Sunday, September 28, 2008

Broken Paddle

Today was the 2nd and last session of the 1 Star Kayaking course for SIM ODAC and Canoeing Club. Actually, there's only 4 canoeing club members in the course. Haha.

Well, it was quite an enjoyable 2 days, although I think I talked abit too much.
The funniest thing happened while we were paddling towards the Benjamin Sheares bridge. I was trying to splash water on the participants when my paddle blade snapped! Paddled around for a while with that broken paddle. It didn't affect much cos the participants were tired out from a mass capsize which slowed them down considerably.

Rest of the pictures are here

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dark Arts and Onno

In my attempt to master the dark art of rolling, I went down to Kallang today. Well, the main reason for going down was to test out my new Onno paddle. It actually feels like a wing, there really is no flutter but the paddle seems to grip the water quite late into the stroke. Will have to use it more often to really get the feel of it.

Of course, I couldn't resist an opportunity to roll. Tried the elbow roll and I managed to do it twice out of about 10+ times. Awesome! The success rate isn't that high at about 20%, but at least I know its possible! Need to work on it more often...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Went down to Macritchie today for some practice in a K1. At first I started out using the K1 without a seat, it was very stable. I could even sprint in it. Later on, Clarence had some difficulty and we decided to switch boats. I took his which had a seat and started to paddle around. Still a little shaky but a huge improvement compared to my last session where I could barely move 50m. This time around I managed to paddle about 1.5km in all.

At last... My paddle has arrived

My Onno Paddle has finally arrived. Its so light, I find it hard to believe it is a carbon/fiberglass composite.
What I find really cool though is the locking mechanism. Its just a little lever. And when my father can get mesmerized and amazed by that little contraption, its definately good (:
The shaft comes with a wet sanded feel which is better than the smooth shaft on the usual Bracsa wing paddles. Everything else is basically the same though, the blades are the size of the Bracsa I and might be too big for expeditions. However, changing my paddling style and improving my fitness will allow me to adapt to the blade.

Here are the pictures:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yes, more new stuff

"Men were born with a hole in their hearts, a hole so deep that nothing will satisfy his hunger for territory, power and greed." - Fairy tale from Hellboy 2

Check out the latest piece of gear issued to me. A racing lifevest sponsored by SIM!
The best thing about it? Its RED!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Die die also must paddle

When I woke up this morning the sky was dark and a cold wind was blowing in through the window. It soon started to drizzle and an sms to Junsheng confirmed that training has been postponed till tmr morning.
I went back to sleep and woke up an hour later when the sun started to shine again, took my stuff and went down to kallang for my own training.

Using a T1 and wing paddle, I went about paddling my usual 8km route. I only managed to help reduce my timing by 3 minutes. I expected a much bigger decrease in timing. Lousy improvement could be due to my lack of balance in an abeam sea. The waves were hitting me perpendicular to my kayak and it affected my stability. Its hard to go all out when you're more concerned about staying upright.

Switched to a Turbo afterwards and paddled another 3km. Did a few hand rolls and tried the elbow roll. Showing signs of improvement with the elbow roll, at least I can get my body up close enough to the surface and get a breath of air when previously I could not even bring my body any where near the surface.
The trick seems to be to float the body close to the surface before sweeping the body while doing a hip flick.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Round and Round We Go!

Last Sunday, I kayaked round Ubin with Lawrence and Sam. This turned out to be a bad idea. I had canoeing club training just the day before and my body was still exhausted. My muscles were aching and my shoulders were sore. Yet, I went ahead with the journey.
It was one hell of a paddle, the sea was glassy and there was no wind at the beginning, with temperatures hitting 34 degrees celsius. It got cooler as we rounded the eastern end of Pulau Ubin and the following seas helped ease our paddling.
But alas, all good things come to an end. Soon we were paddling against the wind and it was torture! My aching body and sore shoulder didn't help much.
The journey was soon over in 4 hours and we were all glad to be back at the beach.

I went round Ubin again today. This time, I had given myself ample rest... Its Aaron's final paddling trip before he gets enlisted in the army and things were going well at first. But once we rounded Tajam beacon, the winds picked up and it was insane! The boat kept weather-cocking. I switched to a low angle paddling style and it helped alittle. There was improvement as we only took 3hrs to complete the journey. Phew!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I've got you now!

It seems that the thing affecting my paddling technique is my stomach and core muscles. Junsheng mentioned in the last training session that I tend to unwind my body too early.
That was merely a symptom. The reason for this? My stomach and core muscles aren't strong enough, I tried paddling slow, pausing just before the beginning of each stroke, making sure my body does not unwind until the blade is fully submerged. What I noticed was me being unable to hold that position for long. My more powerful muscles are weak. Damn, I need to go back to my daily fitness regime.
My right arm is also too low, a bad habit for the lower angle paddling style I'm used to. This explains why my boat tends to move off course after a while.

Also said "Hi" to a caucasian guy paddling around Kallang in a surf ski. Cool. Didn't realise there was more than 1 surf ski in Kallang.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What to do?

When conducting introductory 1 Star courses, I find it best to start with the capsize and wet exit. My personal feeling is that it gets the fear out of the way. Its kinda hard to teach the students when they are afraid of capsizing.
Getting them wet from the get-go should give them a teeny weeny bit more confidence. It wont crush their fears totally, but at least somewhere in their minds is the knowledge of what to do in event of a capsize.

However, coaching at certain places such as Paddlers' Gateway can pose a challenge. The launch site is small. Worse still, its in the wakeboarding/water-skiing area. So teaching the wet-exit there would be inconsiderate, since I would be blocking up the entire safe launching area. Also, the wake from the speed boat zipping around does add to the fear of the participants.

In cases like these, I just briefly tell the participants what to do in event of a capsize and get them paddling over to a safer, more condusive location.

But, what then if there's a participant who isn't really good with coordination and just cant seem to paddle straight?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Heard from my fellow Recreational Dragonboat Coaching Coursemates that they have recieved the certificates in the mail last week. Unfortunately, I have not recieved anything. Im guessing I failed.
Will have to check and see if everyone got their certs or if it is just me. Its very possible that they saw a lack of skill/confidence on my part. But it is quite a coincidence I failed.
Afterall, I was the one who sent an email regarding the reckless behaviour of the Honourary Secretary of the SDBA during the coaching course to the National Water Safety Council.