring of the river.

When approaching a river feature, whether it is a wave chain, drop, hole or boils, try and identify where the fastest current exits the feature. This is particularly useful when you can’t see the bottom of the feature until you are very close. You should be approaching the feature already on a current or from the deepest part of a pool, so your aim is to navigate smoothly from your entry point of the feature to the exit point you have already identified. In general this line is likely to have the most and flow and deepest water, which as already discussed is likely to be the fastest line.

If obstacles prevent a smooth line, or too much steering is required, then your line can be refined.

Think of the fastest current line as the ‘straight line’ down the river, this is the fastest course gravity can push the water down the river. Be aware this is not necessarily parallel to the river banks. Every time you stray from being parallel to and sitting on the fastest current line you are losing the best energy from the river which you will have to make up for with your own energy, so be sure that straying from that line is worth it in terms of time savings.

7.4 River Features

7.4.1    Shallow Water

Shallow water should generally be avoided where possible; however there are times when it is necessary. In shallow water there is increased bottom drag as well as a shock wave off the bottom of the boat reflected off the river bed which, when it rises underneath the boat will cause it to sit back in the water making it feel like you’re paddling uphill (in fact you are!). Attacking shallow water with extra speed can cause the shock wave to rise behind your seat and give the effect of surfing down it. If you maintain this speed, it may be possible to ‘surf’ across the whole shallow section.

7.4.2    Boils

Boily water is caused by flow hitting a very sharp object under water – such as a rock shelf or cliff face.

Boils are pretty tricky to negotiate, and are best avoided if possible. However there are occasions where the flow of a boil can help you keep the boat on line.

If you need to run boils, the “up and over” the middle of the boil route is typically the most straightforward, otherwise you will need to predict the push of the boils to help keep the line. Steer slightly into the flow and lean away to ‘carve’ the turn as well as to prepare your body weight to counteract the movement that will occur when your boat hits the boil. Remember, any movement that occurs to the bow of the boat will equally occur to the stern of the boat as you pass the boil, thereby straightening the boat for you, so be careful not to over-compensate your steering when you meet the boil. Stay loose in the boils and ‘go with the flow’ as much as possible, paddling powerfully with ordinary forward strokes.

7.4.3    Rock Pillows (cushions)

Rock pillowIn higher flow “pillows” or cushions appear on the front of larger rocks. These pillows can exert a significant turning force. Try to run parallel to the rock and allow it to push you sideways. If you steer away from the rock, the turning effect will be exaggerated, and you will move significantly off line. Beware running straight at the rock – the pillow will not normally have enough force to direct one way or another!

7.4.4    Chop

Choppy waves Chop is small waves. Sometimes the waves are uniform and small, usually with short wavelength, sometimes it is more confused water.

With modern large volume boats it is generally best to run chop straight through the middle on the fastest water. It is important to get good grip in the water with the paddle, by seating the blade in the back of the wave, and using powerful strokes, drive through the chop. The boat should stay flat and supported on the peaks of the waves.

If the waves are a little larger or the wavelength is a little longer, you can still skip the boat from wave peak to wave peak, but it will require a more determined effort. You will need to time and place your strokes to lift the bow in the air slightly. Add to this strong use of your feet and legs to lift and hold the bow in the air. The aim is to fly the bow in the air to reach the top of the next wave, landing the hull, roughly in the area of your feet, onto the next wave top. If you’re successful the boat will run flat and dry. If the wavelength is too long or the waves are too big, then it is no longer chop it is waves (see 7.4.5 Waves)

 

7.4.5    Waves

Paddling waves Waves are bigger than chop. The waves indicate where the fastest water is, so ideally you will try and ride the waves. The aim is to avoid the boat pitching or the hull leaving the water or for waves to start landing in your lap. If the boat starts to pitch, the bow of the boat will start slapping onto the water and in large waves the bow will drive into the bottom of the following wave which is very energy sapping and loses boat speed. Waves coming over the deck into your lap are also energy sapping and lose boat speed.

