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7 8

Find Your Own Lines

“Figure out your own line down,” says big drop phenom,

Tyler Bradt. “Don’t always depend on other paddlers to show you the lines and lead you through the rapid.”

Hit Eddies High

Must-make eddies are a critical part of paddling class IV and above. Turn quickly

and stay high in the eddy by using a Duffek stroke. The Duffek acts as a brake, halting your downstream and lateral momentum, so make sure you plant it inside the eddy. Punch the eddyline and edge upstream while rotating your head and torso upstream. Plant your upstream blade vertically, in front of your knee with an open blade angle. Then, unwind your torso, whipping the boat around and turning the Duffek into a forward stroke to stick your position in the eddy.

11 Film Yourself

2011 Grand Prix champion and freestyle prodigy, Dane Jackson suggests filming yourself on the river. “It’s one of the most effective ways to improve, especially when you are learning a new trick,” he says. “You can watch it and see what you are doing wrong.”


Stop Paddling So Hard

There’s a good reason why the best boaters make it look

easy—they work with the water rather than against it. Develop your river reading skills and place your boat onto the most helpful currents and waves to assist your maneuvers. When exiting eddies, look for a wave trough that meets the eddyline and angles downstream away from the eddy pool. If a good trough is present, you don’t need much momentum. Relax, fall onto the trough and let the wave do the work. Remember to fix your angle perpendicular to the trough line, not the eddyline and you won’t have to paddle nearly as hard.


Paddle With Better Boaters “Don’t be intimidated

by better boaters—just push in and join them,” says seasoned expedition kayaker, Maxi Kniewasser. “Buy them a round of beers—that’s often all it takes to be accepted by a new crew.”


Opportunities to use this technique come up all the time and mastering it is critical to creeking success. Drops that end with frothy, aerated water offer softer landings, making them perfect for boofing. Hit green water with a flat boat and it’s your spine that winds up absorbing most of the impact. Once you’ve found the ideal drop for a boof, start by approaching with speed, aimed off-center in order to clear the hole at the bottom. Plant a power stroke right at the lip of the drop and thrust your hips forward as you pull on your paddle to lift the bow of your boat. Upon landing, be prepared with a brace for stability and a forward stroke to pull you away from the sticky water. 37

Go Long

“Run longer sections of rapids without stopping in each

eddy to reassess the line,” says open boat legend Mark Scriver. “It will develop your boat scouting skills, your reaction time and your conditioning.”



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