Monday, December 31, 2007

Greenland style handroll

Check out how this guy does his handroll.
Note the pause before he rolls up and the position that he is in. That position is known as the balance brace position. I don't know for sure, but I think we would be able to float up higher since the buoyancy vest we wear gives us some floatation to float up to the surface.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Learn to walk before you run

A few months ago I successfully completed a hand roll with my right hand. At that time all I had was youtube and a website that had a write up of a hand roll technique with influence from greenland style kayaking.

Using information from the article and videos on youtube, I unconsciously developed a 1 hand, hand roll. Amazing. Unlike other articles which show pictures of the paddler using both hands to provide resistance for the hip flick.

Going along that line, I tried that 1 hand technique for my left side. Or as the americans like to say in the forums I frequent, the "off side". Since the hip flick on my off side is not as powerful as my right, I had difficulty doing a roll.

I was having a chat with David about hand rolling and he mentioned how he needed both hands to do a hand roll. It was then that I had an epiphany. I decided to try a hand roll on my left side with BOTH hands! I tried it and it worked! haha.. a simple solution to my troubles.

Now I can do a hand roll on both sides! Hell yeah!

Hand rolling articles

1 handed roll.

2 handed roll

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Failed 1 Star?

Just completed another 1 Star course, this time at Sarimbun. The course was conducted for 14 scouts from Swiss Cottage Secondary and they're attitudes are horrible! They take incredibly long to get work done and we barely have enough time to cover the skills. Worse still, the second day was cut short by foul weather.
Well, I guess it serves them right that they couldn't complete the course and will have to come back another day.

This is a first for me. At least now I'll know how to handle courses if the participants are unable to complete the requirements.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Alternative rescue techniques

The common rescue techniques taught are,
  1. TX Rescue
  2. Rafted TX Rescue
  3. Eskimo Bow
  4. Eskimo Paddle
I believe that we should learn more techniques, just in case.

Below are videos of the Bow Roll and Hand of God rescue.

  1. Fast set up, just grab victim's bow
  1. Might be difficult with rounded hulls (eg. bandits, dancers)

  1. Can be used after failed positioning for Eskimo bow rescue
  2. Fast set up, just get alongside victim's kayak
  1. Might have problem if victim is bigger
  2. Failed attempt leads to victim falling back into water, possibly when gasping for air
Personally, I feel that the Eskimo paddle rescue is quite dangerous, especially when you have panicky victims. Even if the victim has 2 Star certification, it is risky since the natural tendency is to grab your hand as you lead theirs to the paddle shaft.
And it doesn't end there, with the paddles across, the distance between the 2 kayaks are very short, there is a possibility of the victim hitting his head on your kayak as he rolls himself up.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Signed my 1st batch of certificates!

Conducted my first 1 Star course as a full fledged instructor over the recent weekend. Combined the class with a more experienced instructor, Derek. Very laid back kinda guy who is quite open, probably due to his time in NZ while pursuing his degree.
His style is similar to Stanley's and different from the norm. We taught almost everything in the syllabus on the first day, leaving only the classical draw, stern rudder and low support recovery for the 2nd day.

Lesson's learnt?
1. This lesson plan is ideal for spring tides.
2. Be very friendly and open.
3. Praise participants for effort, use words like "awesome" or "well done"
4. Avoid being too army-like
5. New technique to prepare for capsize which involves participants doing dry runs for exiting the kayak on the beach.
6. Alternative technique to get into kayak. Instead of hands on the coaming, hands can be on aft deck of resucer and own kayak, legs in cockpit and push self up onto aft deck of own kayak. Slide into cockpit as per normal.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Future

Looks like 2008 will be an interesting year for my kayaking life. First off, I plan to go round Ubin within a day, in fact, I hope to complete it in 4hours. At 22km, this would be my longest day expedition so far.
In March, the ventures are conducting a Kayaking Expedition To Sisters aka KETS.
Hopefully, I can get some money from Scout HQ to conduct a Round Singapore Expedition to be held over 3 days.

3 expeditions, of increasing difficulty with a combined distance of close to 200km!!!