To reduce pitching of the boat, time your strokes to the waves. Place your blade into the wave (usually the back of the wave) so that you get a proper grip of the water and apply power carefully to propel the boat forwards but not up or down.

If the wavelength is too short and pitching into the waves cannot be avoided or waves are landing in your lap, you will need to move to the shoulders of the waves where they are smaller and more rounded. This means moving closer to the eddy line beside the waves so you must be careful not to stray too far from the waves and out of the best flow.

Waves are rarely uniform and straight across a river. They are organic, rising and falling. They have rounded edges and are often offset to each other. Try to spot these and use the lower wave height to your advantage (see Figure 7‑2). The boat will often roll about as it passes through the offsets – but sit loose and allow the boat to run. Time your strokes so that ordinary forward strokes steer you through the offset waves. Your paddles should be deep inside the biggest part of the waves getting maximum grip, propelling your boat through the channel between the offset waves. Allow the hull of the boat to roll against the waves slightly so that more of the hull is in contact with the water. This will assist navigation through the offsets and reduce pitching. Make good strong use of the feet to steer the bow of the boat through the offsets.

offsetwaves.png
Figure 7‑2
If you need to steer in waves to change direction, time your steering stroke when the boat is most out of the water and in the air.

Because the boat may be pitching in waves and be in the air a little bit, ordinary forward strokes can have an unplanned steering effect. You will sometimes need to hold the boat straight by use of the feet to push the bow towards the pulling side and use of the hips to push the stern away from the pulling side. With a lot of boat out of the water it can be possible to steer the boat towards the pulling side by strong use of the feet and hips.

If waves are large enough to splash in your face, raise your chin up high so that water is dispersed away from your eyes and they don’t fill with water.

As mentioned earlier, be careful not to stray off waves into eddys. Beware of the boat bouncing off wave shoulders into the eddy. You will need to steer against the wave shoulder to prevent it. If you are very tired in the later stages of a race, it is sometimes better to sit in the waves and use less steering rather than risk an eddy out because you are too tired to steer against the wave.

7.4.6    Curling Waves

Offset waves diagonally across the river will normally cause the boat to mover along the length of the wave, and thus across the river.
This can be opposed by turning into the wave, or the effect can be used by turning inline with the wave.

7.4.7    Corners

When running corners and bends you are usually faced with a decision to either cut the bend or run with the flow around the outside. If you cut a bend it usually means you will be paddling through shallow dead water. You will need to carry extra boat speed into and through the slack. Accelerate as you approach the bend and maintain the higher speed to counteract the bottom drag of the shallow water. This obviously requires extra energy to do this. It is often better to simply follow the flow round the outside and save energy for later in the race. Test the two alternatives to determine the time advantage and decide.

When using the flow to travel round the bend, you need to ensure the boat does not start crabbing. The aim is to have the stern following the bow and the boat to be as parallel to the current line as possible. You should try and run the bend without steering strokes, only using ordinary forward strokes. You can do this by using the slower current, or the eddy, on the inside curve of the flow to draw your bow round the corner. If you find a bend causes your stern to slip and cause crabbing, you can counteract it by leaning back slightly as you approach the bend. This will cause the bow to rise slightly so that it doesn’t catch the corner so hard and, more importantly cause the stern to sink and resist the slippage more.

7.4.8    Drops

When running a drop you are trying to minimise deceleration by limiting how much water goes over the deck on landing and avoiding obstacles in the bottom of the drop (i.e. stopper, rocks, the ledge causing the drop). Ideally you will fly as far and as flat over the drop as possible. (see video clip - jumping stoppers)


Video clip - Jumping stoppers
Try to keep the boat flat fore and aft by raising your feet and legs to keep the bow up as you fly off the top. Time your strokes so that your last stroke pushes you off the top and in the direction you want to point when you land. The later the last stroke is taken the greater the push-off and the further you will fly beyond the bottom of the drop. Also, the later the last stroke is taken the greater the potential steering effect of the stroke as more of the boat is out of the water. The last push-off stroke will also give stability as the boat starts leaving the water. Try and keep a smooth paddling rhythm and technique continuing with your next stroke, as you land at the bottom, to maintain boat speed, and give stability. If you are landing close to an eddy or breakout it may be better to time your strokes so that the landing stroke is on the side of the eddy. This would mean your push-off stroke would need to be on the opposite side at the top of the drop.

