Low brace turns, pointless?

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Kav
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Kav » Thu May 01, 2008 1:03 pm

I found a similar (very long) thread on UKRGB on the same subject.

Lots of differing opinions but this post stood out:
Penelope Pitstop wrote:I looked in the BCU Handbook to see what it had to say about the matter, I couldn't help noticing Chapter 23, Whitewater Kayaking, page 300, which talks about breaking in and out. It continues, to say that
"Problems often arise because people use a low brace turn (a combination of sweep stroke and low brace) in the same form that is taught on flat water. this sequence s considered easier to perform but actually requires greater judgement. The sweep stroke spins the boat too soon with minimum driving effect into the eddy. The low brace is often mistakenly pushed forward to create the turn, because the eddy has not been penetrated, acting as a reverse sweep. Innappropriately timed or executed, this in effect "bounces" the boat back into the current.
On moving water there is no need for a sweep if the angle, speed and edge are correct. The low brace is only applied when the boat has penetrated deep into the eddy and the turn has been initiated by the opposing currents."
Can anyone confirm this quote? I don't have the book, but at least they acknowledge its not ideal.

The last few times I've taught beginners the "Low Brace Turn" I have generally left out the sweep stroke part completely or added it in only so they know to do it for assessment. The importance instead being placed on keeping their edge up and paddling out of the eddy, using a low brace only if they have too.

I agree that it still has its place in the disciplines that still involve longer boats, I suppose Wild Water Racing would bring it into the realm of the Level 3 but I don't know much about this discipline. The reason for having it on the Level 4 escapes me.

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Seanie
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Seanie » Thu May 01, 2008 1:21 pm

annie wrote: Maybe when the Level 4 is updated it'll be gone. Hopefully along with cable ties and curl rescues (unless you're being assessed in a Dancer).
That's my feeling on it too.

What would the ICU have to do to change the curriculum? Is it a big job?

Polo Eoin
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Polo Eoin » Thu May 01, 2008 1:38 pm

Seanie wrote
What would the ICU have to do to change the curriculum? Is it a big job?
Straying off the topic a bit here but a small point along the same lines.

I firmly believe (and I'm deffo not alone here) that a level 3 paddler should be able to roll on level 2 water. If preforming an x rescue is on the cirriculum is self rescue not more important.

edit: sp

Kav
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Kav » Thu May 01, 2008 1:44 pm

Polo Eoin wrote: I firmly believe (and I'm deffo not alone here) that a level 3 paddler should be able to roll on level 2 water.
Rolling is on the new EPP Level 3 syllabus.

annie
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by annie » Thu May 01, 2008 2:25 pm

Rolling is on the Level 3 from September - you are allowed set up beforehand, and it's only required on one side.

(Correct me if any of this is in error).

Dave F's point about a general Level 2 and evolving whitewater techniques is very valid - maybe the Level 2 proficiency should be a general award and riverrunning/whitewater developed as its own syllabus.

Just looking at canoe.ie now - it seems we have separate Kayaking, Sea-kayaking and Canoeing syllabii. Here is just a suggestion that I haven't really thought through: leave Levels 1 and 2 of the Kayaking curriculum as they are, and Levels 3 and up should be revamped for riverrunning, taking dynamic whitewater techniques into consideration.

So you'd have

Kayaking - Levels 1-2
Sea-kayaking - Levels 3-5
Whitewater Kayaking - Levels 3-5
Canoeing - Levels 1-5

Anyway like I said, haven't thought that through - rushing to a meeting - interesting thread though.

mike jones
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by mike jones » Thu May 01, 2008 2:39 pm

A little off topic rob but good rant all the same. The issue of the usefulness of the bow rudder to a person on a river for the first 4 or 5 trips is a long way from there first time in norway or on the zambezi. While I do agree that we should be training people in good technique and in a dynamic style there is still a place for techniques like the low brace turn.

My justification for the low brace turn is that it is a reasonably simple technique that can be used to build peoples confidence and awareness of moving water during their first few experiences on grade 2 water. Beyond this it is not commonly used but none the less it serves a very valid purpose.

As for the progression of the ICU and the syllabus I think you all seem to have missed this point, yes the level 3 does ask for low brace turn and bow rudder but it also has the following to say regarding breaking out

"1.Breaking out of the main current into eddies should demonstrate anticipation and early positioning, and the use of appropriate strokes throughout the manoeuvre. The candidate should also demonstrate the correct speed and angle of approach, together with a positive and early grip of the stationary water in the eddy. The kayak should come to rest high up the eddy, just inside the eddy line and parallel to it."(http://www.europaddlepass.com)

This allows fully for the more dynamic style of paddling and does not ask for specific strokes to be demonstrated.

