Old Habits Are Hard To Break!

So I found out that old habits are hard to break, even after 4 1/2 days of instruction. Originally my plan was to recert (level 2 ww )and work on my roll (with replaced hips, because inconsistant rolling has kept me from level 3 ww certif.). Unfortunately, one of the aca’s instructor trainers couldn’t make it (family health crisis) so it turned into just instruction not evaluation/recert. I knew this beforehand and opted to go anyway and work on skills (with friends and an instructor) rather than cancel the trip.

Four of us spent a half day on roll instruction (day 1). I got some really good reinforcement and new to me visualizations (look at your watch, pizza hands, trailing hand to shoulder etc) for my sweep roll. I purposely did the rolling in my more difficult to roll ww boat (diesel). I made progress and my rotation did improve a bit. I have a bad habit of rotating only 1/2 way and then wanting to throw in a low brace and muscle up. My c1 roll is in my long term muscle memory and wants to creep back into my kayak roll. So the paid instruction was of real benefit.

On day two, me and a bud worked on teaching criteria for level 2 and 3 ww with Scott Fisher. We revisted rolling, did stroke practice, rescues, peelouts, and eddy turns. We did some modeling and shared our teaching techniques and went in depth on specific skills (wind up, catch, power release positions for strokes) .

Day 3, I paddled the new boat for the first time (12r) with friends and practiced rolling a bit (no paid instruction).

Day 4, rested and took 5 mile stroll on country road

Day 6 & 7 took an intermediate kayak class in my new boat, working mostly on basic strokes, peelouts and eddy turns- I discovered that it is difficult to change how I peel out and eddy turn. I’m used to peeling-out, by driving the boat across the eddy line, paddlingon the upstream side and then rotating around on a static high brace on the downstream side of the boat. The proper technique is to power out across the eddline on the downstream side of the boat and convert to a bow draw. I had a similar issue with eddy turns. Scott Fisher, the instructor, did a great job of staying patient and giving me a lot of “almost”, “better”, “you’re getting there”, comments but we all know that is code for “you still suck”. I did improve a bit but can’t say I have it down.

Day 8 of our trip was the last sheduled day of intermediate instruction and we were all a bit wiped out. We kept it low key but still did some more peel out, eddy turn and ferry practice but surfing kind of took over (like it often does with me).

Overall my posture and rotation improved a bit but I had more difficulty implementing new stroke sequences.

After paddling 40 years, this is the first time I actually paid for paddling instruction. My initial aca certification was reimbursed by my local paddling club as I taught and assisted in clinics. The good news is, that after more intensive instruction, I’ve definately changed my thinking about a few things and will teach some things differently. Additionally, I learned some good tips and tricks to assist others, yet realize I still have “work” to do to improve my own paddling. It is definately hard to break old habits. All the instruction, practice, rolling occured on the lower Noli and section 9 of the French Broad. Good venues for instruction.

I can’t say enough good things about Scott Fisher and the Noli Center.