If the bow is going to bury and water will cover the foredeck, sit the boat upright as you go over the drop. When a bow rises with water on its deck it will balloon up at the angle the deck is pointing, so if the boat is sat upright, it will rise up straight. If the boat is leaned at an angle it will pop out from under the water and exaggerate the angle and lean of the boat making it feel unstable as your body weight is thrown around due to the boat movement beneath you (see Figure 7‑3).
drop.png
Figure 7‑3

 

 

If you think the landing is shallow you may need to lean back to try and stop your bow hitting the bottom. If you think the landing is very shallow, you may need to reduce speed before the drop so as not to bury too deep.

If you think you will hit your stern, you may need to lean forward as you land at the bottom. This will reduce how fast the bow rises and therefore how fast the stern kicks down. If a stern hit is unavoidable, be prepared for the jolt. When the stern hits, it will briefly cause the boat to project in the direction it is already pointing, preventing steering, so ensure your boat is pointing in the direction you want to go at the top of the drop, before the stern hits (see Figure 7‑4).

 dropproject.png
Figure 7‑4

A stern hit also exaggerates any lean on the boat with a jolting effect making it feel unstable as your body weight is thrown around due to the boat movement beneath you. It’s similar to the effect in Figure 7‑3.

A simple rule of drops is to sit up straight. This will give stability whether you expect water on the deck, a stern hit or both.

7.4.9    Holes (Stoppers)

Running Holes Try and avoid running holes by sneaking down the side if you can. If that is not possible, running holes is similar to running drops except there is more water force, in the form of a stopper, to overcome. The objective is to minimise deceleration.

If the drop into the hole is not too steep you may be able to ‘fly’ your bow onto the top of the stopper wave and pass your boat over the hole supported by the peak of the stopper wave.

If the drop is steeper the boat is likely to drive into the hole. Remember the Rule of Drops and sit up straight. Choose the point in the hole where the most flow is exiting from the hole. This will minimise your deceleration. If the stopper has a sideways movement, generally you will try and shoot the hole at the side the stopper is moving towards. This is where the water is exiting and therefore fastest. Also, the boat will have the least sideways movement as it hits the stopper. Too much sideways motion will make it feel unstable as your body weight is thrown around due to the boat movement beneath you.

Generally you will try and shoot perpendicular to the hole so that the boat exits pointing in the same direction it entered. If you enter with an angle to the stopper it will increase the angle on exit due to the stopper dynamics and the ballooning of the boat. If the stopper is not too big this can be used as a deliberate method to turn the boat but obviously increases risk of instability.

If the stopper is large enough to splash in your face, raise your chin so that water is dispersed away from your eyes and they don’t fill with water.

 

7.5 Comparing Lines


On any course you are often faced with a number of route choices. The difficulty is deciding which is best. The obvious rule of thumb is whichever takes the shortest time, but this is not always the case for instance, the fastest route may use a lot of energy, the expending of which may cost more time later in the race. Perhaps the fastest route involves a lot of risk in terms of possible breakout or damage to equipment.

All the various considerations must go into the equation, but still the most important variable is which is fastest. To determine which is the fastest there are a number of ways. You can simply time each route on consecutive runs. You could have someone video each route on consecutive runs and compare them later by watch or using video tools to put images side by side. These methods require a number of runs and are not necessarily practical or even possible.

The best and most efficient method is to practice with other athletes. Run the river in close formation line astern. Whenever a route choice presents itself, the lead boat will take one line (usually the most obvious line). The following boat(s) will then deliberately choose a different line. When the differing lines merge again below a rapid or feature you can easily assess which was the faster line. One boat length equates to approximately one second. The following boat(s) are usually in the best position to assess the loss or gain of their route and should communicate the resulting information immediately to the other athletes. This method relies on full cooperation between athletes. Ideally athletes will be a similar speed and know each others paddling style well. The lead boat sets the pace down the river. When boats separate to take different lines, they must maintain the same pace. The closer boats are before separation, the easier it will be to assess the gains or losses. Being a lead boat requires good river reading skills. Being a following boat requires even better river reading skills to spot less likely routes. The following boat must have a high degree of concentration to see not only the routes the lead boat is taking but to identify alternatives. Communication is vital.