3 steps closer to paddling to a foreign land in 2009, hopefully I can make it to the equator by then.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New coaching experience

Chee Hwa asked me to help conduct an orientation programme for a school camp at Jalan Bahtera MOE on Friday.
So I went down to help and of course, earn some extra cash. $130 for a day's work. A damn good deal!

SOTs were used for the orientation, a first for me. Having only conducted courses for SINKs. I left the morning session to Charles, him being more experienced in both coaching and in local knowledge of the area.
Learnt tactics to deal with SOTs and entertained the participants for 2.5hrs. Basically, only needed to teach forward and reverse paddling, emergency halt and sweep strokes for steering.
Made them do the usual raft up and have everyone stand up on the kayak, plus the popular all-in capsize.
Easy work, with good money...
Chee Hwa said there's quite a demand for kayaking instructors or KIs as they call it there. Hopefully I can teach at MOE Jalan Bahtera at least 4 times a week after I ORD. That's $520 a week and adds up to $2080 a month! KA-CHING$$$

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Danger in Kallang

Date: 30th October 2007
Time: 1530hrs
Weather: Cloudy & Sunny
Tide: 2.3 mtr (ebbing)
Location: Marina Reservoir
100 to 200 mtrs from Marina Barrage
Water condition: Calm

2 of our Kayakers rented 2 kayaks from 1330hrs to 1630hrs, both are 1 star holder. At that time they were paddling at the above location with that condition. They have already paddled out of the demarcated area for 1 star holder.
Sudden change of condition, water became choppy & under water current built up and draw them towards the only open gate of the Marina Barrage. Due to the funnel effect, also the 4th hour of ebbing tide & only 1 open gate, the current became very strong.
The 2 Kayakers tried to paddle away from the Barrage but they capsized in state. Next moment they were drawn & flushed out of the Barrage together with the kayaks & paddles. They tried to grab on to the gate but failed.
Luckily they have their PFD on all the while, next they found themselves floating in the sea apart. They swam towards each other & floated for about 30 mins before rescue came.
Thunderstorm started at 1600hrs in the Marina Barrage region & club still do not know that this incident have happened.
The 2 Kayakers & 1 kayak were pick up by a foreign boat, then were transferred to Coastguard boat. The Coastguard bought them to the shore, giving them S$20.00 to take a cab back to club.
They arrived back to club at about 1630hrs. When the storm subside @ 1700 hrs the Safety boat were launched to conduct a check.

Condition of Kayakers,
Kayaker 1 - Slight scratches on both hands, no major injuries.
Kayaker 2 - Badly scratched on both hands & arms, no major injuries.


We need your assistant, please help to inform your participants about the danger being near the Barrage regardless of 1 star, 2 star or how many stars. Danger will be danger, we can't change it. All have to keep at least 500 mtrs away from the Barrage.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trick Roll

Had to go down to Kallang to submit forms and make copies of my certificates to apply for my Level 1 Coaching Certification. Decided to play a little bit in the water.

Lotsa dragon boats so I went to the beach along the park to practice my handrolls! Haha, so after a few rolls, I decide to try the "dry cap hand roll". Its a hand roll where you capsize holding the cap in your right hand, pass it over to the left hand when you're upside down and do a roll up, all while keeping the cap above the water's surface.

A really good party trick.

As luck would have it, it rained VERY heavily after I showered and I couldn't walk to the hawker centre.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I know what you did last weekend...

I am of course happy to have passed my Level 1 Coaching Assessment.
Having a nice assessor who was a Scout certainly helped. It was even better when half the class were Scouts and the other half were nice adults.

I kinda screwed up on the first day though, I got nervous and skipped the niceties. I introduced myself, asked where the people were from and went on to start the lesson.
And boy was I sweating buckets!

Missing out major portions of the lesson such as forward paddling and neglecting to brief the participants on the risks involved, I barely survived the first day.
Thank goodness for the briefing by the assessor, Vincent, after the first day.

I was feeling quite pathetic and down the 2nd day, however, it changed when I started injecting humour into my lesson and things started to flow better. Restarting my whole lesson, it ended up being sort of like a 1 day crash course for the participants.
I didnt really bring them far out due to some paddlers who didn't seem confident for a longer journey, but I guess they all enjoyed themselves.

