The starting line.. help please

So I have been practicing getting a good start from a dead stop.

Whether canoe or kayak, can anyone suggest a good method to get the boat moving without too much thrashing and water throwing?

Do you accelerate as slowly as possible, trying to maintain a good catch? Or just thrash it out and wait for the hull to come up to speed a bit before the paddle achieves a good catch?

Any help appreciated. I have tried both methods but cannot really tell which is getting me up to hull speed quickest. I suppose a measured coarse and someone with a stopwatch could help me decide what is working better. But I would like to start out with at least the basics.

Racing July 11th at the Bricktown Challenge. Hope to see some of you there. Hope you are all tired out and maybe hung over too. That would help me get in the upper half of the field. ;))

As fast as you can, but all the while …
thinking form, form , form !

And if a better paddler jumps in front of you, instead of trying to get around him in the crowd and turbulence just ride his wake, until the field thins out.

I heard a good one from one of the 70 milers one time when he was discussing strategy with his tasndem canoe partner.

He said: “We’ll start at the back of the pack with the slower paddlers, and then see if we can gradually fade farther back as the race progresses!”

Good luck in the race, and don’t let that be you



Another saying
told by a good friend before my first marathon: “Start slow and taper off.”

As for tactics at the start, I like to stay our of the crowd, picking an extremme end of the start line. The few seconds I lose covering the extra distance rarely affect my finish and I stay out of the way of the genetically gifted and hard working paddlers who are fighting it out for the first few places.

I’ll be at Bricktown
so stay right behind the guys in the V10’s and you’ll be fine. Ha ha.

I make sure my paddle is just about in the water at my toes when they say go then I plan on digging in as deep as I can(paddle in the water deep) for 1/2 mile until people fall off the back and your in the group you can’t drop on your own. Then settle into a pace you can’t keep and hope you can. Have fun see you on the starting line. Chaz

When I rowed
the standing start began with shorter than normal stokes – a typical call would be “half, half, half, three-quarters, three-quarters, full”.

Trust me you aren’t going to loose the race from the start in the first 10 seconds. Just dig, pace yourself and finish strong. Your finish place will be determined in the middle section.

Unless you’re pulling a skier in your kayak, I’m not sure how someone practices starts? It’s kind of like walking, instead of putting one foot in front of another, you put one blade in the water at a time. You’ll reach the maximum speed for your boat within 10 strokes and after that your conditioning takes over. I’d be more worried about your conditioning vs. your start.

If you’re on moving water or surf, skill in reading water or surfing will be a factor. I’ve passed many people on moving water in races when then decide to cut a bend and I stick to the swift water on the outside of a bend. If there are rapids, keep paddling, many people stop paddling in the rapids and you can make up time. Look for the V’s where there is deeper water.

Good luck

Last race

– Last Updated: Jul-02-09 10:30 AM EST –

We hung back because some yeahoos were in front thrashing and splashing each other and generally disturbing the peace and smashing their craft into each other on purpose. So we let them slide out in front of us to keep from having one of the bone heads flip us. What we did not realize, they were in our class, albiet 15 years younger than us. We never even tried to catch up with them as we did not know they were competition. Lost it all right there. No one else in our class passed us the rest of the race. We came in third.

Was thinking if we see this again, get agressive, play the smash and splash game until we are ahead, then settle into our pace. Is it legal to crash and splash? Trust me, I will use their bow to plant a firm catch and backwards they will go. They can't weight as much as me and my partner.

Got my buddy to commit so looks like we will be in C2-S-Master. If he pulls out, will enter a sea kayak in the Mens division, whatever it is.

Trying real hard to put together finances for the nationals in Warren. Have to join USCA by July 11th to have that happen.

And thanks to all who share their hints and tips.

Sounds …
like there was an intimidation factor and whatever they did worked? I can’t imagine someone going out of their way to flip or splash a competitor during a sanctioned race. Still not sure why you couldn’t have tried passing them over the length of the race or why their actions would have stopped you from challenging them for position? Just work on your conditioning and blow their doors off next time.

Just like the rowing guy said
short and quick, till you are up to speed, then go long and quick till your heart explodes.

Reason we didn’t try to pass
Did not think they were in our class and our mission was to basically survive. But if we would have checked them right off the bat, I think we would have made some great gains. Those folks obviously were good buddies. I can’t see me engaging someone in that manner that I was not familiar with. But they created a hazard and it was much easier for us to just let them get it out of their system. They looked like young kids, 40 something, but they looked younger. Next time, I blow through the mayhem. Hey it was a great learning experience anyway.

So we merrily paddled on watching for old farts approaching from the stern, never worrying we were loosing our butts by being content to let them go. And it was our first race, didn’t know what to expect out there. Podium finish for first try and no brains, I felt alright about it. But had we known, I am certain we could have used our superior massive weight plus the extra 100 pounds of gear we loaded our canoe with as a great advantage. The 100lbs of gear kind of indicates our knowledge level of good racing strategy. Uuuuhh… we are skipping the extra gear next week.

But I am going out to practice starts today. Then settle into a heart rate and grind grind grind. You folks are great for sharing, thanks.

votes for …
the short , quick paddle strokes at 1st…get the boat moving…boat only moves when the paddle is in the water and moving …don’t bury the blade too deep at 1st, then gradually build up the tempo and stroke length and again, you don’t have to bury the blade to the hilt to get best results. think of how the hawaiians get those big war canoes moving …reach forward and draw back as you get going to add the power. Use a GPS to help with timing and speed over course. a small Garmin eTrex legend type of GPS would do that job well.

Paddle surfing
The take off is all about getting the boat moving very quickly to catch the wave- Think about windmill and spinning in low gear. Don’t put the paddle deep in the water until about the fourth stroke. Then dig in.

A fast start in a distance race is not going to matter much.

You might want to pass that last sentence along to the guys that usually win.

They haven’t learned that one yet!



That’s what I was thinking jack.
Watching all the videos, haven’t seen a one that figures they will just catch up later.