Athletes who are well practiced at this can decide upon the best routes of a simple river in a single run. That means further training runs can be limited to practicing the execution of the chosen lines.

As discussed earlier, whilst the fastest line is probably the most desirable line, it isn’t necessarily the best line. Consider whether using extra energy to take a short cut is worth the time gain? Is there a high risk of equipment damage? Is there a high risk of a breakout? If you are fit, your equipment is well prepared and you have good skills you are then in a better position to select the fastest line as being your best line, but even the very best athletes will factor these and other considerations into every route choice.

7.6 Drills for Whitewater

 

7.6.1           Soften the Transitions 

 

Controlling the WWR boat on rivers is a constant process of encouraging or opposing the turning forces that are applied to the boat. The most obvious example is entering slack water on the inside of a bend, but even in downstream flow there are differences in the flow rate which will apply turning forces to the boat

 

Whenever the paddler encounters changes in flow, it is important to "soften the transition" so that the boat stays high in the water (quicker and more manoeuvrable) and so the paddler is not knocked off balance (even quicker!). Even in the case when the paddler wishes to encourage the turning effect, it is important to soften the initial transition and then allow the correct amount of boat to be ‘grabbed' by the water to make the turn.

flow colour.jpg 

An obvious example is using the slack water behind a rock to turn the boat onto a new course. By using varying amounts of opposing steering a wide variety of lines can be obtained. But the transitions must be smoothed out even when wanting to make a big direction change.

As the paddler enters the slack water (B) from the fast flow (A) the boat will be leant to the left (upstream) to "carve" the turn and keep the boat light on the water. As the boat leaves the slack water it will be leant to the left (downstream) to soften the final transition and re-enter the fast flow (C).

 

 

 

 

The point at which the lean is put on is a matter of feel, i.e. assessing the penalty of if not enough lean is put on. Generally when you feel the turn start on the bow, the lean is initiated - the G-forces are then trying to throw the paddler to the outside of the turn and the lean provides the opposing force. See image sequence below - note how the water at the boat indicates that the boat is starting to turn, and the lean is put onto the boat to oppose these forces.

 

 soften1.jpg  soften2.jpg  soften3.jpg
 1. Entering Slack
2. Lean initiated
3. Full lean

 

It should be noted that these leans should be executed by downward pressure on the seat (drop hip steering - see 5.5.1 Boat Leans - Drop Hip Steering) not by bracing up into the thigh bars. This it is possible to maintain a strong leg drive throughout the stroke.

 

 

7.6.1.1      Drills to improve edge control

 

Crossing Flow

 

Utilising a piece of water with a relatively good flow (around 3-4 metres wide is ideal) and large breakouts that will allow the paddler to get a good run up and run out from the flow. Weir chutes are ideal for this purpose, as the breakouts are often well defined and large.

 

  1. Find out what happens when the boat is kept upright.

 

This is a common flaw for many paddlers, you will see them suddenly thrown off balance by some slack water - this drill will show what happens to the boat when it is not leant over (note the flow needs to be reasonable enough to prove the point but not enough to throw them in!).

 

Paddle in a straight line from Breakout A to Breakout B with the boat kept upright. As the boat enters the flow it will be grabbed, pushed down into the water and downstream, also most likely the paddler will be a little unseated and has to recover from being thrown in upstream. A similar reaction will occur as the paddler exits the flow into the breakout.

 

  1. Now try to predict and feel the push of the boat

 

We will now try to paddle a completely straight line across the flow, this will require leaning downstream when we enter the flow (and pulling slightly harder on the downstream side) and upstream as we exit the flow. The boat should feel lighter, more manoeuvrable and quicker.

