by Andrew Westwood photos by Elizabeth Kettle

Myths  The angle of an eddy turn is measured against the eddyline. Nope. The eddyline is a downstream current itself. Instead, focus on the wave trough and fix your angle perpendicular to the trough line.

 Entering the downstream current needs a lot of momentum. Actually, if a good trough is present you only have to fall into the trough to get out into the current—significant power may not be required.

 Faster water means less angle. Not necessarily. If a fast cur- rent has diagonal V waves, angle the canoe a little more than ninety degrees to the trough, even if this means pointing your boat across the river.

 What about P.A.T.? Power, Angle and Tilt, or P.A.T., is the three-step approach to eddy turns traditionally taught to beginners and is easily adapted to include the presence of wave troughs.

Choose the Right Angle

Choosing the best angle to exit an eddy depends on the trough you have chosen to surf out to the downstream current. Imagine a line drawn down the middle of the wave trough beginning at the eddy line and stretching out into the current. Study the water carefully; seeing the trough line will determine the boat angle needed to leave the eddyline. To peel out into the current, paddle your boat into the trough at a perpendicular or ninety degree angle to the trough line. No matter how strong the current, always set your angle crossways to the trough. Now hang on as your boat surfs off the eddyline and into the downstream current.

Reading Trouble? Having trouble with eddy turns is rarely the fault of strokes, and more likely a difficulty with reading water. Ask yourself: is the boat…. • Angled too much? If so, this will cause the boat to turn too sud- denly preventing it from surfing out to the downstream current. Flips are common when the canoe is angled so much it is side- ways to the wave trough. Try again pointing your boat across the trough line.

• Angled too little? If the angle is too small, the canoe will surf back to the eddyline. On your next attempt, look again for the trough line and increase your angle to ninety degrees to the wave trough.

• Paddling into the wave crest? Basically, this hump of water will push the canoe backward into the eddy. Better to aim for the wave trough and drop out of the eddy and into the depression of the trough and surf out to the main current.

eading water allows you to tap into the power of the river and use it to move your canoe. Surfing wave troughs can make peel outs easier and faster while making your turns look smooth and effortless. Choosing an exit angle of ninety degrees to the trough line is an easy and fun way to surf out of an eddy pool. Give it a try, it works every time.

R

Andrew Westwood is a frequent contributor to Rapid Mag, OC slalom competitor and an instructor at the Madawaska Kanu Centre.

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