I personally have thought alot of people to kayak on rivers both in Ireland and abroad and would aggree with Rob that the more dynamic style is very successful, but their is no harm in exposing people to differnt techniques and ways of doing things. You do not always have to bust your balls and drive agressively, sometimes a low brace turn will cruise you into an eddy on a grade 2 section, other times you can catch those tight eddies or slip through gates with a bow rudder and other times you need to be dynamic and drive for the hard line in the big water.

In my opinion it is not a matter of useful or not it is a matter of where and when!
Last edited by mike jones on Thu May 01, 2008 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

canned
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by canned » Thu May 01, 2008 2:51 pm

Think I'd be on board with you there Mike.... Horses for courses sort of thing. And if the assessment itself is essentially about break-outs rather than specifically having to do a LB turn then it's more about the assessor's interpretation.

Definitely very much in agreement with the coaching of dynamic paddling too...

Rob Coffey
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Rob Coffey » Thu May 01, 2008 3:14 pm

Mike Jones: The issue of the usefulness of the bow rudder to a person on a river for the first 4 or 5 trips is a long way from there first time in norway or on the zambezi.
I disagree good technique is good technique whether it is your first class 4 river in Ireland or abroad.

This is the problem with the Irish attitude to coaching whitewater strokes. Instead of teaching whitewater kayakers correct technique from the very start, the low brace turn and bow rudder turn are introduced as inefficient and costly errors of technique which require time and effort to recify later.
My justification for the low brace turn is that it is a reasonably simple technique that can be used to build peoples confidence and awareness of moving water during their first few experiences on grade 2 water. Beyond this it is not commonly used
This is not true. The low brace turn is commonly seen on Irish whitewater long after a paddler moved on from Grade 2. There lies the problem- that poor technique thought early in a paddlers career leads to problems on more advanced water.

If is much easier to teach something correctly from the beginning, rather than unlearn poor technique. I do not know one high end whitewater paddler who uses the the low brace turn. Why, then, is it still being thought?

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Seanie
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Seanie » Thu May 01, 2008 3:43 pm

I'm with Rob on what he siad.

EDIT: I mixed up a post I wrote earlier and some ideas I got from Robs post and the resultant post was a mess , sorry. So I have change my post a bit.

But I would also like to add. Teach the bow rudder and the dynamic method/style. But leave the bow rudder where it belongs (L3 no higher), and for Level 3 and Level 4the dynamic method should be Also taught. Also pointing out the situations where each technique should be used would be welcome.
Rob Coffey wrote: I do not know one high end whitewater paddler who uses the the low brace turn. Why, then, is it still being thought?
The question I would ask is why isn't the dynamic style been taught? I think that offering people an alternative will show the low brace turn in its correct light, a technique for less powerful rivers. And I'm sure people would be quick to adapt the method that works for them. But the logic of teaching the low brace turn for modern boats confuses me.

I for one was very ignorant of the whole dynamic style, and I thought I was just a bit crap at catching eddies in big water...and that my big bow rudder was leaving me down. I did develop my own technique, which could loosely be described as dynamic, but in my head I thought that I was doing incorrectly. For this I would think that if the information is put out there then people will eventually adapt the better technique. The thing is the ICU should be providing that information on its courses.

mike jones
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by mike jones » Thu May 01, 2008 5:06 pm

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLbwEZKr ... fault.aspx]Slalom[/youtube]

Just thought I would put up this vid of eoin to illustrate the point that the bow rudder is not "bad technique" merely a technique which is often used badly but when used effectively does serve a purpose. In the same vein the low brace turn is not "bad technique" merely a technique designed for a certain environment.
This is the problem with the Irish attitude to coaching whitewater strokes. Instead of teaching whitewater kayakers correct technique from the very start, the low brace turn and bow rudder turn are introduced as inefficient and costly errors of technique which require time and effort to recify later.
I am not advocating the teaching of bad technique quite the opposite in fact, I focus very much on the finer points and details when i teach. I do however like to teach people a variety of techniques to allow them to form there own style and also to expose them to as many different strokes as possible.

When thought correctly the LBT and Bow rudder can in fact form an excellent progression to the dynamic driving style of paddling. The option is very much there for the instructor to take participants throught this progression within the paddle pass scheme.

