Introduction to White Water Kayaking

Putting the training into practice

Putting the training into practice

On Friday, I was working with some returning clients on an introduction to white water kayaking course and it was of the coldest courses that I’ve run this year. Our venue for the day was the River Dee at Llangollen at Mile End Mill which is now operated by the Mile End Mill Trust.

After brief introductions, our objective for the day was to improve ferry gliding and breaking in and out of the current which are the core white water kayaking skills. I’m a firm believer in that you can’t coach what you haven’t seen so I set a few little exercises so tat I could observe and see where they were at. It quickly became apparent, that both paddlers had similar issues that needed development to firm up the basic. After introducing SPANGLE (Speed, Angle, Landing / Launch, Edge) the improvements were very dramatic indeed and by introducing varied practice both paddlers were moving their craft with ease (to become skilful – paddlers to apply the techniques in various locations).

With the fundamental skills now firmly in place it was time to see how we could incorporate SET into the mix (Stroke, Environment and Timing) so we moved to a location where the water flow faster and the eddies were smaller and it wasn’t too long before both paddlers were breaking in / out of the flow and ferry gliding with the minimal amount of paddle strokes much to the delight of one paddler who said ‘Its just so easy when you get it right’.

The final part of the day was to run a short section of the river with them trying to get into as many eddies as they could and the smile on their faces as they glided into and out of the eddies was extremely satisfying. To see a few photographs of the day please click here.

I had a great day on the water and I look forward to working with these clients in the New Year when they come back for additional white water skills training.

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