The Kayaking Learning Curve--Find Your "Zone"
Blog Miester Liam is at it again and he's come up with a doozy on finding your perfect learning zone in kayaking.
" 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.
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.
How does this work in practice?
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:
* I'd 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 my stomach.
* Transfer my edge so I land flattish
* Drop my left blade into the water as to stabilize myself on landing.
Now compare this to a must make 8 foot boof over a sticky hole with no collection pool 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!"
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 is there!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More cracking days of unfamiliar hot weather in the Quijos valley helped us wrap up the week.
As always a big thank you to the team.
Small World Adventures