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Friday, July 16, 2010

On Edge


I have written several posts about edging, but just wanted to follow up on something. I talk frequently about unlocking the bow, as a method for turning, or adjusting the course of your kayak. Essentially, what I am saying is that by putting your kayak on edge You are taking the bow out of play - the bow which is designed to help your kayak go in a straight line, and in fact does a better job the faster you go, as the water that your bow is splitting and sending down opposite sides of your hull is exerting more pressure on that very same bow and hull. So while I put a lot of emphasis on the bow, there is another factor in play.

When you put your kayak on edge, taking the bow out of play, or unlocking it as I like to say - you are also changing the apparent shape of the your kayak hull at the water line. These two things combing to help turn your kayak.

I wrote two previous posts, both in April about Edging, and Unlocking the bow. I think that both of these concepts are very important, I can't get into details about what your kayak will do when on edge, because it really depends on the shape of your kayak, its new shape at the water line after you edge it, and how comfortable you are holding your kayak on edge.

I bring this up because I was recently flipping through the current issue of Canoe and Kayak magazine, and there is a short article on this very topic. The article written by the Kayak instructors who own Body, Boat, and Blade. They describe this process almost exactly as I do, with the only difference being that they talk about 'unlocking the stern' whereas I say 'unlocking the bow'. This may seem like semantics, but I think there is a big difference, as the stern locks you in place a lot less than your bow, as anyone who has had a kayak lee cock can tell you. When under power, the bow wants to go straight - and as I mentioned above, the faster you are going the straighter it wants to go. The same can not be said of the stern. But they do say that the key is removing the keel from the equation which I whole heartily agree with. If you have the opportunity pick up the magazine as it's an interesting read. I would also say that if you have the opportunity to take lessons from the folks at Body, Boat and Blade do so. While I haven't had the privilege their reputation is fantastic.

Another topic that has been coming up recently about edging is this. Do you lift with your leg, or do you unload one side of your bottom. I am not sure why, or how this debate started, But I wanted to take a position since I talk about edging a lot. I think it may have started with Ben Lawry, who is, as I have stated an amazing paddler and teacher, but I am not sure that is the case, maybe it is just here say that Ben started this discussion. I thought I was a 'leg and cheek together' kind of paddler, but this morning I was playing with edges, and I thought about it and discovered that really I un-weight the appropriate cheek to edge, However I found that I do lock it into position with a knee lift if I am going to hold the edge for any amount of time more than just a second or two. I would like to hear the reasoning's for preference of one over the other, but I think the most important thing is that you can edge, hold the edge, and make it work for you, to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish.

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