Kayaking

Non-dyspraxic chat about anything under the sun

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Ram
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Kayaking

Postby Ram » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:46 am

I have been chatting about kayaking with a user of this forum called otis_b_flywheel, who has extensive experience of this activity. We were chatting a bit about it on his introduction thread. However, I think it would be beneficial to move our chat to its own thread so that other members can join in if they wish. I will quote both his and my conversation to make it easy for anyone else to join in.

I said:

Just noticed (from your introduction) that you like kayaking. Do you find it affected by your dyspraxia much?

The reason I'm asking is that I did a BCU 1 star award a while back and I was certainly the dunce of the group even though the instructor was wonderful! Learning all these subtle movements was a bit much in such a short time.



otis_b_flywheel said:
I could probably write a book in response to your query about kayaking, having been doing it for 30+ years! No doubt it'll feature in my blog if I ever get that off the ground.
It's good to know that you got your 1-star. I don't know how long you've been paddling, but like other skills it takes a while to master and is worth persevering with if you enjoy it. I suppose the degree to which dyspraxia affects kayaking ability depends on gross motor co-ordination, and perhaps processing can be a problem when you're bouncing down a big rapid, you have little control over the speed of events (versus e g rock climbing) and the fact that confused white water can be quite disorientating. I think I've coped OK with the personal skills required over the years - beside the occasional episodes of clumsiness - but when it came to gaining instructor qualifications and looking after others in what can be quite hazardous situations, I didn't really cut the mustard as there was definitely too much to process. I did actually gain my Senior Instructor (inland kayak) qualification at the third attempt, but eventually realised that it was more of a personal crusade than anything else.
Good luck with your paddling if you carry on with it!


Thank you very much for sharing your experiences.It really is quite fascinating stuff. It sounds as if you have achieved an extremely high level of proficiency that is beyond my wildest dreams. I must say I'm impressed that you attained the senior instructor qualification even if you aren't using the qualification. I imagine looking after a bunch of novice kayakers is quite a stressful business.

I had done a bit of very basic kayaking in the sea with very simple non-sport craft.I had a wish to up my game a bit by doing the BCU 1 star and 2 star course, so I could go on some sea kayaking holidays in Scotland or Cornwall.

However, I found using a more sporty canoe on a river to be a far more difficult business. I was struggling with all the subtle little moves on the course such as the sweep turn, draw stroke, low brace turn, bow rudder, stern rudder basic support stroking and the turn on move. I really felt it was the dyspraxia kicking in because some of the other learners were complete novices, and were not struggling as much as me.

I also have a common dyspraxic problem of weak ankles, so the braced position that the more sporty canoes have was quite a strain on them.

I still do a bit of basic canoeing in the sea at the weekend when the weather isn't windy enough for sailing. Perhaps I should go onto youtube and swat up on the techniques of the above mentioned moves. And then try to put them into practice.

I don't think I'll ever get up to white water level. But I would be pleased if I could get just about proficient enough to join a low level sea kayaking tour without being the weak link of the group.

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Re: Kayaking

Postby Tom fod » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:17 am

I've had some paddling related (mis)adventures in guided outings in Kayaks, Canadian Canoes and White Water Rafts and at least lived to tell the tale. I'm probably enough to cause many instructors the heebie jeebies with my ineptitude but If I'm a paying customer I want them to be on their toes though I'm not expecting them to take me out on The Nile, The Zambezi, Niagara or The Congo. I think its good to try to push the boundaries, but you have to take care not to endanger yourself or others in the process and giving yourself time and space to familiarise yourself with manoeuvring the craft is a good thing and we are in the most part cautious and level headed people.
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Ram
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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:27 pm

Tom fod wrote:I've had some paddling related (mis)adventures in guided outings in Kayaks, Canadian Canoes and White Water Rafts and at least lived to tell the tale. I'm probably enough to cause many instructors the heebie jeebies with my ineptitude but If I'm a paying customer I want them to be on their toes though I'm not expecting them to take me out on The Nile, The Zambezi, Niagara or The Congo. I think its good to try to push the boundaries, but you have to take care not to endanger yourself or others in the process and giving yourself time and space to familiarise yourself with manoeuvring the craft is a good thing and we are in the most part cautious and level headed people.


Thanks for sharing this, Tom. This motivates me to go onto youtube and learn all the kayaking strokes. Can you tell me how long the outings were that you took? And where did you go? Is there any place that you recommend in particular?

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Re: Kayaking

Postby otis_b_flywheel » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:03 pm

Hi Tom and others,
I've been trying to post a reply here but keep getting the message
403
Forbidden
Access to this resource on the server is denied!
Any ideas?
Thanks
Tim

"I may not be perfect, but parts of me are pretty awesome."