 

Continue this exercise trying to not only see what he boat is doing but ‘feel' then the boat is being affected by the flow.

 

  1. Next try to hit a point further downstream in the opposite breakout

 

This will require using the flow to turn the boat, so we want to come more upright in the flow (and in extreme cases even lean upstream to make the turn) - but the key point to remember is to soften the transition and then bring the boat upright - this will allow the paddler to introduce the appropriate level of turning force and not get off balanced.

 

<video footage>

 

  1. See the benefit of wet hand drills

 

In turbulent water it is important for the blade to be fully buried provide a stable platform. Perform the drills above in conjunction with wet hand drills (see 5.6.1 Wet Hands) to see the difference a well seated blade makes (should make things a lot easier and more dynamic)

 

7.6.1.2 Hard on rough, easy on flat

Accelerate to around classic pace before the rapid, maintain this pace through and out of the rapid - then easing down to a cruise on the flat water. This tactic is most often employed when training for a race, ad it allows the critical sections to be executed at the right pace - but without getting too fatigued.

7.6.1.3 Easy on rough, hard on the flat

The tough version, accelerate out of the rapid and maintain the pace into the next rapid - then ease down and maintain the boat speed through accurate paddling and good technique.

7.6.1.4 Carry boat speed from rapid

In this drill we are looking to carry as much of the high speed of the water across and onto the flat water. This is performed by 'squeezing' the accelerator, locking solidly onto the high flow of the rapid and carrying it out onto the flat. The acceleration needs to happen before the flow and boat speed drops, so often this will be when still in the small waves at the end of the rapid. Use wet hand drills to lock on to the water to provide the purchase, and strong leg/hip drive will provide the connection.

7.6.1.5 Timing strokes to every wave

We need to time our strokes to the waves to provide the best connection to the water, and to keep the boat fast,light and manouverable. Depending upon the wave length we may sometime time to every other wave in small chop. In this drill we will time to every wave, this will highlight the variances in the rhythm of the river - each river has it's own cadence and style. Somethimes this requires strokes to be chopped in short, sometimes long - a stroke that is able to vary the cadence will be a strong stroke in whitewater.

7.6.1.6 Charge the waves

Used typically in medium sized waves with no rock damage risks, run the middle of the wave chain (rather than on the shoulders). This will cause the boat speed to stall - prompting the athlete to need to re-accelerate the boat. Pulling down the line of the boat (with a little more bicep in the rull through for control) is key to being able to drive the boat forward when the bow is in the air. Strong core, leg drive is important for this drill.

7.6.1.7 Syncapated strokes

On long wavelength waves it can often be difficult for shorter athletes, and juniors to span the gap between the waves with a single stroke. In theis drill we will take two strokes on one wave, one on the face of the wave, one on the back of the wave. This will keep the boat moving forward and straight even in pretty large waves.

7.6.1.8 Single stroke accleration

In this drill we will lock on with wet hands, a very strong leg drive and core engagement will lift the boat speed. The stroke will be held onto until it is complete and the boat is moving at above or beyond the water speed. This can be used in one of two ways:

1. Slow the boat speed down - re-acclerate using a single stroke

2. Enter higher speed flow from slower - lock on with single stroke and re-accelerate.

This single stroke acceleration can be used very effectively when joining a high speed section of water, or where there is a much higher flow rate on one side of the boat compared to the other and we wish to hold onto the stroke to make the most of it. This stroke is also key to pulling through stoppers the strong connection allows the boat to be pulled clear of the resistance.

7.6.1.9 Proximity

Paddle extremely close to each other through a rapid. This hones team eventing skills and also highlights the very subtle small differences in speed in executing a rapid. Only when very close do this tiny changes become obvious. When following paddle sightly offset (i.e. not exactly behind) so that you can see what is coming up on the rapid, or being able to see rocks as they approach (obviously some times you need to follow exactly when the flow line is very narrow or there are gaps in the rocks that need to be navigated). If following around a right hand bend - sit to the right side, if the bend is to the left sit slightly to the left. This will ensure that if the lead boat takes a slightly too wide line into a rapid - you do not compound the problem by being even wider.