Friday, June 4, 2010

The Hanging draw

This is a stroke that I don't do often, But when done well is a lot of fun. The hanging draw is used to move the kayak sideways while the bow is still pointed forward. It is good for quick course correction in tight quarters, like a rock garden. Not being a rock garden paddler, I don't use it much, but it is still one of the paddle strokes I practice from time to time.

With some momentum, rotate your body to the side you want the kayak to move, so rotate right if you want to slide to the ride. Plant the blade in the water with the paddle shaft nearly vertical. If you rotated to the left, your left hand should be close to the water with your right hand over your head. The blade should be roughly a foot from the side of your boat. You do this stroke without an edge. You can - and will have to - play with both the angle of the blade, and the position of the blade in relation to fore and aft. As both will determine the manner of movement - turning, versus sliding, we want to slide not turn - as well as how much movement there is. This is a stroke that is hard to explain without being on the water. So I invite you to watch the video but then seek out other videos online, I found a few that demonstrated this stroke well, but nothing that blew me away. Actually one did amaze me, until I realized the person was in a whitewater kayak, not a sea kayak.

hanging draw from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.

I want to post a brief update to an earlier post, To Rudder or Skeg. This - as I suspected it would - generated a lot of comment and a fair amount of debate. I welcome that debate, and while I feel strongly about my beliefs, I try to be open to other ways of thinking. There is one major reason that I don't paddle a skegged boat, Ease of packing. I am at heart a long distance expedition style paddler. And giving up that storage/ease of packing is my primary reason. The kayak I paddle today was purchased with a particular trip in mind, which will hopefully be occurring next year at this time. That trip will require a massive amount of dry storage in a kayak. I think there are a great many arguments on both sides of the rudder/skeg debate, and I think for many of us one or two will truly resonate.

But Yesterday I read something concerning this debate that hadn't occurred to me. It was the 'letter from the editor' of Canoe and Kayak magazine. He pointed out something that I hadn't thought of. Skegs are primarily found on European style kayaks, whereas rudders are found primarily on North American style. These two styles have major differences in both the shape and performance of the boat. The Euro boats tend to be lower volume, with more rounded chines, and more rocker, which adds up to more maneuverability. So I think it would be a better idea to find the kayak that suits you, and then learn the pluses and minuses of the rudder or skeg.

I think it is important to keep an open mind, instead of saying you have to paddle one or the other. The important thing is that you paddle.

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