Ram
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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:45 pm

otis_b_flywheel wrote:Hi Tom and others,
I've been trying to post a reply here but keep getting the message
403
Forbidden
Access to this resource on the server is denied!
Any ideas?
Thanks


I'm just testing it now to see if I get the same problem. It looks OK. I am a complete dunce when it comes to IT, so I'm afraid I have no idea why the system is giving you a hard time.

However, I really am itching to see what you want to post. Maybe you could write your post as a personal message to either Tom or me. Either of us could then copy and paste your personal message onto this thread.

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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:37 pm

otis_b_flywheel,

This is part 1 of the post that you were having problems with the other day and so sent as a personal message to me. I am doing it in several parts because I think the post is too long for the system to accept.
otis_b_flywheel wrote:

I'm delighted that kayaking has found its own thread on this forum - good on you Ram :-)

I maybe gave the impression that I'm only a white water paddler. This is not the case as I love the sea and inland open water too. Open water paddling may present better opportunities for dyspraxic would-be paddlers as you have more time to react to situations, and some of the settings you can find yourself in are just as attractive as fast running rivers. You also spend most of your time forward paddling, and the scenery changes at a completely different pace. Beware, however, of any river paddler who tells you that open water paddling is boring! Believe me, the sea especially can be a very frightening place, which you'll know if you've spent any time on it.

Ram
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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:49 pm

otis_b_flywheel's post part 2

Tom fod wrote:
I'm probably enough to cause many instructors the heebie jeebies with my ineptitude


I would say no more than any neurotypical person Tom. You at least have the self-awareness to know that you might be a little inept, whereas I have worked with folk who have no such self-knowledge, should know better and put themselves and others in danger as a result.

I would recommend that anyone who is seriously keen on learning to paddle a kayak or canoe joins their local canoe club. Most of the bigger clubs cater well for novices and provide lots of structured opportunities to learn the basic skills. I now try and explain my dyspraxia to those in charge in the simplest possible terms i e how it affects your kayaking or you think it might. In my case its things like leaving essential equipment on the river bank or in the minibus(!) or having "off-days" where everything I do on the water tends towards disaster (best to pack up and go home on those if you can). I think Ram mentioned weak ankles, so that might be important. The club membership application form is likely to contain a section where you can choose to declare a disability. If you're in England or Wales, the British Canoe Union website might be the first port of call, or the Scottish Canoe Association website for those of us north of the border. Those in Northern Ireland can call on the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland.

You can certainly go to a commercial provider, though quality varies. In theory this is regulated by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, but some outfits may slip through the net. If you can afford it, you can do no better than to visit one of the national outdoor centres such as Plas-y-Brenin in North Wales or Glenmore Lodge in the Cairngorms National Park, up here in the wonderful Highlands. A few local authorities still run outdoor centres and sometimes do courses for the general public. That said, some of the commercial and charitable set-ups are very good too.

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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:07 pm

otis_b_flywheel's post part 3
You probably could get something useful from YouTube, but paddling is very much about learning by doing. There is a very good instructional DVD Whitewater Kayaking by Canadian guru Ken Whiting. It’s a few years old but hasn’t dated much apart perhaps from some of the boat models used. A lot of the skills he covers transfer well to flat / open water paddling. If you can't find a new copy you could almost certainly pick up a secondhand one on eBay or the like.


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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:12 pm

otis_b_flywheel's post part 4

I'm in danger of getting carried away here, but one last point - the great thing about paddlesports is the huge variety of craft, from a sit-on-top to a whitewater racer (seriously tippy) to an expedition sea kayak to an open canoe to a surf kayak to a stubby little whitewater playboat that you can only just get your feet into. Remember also that most of these come in different sizes, so for example if one particular model hurts your feet, you could try the next size up. There's something to suit every ability and interest.


Thank you for taking the time to write such an interesting and informative post, Tim. I can feel your great enthusiasm for the activity of kayaking coming through the text strongly. Iwill really need to read it many times over to do it justice.

I had to post it in four parts because I was getting the same error message that you had been experiencing earlier on. I think the system is probably not designed for a text of this length.

I have done my best to get your post onto the system as clearly as possible. But if you or Tom think there is a more reader friendly way of doing it, please feel to edit it.

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Re: Kayaking

Postby Tom fod » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:39 pm

Maybe there's a limit then. All looks fine to me Ram

Tim
I sent Ram a bit of summary in PM of the guided canoe /kayak and white water rafting experiences I'd enjoyed in New Zealand, Canada The USA and France over last 16 yes or so. I was hesitant to post it openly through modesty and fact it's not a serious hobby for myself. That said, Ive not shyed away from opportunities to have a paddle. I personally chose not to disclose that I was dyspraxic , though to be fair I didn't know I was dyspaxic until 2010/11

Have been reading a book on my e-reader called Comrades on the Colca about a Polish expedition through a river gorge in Peru.
Tom
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Re: Kayaking

Postby otis_b_flywheel » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:47 pm

I have done my best to get your post onto the system as clearly as possible. But if you or Tom think there is a more reader friendly way of doing it, please feel to edit it.


