Ok, ok, there’s no such thing as off-side, only the side that gets neglected!

So, I was trying to work on my off-side roll. And it wasn’t succeeding. One of my problem being, I don’t seem to have the same control of my paddle orientation during the sweep/scull phase. The paddle blade goes every which way!

This lead to my rather unpleasent discovery: I don’t scull well on my off-side either! The extream “cocking” of the wrist on my normal “control hand” is very uncomfortable, and felt very un-natural. I do a little better by letting my lower (left) hand do all the controling. But according to the person who’s helping me with the roll, the normal control hand should control all the time…

*** So here’s my question: which hand controls the paddle when doing off-side strokes? ***

When doing forward strokes, I was taught to open my top hand. What that implies, I realized now, is that I actually transfer the control to my lower hand, and let the paddle shaft rotate freely on my otherwise “control” hand (top hand).

That’s for forward strokes. But what about other manuvering strokes such as sweeps, or balance strokes like scull? Do you control it with your normal control hand (top hand)? Or do you let the hand closer to the water to be the “control”?

I transfer control for everything.
I know about the control everything with your control hand and I think it is nonsense. But whether you agree with that or not, do whatever feels comfortable to you and enables you to do the roll. There is not a “right” answer to the question.

Control hand
The only control hand is the hand near the water…or in this case the hand near the blade that is working ie to sweep out…any side-any stroke…

Wow! Sounds complicated!
Thanks for reminding me how much I love my GP - and don’t have to think about all that stuff!

When I get to be that good…
… I’ll then attempt class IV’s with a GP! ;o)


– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 4:29 PM EST –

It has to be the hand furthest from the boat controlling, with the other hand passive, or the paddle won't be able to be loose enough to let the paddle find its supporting surface. Doesn't matter whether it's a Euro or GP. W/my Euro I have my best sculls with the upper hand completely open and the shaft resting in the crook between my thumb and first finger, but my hand isn't closed around it at all. The diff with a GP comes in with the tendency to extend it and its shape, so while the controlling hand is still the outer one, the other hand tends to have a more felt hold on it than the virtual non-hold I described with my Euro.

Similar applies to the roll since the paddle sweep is so similar to the scull - try tightening up the wrong hand and the paddle dives and wobbles.

I am cheating royally this winter and have been bringing along my offside roll with my Euro paddle blades not being offset. I don't know yet how things will go when I try it with a 60 degree offset again (porbably soon), but others I know have said that it is no big deal to get used to that once you have the body and paddle sense down for your offside roll. I am hoping they are right. I did find that the offset paddle was not at all an issue with the offside scull as it improved late last season. Once I had the feeling down of balancing the boat and letting the blade find the supporting angles, it was pretty irrelevant what angle the controlling blade had started out at.

This may be about terminology. There is a point of view that says your dominant hand is officially always the controlling one. And in some turns it is probably an argument that could go on for a long time. But what I think of as "controlling" is the hand that is doing the most apparent work and has the greatest impact on the blade. Probably a quite incorrect idea technically.

sculls - control hand
I agree that the hand closest to the water controls the sculling action. The upper hand merely provides support. Getting both hands into the act can make for some very uncoordinated movement.

I may be misunderstanding your post as I disagree that you need a stronger hold with the upper hand with a GP when you scull. I simply open my hand and allow the blade to rest against the flat of my palm. A good image to illustrate this is http://www.qajaqusa.org/temp/sidescull2.jpg

If the conditions dictate a little more security, then I will use a loose grip but ensure that my thumb and forefinger grasp the blade.

Greg Stamer

Upper hand in the GP
I didn’t mean that I really grip it - just that since it is wider there than the shaft of my Euro I tend to have more hand in contact and so feel it more. I also have pretty small hands, so my own GP is coming in less wide than many at the end than most. If I borrow one made for a guy, I have to pay more attention to the upper hand to avoid its falling away entirely. Though it’s a good way to add a roll…

Thanks for all the inputs. I’ll give it another try with the mroe “proper” (and more natural) control. And may be, with luck, I’ll get it!