Anyone who has taken a paddling course with me has heard me say it dozens of times. It has probably started off with some schmarmy preamble about how we are moving water paddlers because we are lazy and want to go down hill rather than on the flat (or uphill for you Wannipetei-ers), but the point always comes back to trying work less, to work smarter on the river.
There is a misconception about paddling in a rapid that one has to paddle like mad at all times as if we were somehow going to overpower the water. This may work for a jet boat, but I’ve never noticed any powerful spray from the back of my canoe no matter how hard I work. This concept puts us in competition with the water, one that we will always lose. At the end of the day we are tired, sore and beaten, and probably a little frustrated by what we have chosen to do for recreation.
Less is more is a way of approaching the river not as adversary but as an ally, a tandem partner if you will. It is a way of utilizing river features to take you where you want to go with minimal effort.
Another thing you will have heard from me is to watch good paddlers paddle. They don’t look like they are working at all and, in fact, they are not really working very hard. They are working smart. By approaching the river and it’s features as an ally, they are using the river’s energy rather than their own to get where they want to go.
In the Less is More series of instructional posts I will examine what those good paddlers are doing and not doing, how they are working smart and how they are making difficult moves look effortless and so simple while the rest of us are still struggling to get out of the eddy. We will see how to use the water to our advantage and not be in a battle against the river, and when it is time to work hard and when it is time to relax and let the water do the work for us.
It is the new year, a time for resolutions, and with the days now getting longer the days of spring boating will be upon us before we know it, so resolve to use this series to tweak your paddling for the upcoming season.
I love to hear what you think about the posts, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on what you would like to see here, how it can be improved, whatever comes to mind.
And remember, I am now offering video coaching for those things you are struggling to work out or plateaus you cannot seem to step beyond.