Thanks for your hard work on that, Ram. For the sake of all dyspraxics, it's probably not a bad thing for the post to be split down into sections! I had thought the length might be a problem, but at the same time reckoned I'd seen equally long posts before.

The enthusiasm is still there but it hasn't resulted in much paddling in practice recently. I've been plagued with lower back problems (possibly related in part to dyspraxia) and also a lack of motivation that I'm unfortunately having to address with a (prescribed) chemical crutch. That does seem to be working slowly, however, and the weather forecast is good for next week ...
Tim

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Ram
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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:15 pm

otis_b_flywheel wrote:The enthusiasm is still there but it hasn't resulted in much paddling in practice recently. I've been plagued with lower back problems (possibly related in part to dyspraxia) and also a lack of motivation that I'm unfortunately having to address with a (prescribed) chemical crutch. That does seem to be working slowly, however, and the weather forecast is good for next week ...


I had lower back problems last year. Dyspraxia may have been a contributing factor though I suspect it was more down to lifting a heavy item out of an awkward place. Have you been doing any exercises to help this? I found that the following three exercises helped my back enormously.
1 Plank
2 Bird Dog
3 Romanian Deadlift with dumb bells.

I'm glad that the effects of the chemical treatment are lifting you psychologically and hope that you're able to take advantage of some of the good forthcoming (hopefully) weather.

I only have one day off this week. The weather will be just right for dinghy sailing where I am, so that's probably what I'll be doing on my day off.

However, I'm finding kayaking more and more interesting. Today I started watching youtube videos on sea kayaking and it was a real strain to stop myself.

I only have regular access to basic recreational sea kayaks. I need to use these to teach myself the important strokes from the BCU course. I'm also really interested in booking a sea kayaking holiday in Cornwall this September (one of the low level courses). I'm sorry to say I'm too much of a wimp to try Scotland at that time of the year!

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Re: Kayaking

Postby otis_b_flywheel » Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Ram wrote:Have you been doing any exercises to help this? I found that the following three exercises helped my back enormously.
1 Plank
2 Bird Dog
3 Romanian Deadlift with dumb bells.


In a word - yes, and quite a few others besides. It's reassuring though that others are on the same track.

I'm glad that the effects of the chemical treatment are lifting you psychologically and hope that you're able to take advantage of some of the good forthcoming (hopefully) weather.


Thanks for that Ram. I actually managed a 2.5 km "test run" in my sea kayak on Thursday on Loch Achilty - a really lovely local spot for a flat water pootle - and there were no ill effects, even after a rather ropy (but successful) roll. I'm hoping to do a one-night "mini-expedition" this coming week.

However, I'm finding kayaking more and more interesting. Today I started watching youtube videos on sea kayaking and it was a real strain to stop myself.


Kayaking is a much under-rated spectator sport and such videos certainly are addictive. Have you seen any of the "This is the Sea" series by Justine Curgenven? Her choice of music can be rather bizarre but the filming is often really good.

I'm sorry to say I'm too much of a wimp to try Scotland at that time of the year!


Just for the record, it can be absolutely gorgeous north of the border in September!

Enjoy Cornwall anyway.
Tim

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Ram
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Re: Kayaking

Postby Ram » Mon May 01, 2017 6:41 pm

otis_b_flywheel wrote:
I actually managed a 2.5 km "test run" in my sea kayak on Thursday on Loch Achilty - a really lovely local spot for a flat water pootle - and there were no ill effects, even after a rather ropy (but successful) roll. I'm hoping to do a one-night "mini-expedition" this coming week.

Kayaking is a much under-rated spectator sport and such videos certainly are addictive. Have you seen any of the "This is the Sea" series by Justine Curgenven? Her choice of music can be rather bizarre but the filming is often really good.

Just for the record, it can be absolutely gorgeous north of the border in September!

Enjoy Cornwall anyway.


It's nice to hear about your exploits on Loch Achilty. I'll have to check that place out. And I'm always impressed by someone who can do a roll. I look forward to hearing about your one night expedition.

I haven't watched anything in the way of sporting videos yet. But Justine Curgenven's stuff does sound good.

I've actually been watching lots of how to videos over and over again, just to get the instructions in my ears, so I can put them into practice when I'm out on the water.

I wasn't able to do any sailing this weekend at the center but was able to hire a recreational kayak. The instructions from the youtube videos on forward paddle were still playing in my head, so I did my best to put them into practice. One thing I learned from the videos was the difference in hand position between a touring forward paddle and a sprinting forward paddle. This is especially important for someone like me with dodgy rotator cuffs.

I still haven't booked any holiday yet for Sept. So I may well go north of the border. Both Scotland and Cornwall are great choices I'm sure.


Anyway, I wish you well for your forthcoming trip.


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