Tuesday 10 March 2009

Rolling with the Stick

Like an excited schoolkid, I took my new Greenland stick down to Brighton le Sands on Sunday arvo for a bit of a test drive. Near enough to 20 knots of Southerly had chewed up the bay & there were short little wind waves, ruining my expectations of a calm, Dubside DVD-like surface to play with my new toy, but it did at least give me a chance to see what the thing can do in rougher water. Firstly, rolling. If you had to roll to save your life, as the Inuit most definitely did, this would be the paddle to have on board. The hydraulics of the ancient shape give you so much lift through the water that you feel as though you're hanging onto a rail as you smooth through the stroke. Amazingly, my off-side roll, which is something I really do have to practice to keep working, was blisteringly fast & snappy with the stick, while my normal roll was fairly similar to what it's like with a Euro blade. It's something to do with my blade angle (Greenland paddles are un-feathered) on my right-side so something else to work on. If you were learning to roll, this would be your tool to a speedy understanding of the dynamics.

Next, paddling - making your kayak go forward. Well, with my higher angle stroke it works perfectly, and although you can't sprint from a standing start like you can with one of the Mitchell Blades, it does bring you up to a good speed within a dozen strokes. Surfing along on one of the wind waves was great fun, & I had no problem bracing when I decided to broach the boat & check out the performance of the paddle in a deep support stroke. The low angle - I call it the DVD (Doug van Doren) stroke - is a bit beyond me for now because I can't work out how to do it and still rotate the way I am conditioned to rotate, if that makes sense. I might take it out with my Rapier & see if you really do go noticeably slower with one - there are plenty of myths about these paddles to bust or confirm I reckon.
As for the tricks, my repertoire is pretty limited, but I ticked the box for a standard sweep roll, a Pawlata & a C to C, as well as a lay back with my head on the back hatch, all on both sides. Too bloody easy Campese.......
I'm stoked, this paddle is a hell of a lot of fun, & I'm going to sneak away from my responsibilities as often as I can and try to master a few of the cool tricks I see on the silver screen. Now, if only I could squeeze myself into one of these Anas Acuta kayaks.........


  1. I've been looking at videos on the web of the Anas Acuta being handrolled - can't wait to see you do that Mark!!

  2. Come on Dee, how can I sell paddles if I'm doing bloody hand rolls...!


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