Darcy sliding a fun boof on the Cosanga
Blog Miester Liam is at it again and he's come up with a doozy on finding your perfect learning zone in kayaking.
Josh enjoying a sunny day on the Oyacachi
" Make the easy stuff hard and the hard stuff easy"
This is a great mantra to help you improve. Try practicing catching tiny eddies, small
boofs, controlled lines, etc...on a rapid/drop that your very comfortable on. Then
when it comes to the harder stuff just focus on getting down the rapid.
For optimal learning, you need to discover your own comfort zones, learning zones and panic zones on the river
In your comfort zone you are able to think a lot more clearly then when your in a state
of a anxiety/fear. You've probably experienced that things "really slow down" when you finally get comfortable/familiar with a rapid or a stretch of river. Conversely, everything is moving almost uncontrollably fast when you are out your comfort zone.
The Jackson Family Mini Cooper has nothing on Beth and the Sprinter!
How does this work in practice?
Alex with a nice self-portrait on the last rapid of the Oyacachi
Fine tuning your boof on a two foot clean ledge with a large calm pool you may
well be in your comfort zone and allowed the luxury to think this:
like to aim at that dip in the water.
* I'd would like to crank the boats
over onto a hard edge as I approach the lip
* Reach with my right arm
towards the "fall line"
* Extend my left arm
* Bring both legs up towards
* Transfer my edge so I land flattish
* Drop my left blade
into the water as to stabilize myself on landing.
Devan enjoying week 2 of paddling in Ecuador!
Now compare this to a must make 8 foot boof over a sticky hole with no
collection pool below.
Werner on the entrance of Aprodesia. He's lining up the approach so he can nail the boof over the nasty hole at the bottom. You want to be spot on here as there is only a 15 foot long pool and then another stout rapid below.
Fear and Anxiety might take over and you are left with a less useful response
that most likely sounds like this,
"shit on a stick I
need to make this boof or I'm going to swim!"
Natascha practicing on a tricky lead in to boof on the Oyacachi
Your brain now responds to this challenge by looking back into its catalog to
find the information it needs to make this boof. Your best hope the information
Jessica looking calm and collected as usual
By practicing on the the smaller, less consequential drops we can build up a
resource of information for our brains and bodies to store and for us too call upon when we
need it. Our responses to the environment (in this example the boof lip) will
become more natural. The mechanical motions your body needs to go through will
no longer be in a cognitive stage but autonomous.
Manfred, maintaining his focus on the Cheesehouse section at a pushy level
January 12th-20th brought us an Intro to Creeking IV- trip and an Advanced Creeking IV+ trip so there was plenty of opportunity for learning in Ecuador this week!
After a week of Class II/III instruction Klaus made a last minute decision
that he didn't want to leave quite yet and so on Sunday he joined the new group
to step it up a notch. We kick started the week with a stretch that's sits on
the door step of our lodge.
Throw bag games. Little did Liam know that his own creation would later cause him some sore balls...
With so many people keen to learn this week we planned clinics/discussions for
before or after the water. So on day two we kick started the day with a throw
bag clinic. To add some fun we had a throw line obstacle course competition,
The top prize was free beer so as you can imagine it got quite heated. Alex,
Devan and Joshua won their round but I was quite unwilling to give Devan his
beer as he managed to tag me in the nuts with quite a spectacular under arm
throw line shot.
The construction workers wondering what the hell the crazy gringos are doing now
After a couple days more paddling in the Quijos valley both groups headed over to Tena.
We sat on the porch with a cold beer as larry led his land based
discussion. I snuck into the group for this one. Larry's been boating hard stuff
longer then I've been alive so I'm trying to sponge as much info, knowledge and
experience out of him as I can. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a invoice for
coaching on my last day.
Emma enjoying the calm before the storm on the Rio Quijos
I owe a big thanks to the group who were very very cool
about twice getting to the Piatua to find it too high to paddle. They were
solid paddlers who went with the flow and appreciated that there are no
certainties when it comes to jungle paddling. So after a longer than
normal bus ride—that we took advantage of by having a snack and nap like little
kayaking toddlers—we headed to the bypass section of the Quijos.
Damian trying to thread the needle on the Cosanga
In a crass attempt to work her way into TWO of our blogs Jessica joined us for
the day. We named a rapid on this trip "mad dogs and Englishmen." Not one to
duck out of a challenge, I told fellow Brit Alex that the most exciting line was on
the left. 30 seconds later he was grinning wisely but swimming to the side after
'his deck popped'. All credit to him though as he front crawled to the side fast and
immediately suggested his own punishment of a bootie beer.
Alex paying his dues
More cracking days of unfamiliar hot weather in the Quijos valley helped us wrap
up the week.
A nice view of the city life in Quito's Old Town
As always a big thank you to the team.
Nice jungle AWAY from the city life!
Meanwhile, the Advanced Creeking crew was busying themselves with ticking off many of the classic IV+ runs of Ecuador--Upper Jondachi, Cheesehouse section of the Quijos, Oyacachi and Bridge to Bridge. They busied themselves with running rapids multiple times, fine tuning "advanced boof strokes" and enjoying porch side talks each evening.