Rob Coffey
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Rob Coffey » Thu May 01, 2008 6:24 pm

Nice vid. In the film, if you look closely you will see that Eoin is using a compound bow rudder, something we indeed learned from slalom and have been coaching for the past few years now( visible at 0:33, 1:19, 2:00, 3:00 etc). Namely a compound stroke of a forward stroke into a bow draw.
Rob Coffey wrote:
Agreed.
Compound strokes of forward strokes into a bow draw or stern draw can be incredibly useful.
Undoubtedly there is room for talented high end coaches like yourself to add personal preferance and style.
However, there is definately such a thing as bad whitewater technique. Bad whitewater technique involves using low brace turns and bow rudder turns on powerful whitewater as coached according to the ICU syllabus.
Mike Jones wrote: When thought correctly the LBT and Bow rudder can in fact form an excellent progression to the dynamic driving style of paddling.
How? The low brace turn is not an excellent progression to dynamic style as it is a fundamentally different approach. Dynamic style involves driving the boat and keeping speed through the turn using an active blade. The low brace turn involves losing speed on a passive blade.The only thing the low brace turn is a progression to is spending lots of time upside down.

This debate was won long ago on the creeks and rivers of North America, Africa and Europe. The proof is evident in that not a single world class whitewater paddler uses the low brace turn on whitewater. If you can show me a vid of someone doing while not making a mistake I'd love to see it.

Rob Coffey
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Rob Coffey » Thu May 01, 2008 6:56 pm

Here we go. Steve Fisher epitomises the dynamic style. Ten years ago, I learnt how to paddle dynamically from paddling with him and Nico Chassing.


[youtube=http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=lez9LNNQWC4]Black Book[/youtube]
Does anyone see a low brace turn or bow rudder turn in this clip? Anything other than a dynamic forward stroke? In fact, I'm willing to bet that in the whole of Black Book there is not a single one.

Kim
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Re: Low brace turns, pointless?

Post by Kim » Thu May 01, 2008 8:35 pm

Great to see this point brought up! I might get in trouble over this, but I agree with Rob. I used to be a low brace addict and bow rudder queen, but since paddling in New Zealand and Norway I have amended this.

The low brace turn is not useful to anyone, not even surfers or beginners! Not for surf kayaking because you would be going for a bongo-slide to be able to use it (although I can see the use as a stabiliser sometimes) and not for beginners because in most cases it just spins the boat on the eddy line (as beginners generally find it hard to commit to speed). The eddy line is one of the least predictable places on the river so why not make the time spent there as short as possible! Part from that: to have to think about speed, angle, sweep stroke, edging and low brace is more than the 3 things novices in any sport can generally remember (I should use a reference here but too lazy). If you can swap the sweep stroke and low brace for a stroke on the inside, you swap 2 difficult techniques for one simple one: the simpler the better!

Same thing can be said for the bow rudder. This is a stroke designed for longer boats like dancers and t-canyons and if you have a look at the difference in hulls you will see that the older boats were designed for forward motion and the new ones (especially playboats) for spinning around and turning easily.
So back in the day you needed to get the works out to make the bl**dy thing turn, nowadays the last thing you want is to turn a boat that is already turning super quickly. That would put you again, on that lovely wobbly eddy line, wouldn’t it?
Someone I spoke with last weekend made me realise most people think the aim of paddling into an eddy is to turn your boat upstream. I reckon the aim of paddling into an eddy is to get as close to the bank into safety as you can, because that is where the water is moving least! And then imagine a rocky shallow bottom: you’d be on your face before you knew it, using a bow rudder!
So to delay your turning, you put in a forward stroke on the inside of the turn. You make your turning curve bigger, your edge is subjected to the drag force that is pulling it down much more gradually and predictably (another reason to introduce this technique to beginners!), you have support of the active blade and you can lean right into the turn. And you don’t lose your forward speed! Simple! Loads of people use some form of it: look at the videos: Eric Jackson, Simon Westgarth, Ollie Grau, most Norwegians and Kiwis to name a few

So the reason these two strokes are still in the syllabus (among other more obscure reasons) is that it is really hard to radically change the syllabus and expect the whole pool of instructors to keep up with it.
Another reason is the fact that if all the strokes in the syllabus are tested for validity, many more of them will fall through for usefulness. And if you really want to scrutinise, there are a few things that should be on the syllabus and are not. So if all strokes have to be revised and taken out, what will be there to teach? Assessments and training are the only way to keep the mass from learning dangerous technique and the ICU has done brilliant work to develop people into the sport. It is very motivating to have something to look forward to, a route to follow. I wouldn’t like to see this fall through and I still assess all the old strokes.
One last reason why I reckon the strokes are still in the syllabus is that there no biomechanics research has been done in this (nice subject for my FYP), so none of the governing bodies in Europe have seen reason to change due to hard facts being presented.

But try it out. Inside stroke works! Let’s vote on a name!

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