Blooper moment



I suppose we all have a few blooper moments that will stick with us always.
In 8th or 9th grade, we were living in NJ and my dad and I took our big Grumman out on the opening day of fishing season. After a few hours of no action, we decided to bug out. I was in the front, and as we approached the shoreline I hopped out and hauled the bow of the boat a couple of feet up on a moderately steep bank. It never occurred to me that staying upright in a canoe with the stern floating freely in the water and the bow resting on the acute angle of the keel line was like balancing on a knife edge. I can still clearly see the slo-mo image of my dad rolling over into the lake, and I can hear his rather animated declaration that my knowledge of physics was severely lacking.


“A few”??

When I am my wife first got into kayaking I wanted to learn as much as I could so getting real familiar with capsizing was just part of the process. “A few” meaning several hundred times for me.
My sister goes up to Alaska on trips and her kayaking instructor told me over the phone that if I wanted to learn fast I must not fear swimming or getting wet. “Learn edging in reverse” is how he put it to me. What he said was to edge past the point of no return, slowly and purposely capsize when ever get a new kayak, and do it many dozens of times. First, it’s teaching the vital skill of wet reentry because you must do it every time. Secondly when you edge over slowly but completely you learn where that point of no return is, and also how to counter with thigh pressure and with paddle blade braces.
So going in and THEN learning how not to-- is faster and better then edging over to a point you try not to go in and never push past the point of comfort.

Many (if not most) paddlers don’t really want to push their comfort zone past their threshold of competence and so such an approach is not for all students. But for the maximum amount of learning is the shortest time, pushing past the point of failure is far better and faster then easing into it over months or years.
I was immersed into that kind of training and mindset in the Military and it’s a familiar method to me. That’s why we used safety and rescue equipment. The idea of pushing PAST the point of your own competency is the best way to push that point of incompetency farther and farther away.

The idea is not “how close can I get to failure?”

It’s “how many times must I fail to push that point a lot farther away, and how far away can I push it”?

So it may be a ‘blooper’ in the filming process, but I don’t think it is in the learning process---- and I for one will never laugh at someone who capsizes trying to gain more skill.

In shooting you learn from the misses, not the hits.
In rock climbing you learn how to climb better by falling at times.
In fighting arts you fight someone better then you.
In endurance training you press to the point of muscle failure.

So I believe my sisters instructor (Randy) is correct. In kayaking you must not fear swimming or capsizing. Do it and do it and do it ----until you get better and better and better.

If you ever get “good enough” you’ll stop learning and advancing exactly at that point.


You hit right on. If you don’t get wet, you’re not learning efficiently. I been aggressively testing my point of no return on this with edging turns.

I really want to work on my rolls next!

Too much edge for this paddler’s skill level. Seated with an upright posture and/or an effective low brace would have made this simple maneuver look easy.

If this “blooper” was not done while practicing upon being introduced to edging during a formal class, I recommend taking a couple ACA or BC kayak skills classes. Be sure to ask the instructor to cover low braces.

Agree with above, you gotta be ready to go over. Kayaking is a water sport so getting wet is part of the fun. Learning a solid brace means “having” to roll is a seldom needed skill, albeit a fun one to learn and be solid completing when needed, usually in bouncy conditions.

I agree that you learn and gain comfort and skill so much faster by consistently finding the limit and pushing that limit. I cheated a bit learning edge control as I learned to roll first thing when I started kayaking. Edge control took a lot longer for me to develop well, but recoveries from capsize were quick and easy.
The thing I noticed here is blade angle control. There was no paddle blade support because the blade was vertical instead of in a planing position. You couldn’t sweep the blade for support for the same reason.
Learning a feel for blade angle and support while you’re upsidedown, sideways, and upright is a big part of the rolling skill set. Recovering gracefully and confidently from beyond the balance point has a lot in common with rolling.