Thursday, July 31, 2008


Went for a paddle today and my speed was much slower! I took 59.31min to complete my round :(
Should be a few seconds faster because I forgot which button to press haha. But 59 minutes is just unacceptable! I expereinced some discomfort in my left shoulder which contributed to the slower timing. But that means my technique is not correct!

Tried to do more skills with a wing paddle after that horrible session.

1. Cross-over hanging draw
2. Stern Rudder
3. Forward ending Sweep roll
4. C to C roll
5. Cross bow draw

The C to C roll was abit hard cos if the blade angle is slightly off, the blade would just dive. The cross bow draw felt abit odd, but then I havent tried it with a normal paddle.
And oh, cross-over hanging draw is MUCH easier!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Aid Kit

Here's a pic of my very basic First Aid Kit. This is the kit I carry with me when not coaching at Water-Venture and during my kayak trips.
The box is a sandwich sized Lock & Lock which is waterproof and floats. But I keep it in my dry bag for double protection.

Contents List
1. Sterile Gauze
2. Plasters
3. 3M Transpore tape
4. Roller bandage
5. Antiseptic Cream
6. Forceps
7. Tweezers
8. Alcohol swabs

Maybe I should add in a small bottle of axe oil in case people get sea sickness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tunnel vision

Forgot to add in my previous post that after my experimentation session with the wing paddle, I bumped into Charles while washing the kayak. I was washing my touring kayak and he noticed the wing on the ground. He asked who's it was and I pointed to myself. He then replied in a mocking, yet shocked tone, "you use brac 4 with slalom?!"

Yet another coach with a one track mind. To my readers, here's a link to Freya Hoffmeister's blog. She has circumnavigated Iceland and used an Epic wing paddle with her sea kayak for that trip.
Or jump straight to the article written by Freya here
She is sponsored by Epic, but she still chooses to use a wing instead of their euro blades for her expeditions.

Went for my 3rd SIM canoeing training. This time I felt that we were doing it right. Although warm up, still not really warm up. There was a good mix of cardio and strength training. There were 2 newbies this time but fewer people showed up. They're finally starting sea trainings and I will be joining them for the first one this Saturday!

Quite shocked to find out during dinner that they use Bracsa I and II. Those have a bigger blade area and stronger catch compared to the Bracsa IV I use.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Winging it

Used a wing paddle to do my usualy 8km route and it took me 56.22 min, 1 second shy of my fastest recorded time. However, I was trying to adapt to the new technique required to paddle with a wing.

I've heard that wings are one-trick ponies and can't do much other than paddle forward and low brace. But I managed to perform the following strokes:

1. Rolling
2. J-Draw
3. Classical Draw
4. Sculling Draw
5. Sweep stroke
6. Low Brace
7. High Brace
8. Bow Rudder
9. Hanging Draw

Doing a sweep roll was especially easy due to the lift of the wing. The paddle felt like it was stuck in concrete. On the other hand sculling for support was impossible to do with the blade constantly diving down.

I switched to a regular paddle after paddling 8km with the wing and something funny happened. The blade would "pop" out of the water during the exit phase as if there was no resistance. Can understand why people say using a standard paddle after getting used to a wing is like paddling with a wet noodle.

Borrowed Sam's paddle at 0 degree feather angle and it feels odd. Low angle paddling is fine but when I switched to high angle paddling, I just couldnt get it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Best I can afford

I really really can't justify spending $800 for the Epic paddle. Even if its the best paddle in the world, spending so much money just doesn't feel right for me.

My final choice is ONNO Paddles. It is a one man show and the guy selling the paddle to you is the guy who actually makes it. Sorta like a cottage industry. He makes the paddles individually by hand.

The design is basically a Epic rip off, but I think the ferrule system is unique. The shaft length and feather angle are adjustable.

Will be getting a carbon/glass composite blade with 205cm-215cm adjustment and will be requesting that the blade tips be reinforced.
Here's what the blade looks like.

Reviews say this blade has a strong dihedral, which would explain why they never flutter. But other high end blades tend to lose the dihedral in favour of smoother strokes.

Oh well, I'll take a gamble for this one. Besides, its US$250, much cheaper than the Epic or Werner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This time, canoeing training was not that strenous on the muscles but seemed to focus more on cardio. We had to run round a track and I could feel that burning sensation in my chest and stitch that I always get when I run. Luckily the stitch went away after a while. But I just cant stand that burn in my chest, damn it. My mind is still fresh but my body just cant take it. Must really look like I chao keng because I dont look tired after my heart rate lowers.
Seriously need to work on my cardio fitness.
But, I disagree with the training method leh. Training that time cannot laugh. I thought the whole point of training in a group is to make it fun. Then the guy leading training has an elitist attitude. Saying things like "if you fall out now you are a loser" and "go away I dont want to see you" when someone couldnt take it anymore.Group trainings are perfect for supporting each other, but that certainly isn't supportive at all.

