Summer 2013 Is Underway

posted Jun 29, 2013, 4:36 PM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Jun 29, 2013, 8:52 PM ]
Just before the Solstice, I attended SSTIKS, traveling to Twanoh Stae Park on Hood Canal solo. I took instruction on rolling and a refresher class on First Aid, with some emphasis on the paddling/camping environment. The refresher was a useful followup to last winter's WFA course. This article is not intended as a description of SSTIKS, just what I was up to. However, I must mention that SSTIKS is fun, great for kids, offers plenty of instructional and other opportunities for everyone, and is 110% worthwhile.
SSTIKS Tent in Background
Dubside (white kayak) Back Up With Brick

My first rolling session at SSTIKS saw me make some progress toward layback rolls. In the afternoon session, I was fairly tired and unfortunately regressed, but took away some useful perspective on what I was doing wrong. On the second day of SSTIKS, my rolling instructor thought that the inflexibility of my lower back (due to a destroyed disk from a skiing mishap 30+ years ago) would make success at a layback roll unlikely. She chose to move me toward a storm roll, which proved an unsuccessful ploy and probably a mistake for this old guy. The storm roll was not intuitive and the attempt was too much too fast. Nevertheless, I left SSTIKS somewhat encouraged and with a progress plan. I started down that path yesterday (June 28) and felt satisfied with my performance. My static brace (with paddle float) and subsequent move to the back deck became more solid. Once this becomes somewhat automatic, I'll ditch the float.

Last summer Matt Davidson and I partnered up to practice (Matt) and attempt (me) forward finishing rolls. Matt's rolls on both sides became solid and consistent. By the end of last summer, I was no longer disoriented when upside down in the water, a really key evolution. We were working on a forward finishing roll, but not a storm roll. My major flaw was lifting my head early, dooming the roll up - my body would not listen to my brain's directions. I practiced this head-last motion in the off season on land. After the static braces yesterday, I tried a forward finishing roll and came close with decent haed positioning. Now my problem was failing to drop the off knee and drive with the other. I stated to matt beforehand that I wanted to do a wet exit upon failure, my first in this kayak. That went well as usual.

My progress, if any, toawrd a roll will be blogged as the summer goes on. My goals are a layback roll and a forward finishing roll on one side. I think off side rolls are too optimistic to pursue yet.