Galway Fest – Freestyle Competition (National)Galway Fest
10 March 2020
When you are kayaking in a group, it’s important to keep together and not go off on your own, or even with your buddy. Be sure that you can see the instructor; that means the instructor can see you! Should you go too far away to hear spoken directions, there are a few signs/sounds you need to understand. “Look here” is conveyed by one whistle blast. “Stop” is conveyed by the paddle held horizontally overhead; and a whistle blast “Come here” is conveyed by the paddle held vertically overhead an/or two blasts on the whistle. Reply with two blasts also to indicate you have heard. “Go right/left” is conveyed by the paddle angled to right or left
In addition to the basic strokes of going forward and backward, you need to learn how to go sideways (draw stroke), how to turn going forward or backward (sweep), how to use steering (rudder) strokes, and how to brace yourself from falling in (low brace). The draw stroke is designed to pull the kayak sideways. Let’s assume you want to draw to the starboard (right) side. Put your blade in on the starboard side, placed about 2 feet away from the kayak, and keep it exactly vertical.
Try to pull the blade directly toward you and in fact what you are doing is pulling the kayak to the starboard side in the water. Stop when you have about 9 inches left to go. Keeping the b lade under water, turn the blade away as you push the paddle back to 2 feet away from the kayak and repeat. The blade is under water all the time, but the blade rotates around a vertical axis in the water. You should practice this to port (left) as well so that you can go either way equally well. Something to watch out for is not to run over your own paddle, which could cause you to capsize, which is why you stop with about 9 inches to go.