On another note, I would like to thank some awesome paddlers. They are Enric, Jun Bin and Yong Hui for sharing their knowledge. Especially to Jun Bin and Yong Hui for helping someone you've never even met.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jack of All Trades

Just today, I completed a 1 Star Course for canoe polo players and competitive canoeists from Ngee Ann Poly. These 2 days really proved me right regarding my theory that coaches should be trained in multiple disciplines.
Instead of simply teaching the participants the skills, knowledge in the various paddling disiciplines enables a coach to relate to them helping them understand the techniques and why they are being taught that way.
For example, the J-Draw and Classical Draw. You would not recommend a classical draw to a polo player, it is simply not aggressive enough.
Also, multi-disicipline knowledge will allow the coach to give examples of situations where the paddlers can apply their skills. Like in the case of the low brace, where canoe polo players can brace themselves after being tackled.

That being said, Im glad I joined the SIM canoeing team to broaden my knowledge.

On another note, Aaron told me that there are T1s and some wing paddles left behind in the boat shed at Water-Venture Kallang. Woohoo! will probably be taking one out to try on Wednesday.

Also tried Sam's all carbon Epic paddle today. There was a distinct blade flutter when I tried to pump the paddle, this is definately not a forgiving blade design due to the mild dihedral. Not a paddle for sudden bursts of speed.
Cant afford, or rather cant justify paying $900 for a full carbon Epic paddle, maybe I'll get a Werner Ikelos for $700 with a moderate dihedral. Not sure if I should settle for the $700 fiberglass carbon composite Epic.
Another gripe is the foam core makes the blade very buoyant and feels like it wants to pop out of the water at the end of the stroke. Very weird feeling.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Joined in the SIM Canoeing club's training yesterday evening. Wah, very shag. Run abit, do static exercises then run again. Very tough on the heart, can feel the strain on the final run back. Seriously need to work on my cardio...

There was alot of emphasis on bicep, tricep and middle back. I feel that we should be working on our core which would aid in balance and body rotation when paddling. The only thing strenous in paddling would be having to hold up the paddle outstretched in front of you so vertically for the entire distance you are paddling.

That aside, the people are really nice. Finally get to make some new friends in SIM. I made the right choice in joining the club.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ah Crap...

I just did a route calculation with Google Earth with their newly updated maps which include the construction at Kallang. It is only 8km, 2km shy of my original estimate of 10km.

Average timings for 10km races are about 57min to 58min. Although I must consider that the timings are of competitive canoeists in K1 kayaks using carbon wing paddles. I use a touring kayak and a heavy training canoe polo paddle, but would a change in equipment lead to covering an additional 2km distance within my usual timing?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Silent Stroke

No.. Im not talking about heart stopping moments :D
Today I went down to paddle my usual long distance route. Took me 57.21min to complete the circuit. Instead of trying to power my way through the distance, I decided to focus more on my forward stroke technique instead.
Maybe its because I got my groove on, but I managed to significantly reduce the splashing of water during my blade entry. Whats more, it did not seem so strenuous.
Im slowly seeing progress... Hopefully, joining the SIM canoeing club's sea trainings will lead to more improvement.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Freshmen Orientation Training

The SIM canoeing club's freshmen orientation training will be held next Monday! Woohoo.. finally get to join. Abit worried though, my fitness sucks. I have been nua-ing since I ORD.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


If you've been following the news recently, you would have seen or heard that Levin Angsana an SMU student fell off a 24ft keelboat during training and went missing. He was found dead a few days later.

Now those w/o knowledge of the sport will quickly say that he should have worn a lifejacket or PFD. However, it is not a rule or regulation to wear one while training or racing. Just like how you do not wear a lifejacket when you board the bum boat to Ubin or any of the Southern Islands.

Why did National sailor Renfred Tay jump in?
The victim attempted to climb back up but failed. Wouldn't it have been better for the EXPERIENCED national sailor to stay onboard and take helm? Ordering the crew to throw the victim a lifebuoy (not lifejacket) when he failed to climb aboard while he performed a man-overboard drill.

Anyone who is lifesaving trained would know that what Renfred did was very risky. What ever happened to "Reach, Throw, Row"? As a non-swimmer the victim could have panicked and dragged both himself and Renfred down to the bottom. Drowning the hero wanna-be.

Who's fault?
If I were to blame anyone, I would blame it on the NSAs. All they do these days is try to promote their sport to amass numbers and get funding from the government. Giving attitude when other sports get equal shots at glory.

Why do I blame them?
For this simple reason, after making the sport more accessible they impose rules and regulations instead of promoting personal responsibility and using education.

For those who didnt read the report, the victim was putting in more hours, training to be a skipper. If he had any personal responsibility, he would have at least learnt how to swim!
The requirement to get the Sailing Level 1 is to swim 50m with a PFD. But you have to remember that you don't wear one on the keelboat.
He was a liability to all aboard the vessel.

And in typical cowboy, free-world fashion, his sister is planning on taking action against SMU. Oh, come on. Please don't make Singapore intoone of those places where you get sued for every damn thing.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Here's an alternative folding kayak.

The Folbot Kiawah. Its 4.04m long. Should be more than enough... Or should I get the 5m version?

Costing much lesser at USD$1695

The drawback would be the oversized cockpit.