The thing I feel best about is helping one participants overcome if only a little, his phobia of the water. He managed to do his capsize drill! Luckily he was a nice guy and teaching him wasn't very hard to do.
And of course I must thank Vincent for teaching me the incredible trick for helping participants who have difficulty doing the capsize drill. Teaching me even when I was doing my assessment!

Lots of tips and tricks learnt from him. I better write it down somewhere and accumulate them to pass on in future.


I passed my coaching assessment! Im now a Level 1 Coach!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cheapskate Paddler

As a 2 STAR paddler, you're now going for more expeditions and spending more time in the sport.
So here's a how to article.

How to have essential gear for kayaking and not burn a hole in your wallet.

1. Footwear
I strongly advise paddlers not to wear slippers. You have trouble keeping them on and may lose them when you capsize. Walking around barefoot might get you injured and its worse if you haven't had a tetanus jab in the last 5 years.
Sandals are better, but they still leave a large portion of your feet exposed. However, I believe they are adequate for paddling in Singapore.

If you'd like, a pair of low cut wetsuit boots only cost about $22 and can be bought at Beach Road Army Market. Avoid those with the bungee/elastic cord at the ankle. The bungee can get caught in the foot pedals of the kayak. High cut ones cost more and have a zip at the side. Sand tends to jam the zip and requires you to rinse with water to get it free, so I'd recommend low cut boots.

2. Sun Protection
This comes in the form of hat, sunglasses and sunblock.
Let's talk about hats first, they block out 50% of UV light entering your eyes, so wearing one while paddling can save your eyes!
Baseball caps with a peak in front only shield your face, leaving your ears and the back of your neck exposed.
Consider a wide brimmed hat, aka jungle hat.
Commonly found at beach road and available in all sorts of camouflage designs, black, blue and khaki.
The camouflage ones are free, for guys in the army who have e-mart credits. Hehe... The rest of us will have to part with $8 for one.

Next up, sunglasses. Not a necessity, but they block out 95% of the remaining 50% of UV rays still entering your eyes if you wear a hat.
What's more, a pair of polarized sunglasses cost as little as $20 and can be found at petrol stations with many designs to choose from too.

Ahh... we now come to sun block. How many of you actually apply sunblock before paddling? Consider Banana Boat's Sport series. They are waterproof and sweat resistant. It is best to get one with a SPF 30 rating.
$16.90 at most pharmacies.

3. Clothing
Avoid cotton, it sucks away body heat 25 times faster when its wet. Not a good thing if the weather turns foul during a kayaking expedition. Get yourself a wicking shirt like Nike's Dri-fit or Adidas's ClimaCool. Reebok has Play-dry which is cheaper at about $29.
Please don't wear singlets, they provide zero coverage and expose you to wind chill.
Event tees are now usually quick dry type, so if you participate or volunteer your services for triathlons, marathons or adventure races you can get a free shirt which you can use for paddling.

4. Hydration
Want an alterative to Nalgene bottles popular with the outdoors fanatics?

A Gatorade bottle with the slightly wider mouth is hardy and easier to clean compared to the flimsy pepsi bottles. Unfortunately they only come in 700ml bottles. At around $2 a bottle that's 10 times less than a Nalgene, plus you get a sports drink!

Floating hat modification

I recently "modded" a jungle hat that I've been using for kayaking. Since the hat has survived, sun, sea and washing machine cycles to become well seasoned, I don't really want to lose it. Even if it only cost me $7 and is easily replaced.

Most of us know that when a cap or hat drops into the sea, it floats for a while, before sinking into the abysmal depths of the ocean. An offering to King Neptune.

So... to get to the point, I "modded" the hat with a little fishing net float that cost 15 cents. I got this float from a wholesaler opposite The Concourse near the Malay Heritage Centre.
They come in a many different shapes and sizes too.

Here are some pics.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

New Blog! :)

Hey folks! This will be my kayaking blog, mostly to document my personal progress in the sport as well as share my stories and pictures of the little day trips I like to go on when I'm free.