Saturday, 25 August 2012

The freestyle quest

I’m not sure that 6 months ago I was even certain what freestyle kayaking was.  Now I am a little bit obsessed. 

It all started with those in Shetland getting me to try stern squirts and has now escalated…..  About 2 weeks ago I got my hands on my baby boat (a rash eBay purchase) and now spend hours watching videos on YouTube and just itching to go to Scapa to practice.  I think it might be some kind of drug.

Why freestyle?  Well, I suppose it is a discipline with clear and defined challenges.  You can either bow stall or you can’t.  It is obvious if you are cartwheeling or if you are not.  I suppose there is a little thing to work towards every session and that in itself is rewarding.  On a more practical basis, I can sling my playboat in the van and get to the water with no assistance, I don’t need anyone to hold my hand while I practice and an hour on the water every couple of days is just right for (very) incremental improvement, while offering me my boating fix and letting me still have an ‘evening’ at home.

  The first steps – trying to l learn to stern squirt at Scapa - 26th June 2012

 Playing on the eddyline at the Garry - 31st june 2012

The Falls of Firth – 10th July 2012

  The Wall, The Tay at Stanley – 9th August 2012

My progress in freestyle has been somewhat slow to say the least.  Firstly, I am limited to flatwater moves as, well, all we have is flatwater and my coaching comes from YouTube and comments on photos from my friends on Facebook!  It feels like a bit of a lonely road….

I think, however, that I am making very slow progress, although I am impatient for more dramatic results.  I also struggle with the transition of the theoretical understanding to the practical execution.  It is not that I don’t know what I am supposed to do, I just find it hard to do what I am supposed to do (even if I think I am doing it!).  Perhaps I shouldn’t expect instant results when I have only had my playboat for 2 weeks and 2 days!

The other day Mackayak and I took some footage to try and help me improve and there is a lot of improving to be done!  I am hoping that my two days with Sam Ward from Live it Love it in October will help…..  Until then, back to Scapa….

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