On Sunday evening a large number of members, young and old, turned up for our first Canoe Star Training session. Run by the club chairman, we covered some core paddling skills across the level 1 and level 2 star syllabus.
The first thing we tried out was a simple sweep stroke, both forward and reverse, allowing us to rotate the kayak in one direction or the other, with the key points being to sit upright and twist the body to engage the major muscle groups and not just use the arms. Quite a major feat considering there were 30 people in the pool and space was at a premium.
Next was a Draw Stroke – the draw stroke is an effective method of pulling your kayak to the side without turning.
Next up was a Stern Rudder. With the paddle parallel to the kayak, and again twisting the torso rather than using the arms. This time we all paddled around the outside of the pool practicing the rudder steer on one side and then the other.
Next up we tried a game; keeping the paddle in the rudder steer position and with torso twisted, 2 groups lined up along the long edge of the pool, we attempted to paddle across the pool – not as easy as it sounds.
Low and high braces where then demonstrated and practiced; low brace first used to correct minor wobbles. High brace demonstration and practice followed, which involved the helpers encouraging and assisting the paddlers to commit to performing a more “enthusiastic” correcting stroke.