Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stroke Critique Video

2 months ago I was filmed by my wife just going back and forth, to get a good view of my SUP stroke. My intention was to use it to get it better and work on any "kinks" in the armor...

I sent the video to some of the top paddlers in the world, in hopes they would watch it and critique me. I was prepared to not like what I heard, but I have thick skin and want to learn and get better!

The first review I got was from one of the best paddlers on the planet, but because he makes money teaching people, he didn't want his name shared with this project. But trust me, he's da man!

You need to reach more although your reach isn't bad. Try to reach forward more with your lower shoulder by twisting your upper torso more and actually extending the shoulder itself forward. From watching the video I can see that your shoulder reach isn't to bad but your not pulling it back into your shoulder socket enough. Also, loosen up your lower fore arm and wrist on the recovery and reach. To get a full extension you almost want to do a soft jab forward, like a boxing jab, to get your arm fully extended as you enter the water. One reason you might not be pulling your shoulder completely back into it's socket is that you are driving down a lot with your top hand, not really a bad thing if your doing the Hawaiian stroke, try pulling back more with less drive down to pull the shoulder more back into the socket.

The next response was from my paddle sponsor, Kialoa owner, Dave Chun...

Here is the thing about technique….it is personal. Because we are all built different, technique will vary. Main things are to engage the large muscle groups and put your body in a position of high mechanical advantage. I have watched the best outrigger paddlers for over 25 years and they all vary in technique. Often quite a bit different. What they all have in common is what they do when the blade is in the water. The blade is quiet and they pull hard.

Listen to the board. Listen to your paddle. These two things will tell you if you are paddling correctly. Different conditions call for variations in technique. The question is NOT what are YOU doing, but what is the board doing. Is the board going fast? If not change your stroke to match the conditions. Make your board go fast. Americans like to focus on themselves. The Tahitians focus on the canoe. Focus on what you are doing. My coach Kamoa Kalama used to tell us “Paddle each stroke like it is your last. Every stroke perfect.”

Focus on your catch. Do drills where you focus on setting the paddle clean…..and than pull. You are a bull. The power phase is a natural for you.

If you notice most paddlers have similar stroke rates. Ask yourself, why do some people go further with each stroke? It is all about what happens when the blade is in the water. BTW: in my opinion stroke rate is irrelevant. It is all about hull speed. Why would someone paddle at a 70 SPM if they are moving faster at a 50 SPM rate? The GPS does not lie.

Great advice from some of the best... hope this helps some other folks like it will help me....