On the Water: Paddling Abilities for Journey Racers

Paddling is a pillar self-discipline within the sport of journey racing. Get able to dip a blade and pull on any form of water out on the course.


Editor’s notice: This text was initially printed on USARA.com and has been modified for GearJunkie.


Be it canoe, kayak, or packraft, nearly each journey race has a paddling part. And relying in your race schedule, you might must observe flatwater paddling, whitewater strategies, or open-ocean kayaking.

Paddling in most races tends to be beginner-friendly. Assume canoeing on calm water or straightforward river sections. In longer races, you might face ocean bays, waves, currents, and severe whitewater streams.

Adventure racers heading out for their paddle segment during the USARA Longest Day Adventure Race in New York.
(Picture/NYARA)

For rookies, step one to changing into proficient is figuring out fundamental strokes. It’s essential be taught the foundations of canoe and kayak dealing with.

Can you retain the boat straight? Have you learnt how you can rudder, flip, and transfer down a river? If sure, you’re prepared for many journey races. You don’t have to be an skilled, however fundamental boat dealing with is required to successfully transfer by way of water sections on a course.

If it is advisable to be taught the fundamentals, discover a paddling course by way of a company just like the American Canoe Affiliation (ACA), ask a good friend with expertise to show you, and observe these abilities. Mastering fundamental strokes will can help you deal with a ship effectively, saving time and frustration throughout a race.

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Navigation Required

Past transferring the boat throughout water or downstream, journey racing has the bonus and problem of requiring navigation whilst you paddle. It’s essential each plan a course to finish a bit and discover checkpoints alongside the best way.

This may be cumbersome and sophisticated — utilizing a map and compass whereas on the water is a talent set in itself. Plan to observe navigating on lakes to factors, peninsulas, islands, and different main options. You need to be capable to discern geographic options from a map and paddle a route to succeed in checkpoints.

On rivers, navigation may be troublesome, requiring racers to maintain observe of twists and turns and know the place they’re on the waterway. One tip: Look ahead to bridges, powerlines, and different main options on a map, after which use these waypoints as you paddle for a fast location examine.

Use a water-resistant map case and have a compass mounted on the boat or simply accessible on a lanyard. Usually, the navigator ought to sit within the entrance of the boat, permitting them to see and letting a teammate within the again steer.

three adventure racers heading out for their paddle segment during the USARA Longest Day Adventure Race in New York.
(Picture/NYARA)

Gear Suggestions

Preserving your gear protected and dry ought to be a prime concern. In a canoe, after a few miles, water will settle into the underside of the boat from splashing and paddling. Something on the ground shall be soaked, which may embody your pack.

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Many groups use a big, roll-top dry bag. You possibly can retailer your groups’ packs inside, sealing it up for the part. Don’t overlook to maintain meals and water at hand for the journey downstream or throughout a lake.

A last level: Make sure you connect your gear to the boat. An incident the place the boat ideas can imply packs, luggage, and kit floating away except it’s tied down.

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Time to Race

What are you able to anticipate on the market on a course? Paddling distances should not customary throughout journey races, however most shorter races will max out at 5 miles of water time. Half-day occasions may have you ever within the boat for 10 miles, and also you may hit 15-20 miles or extra in a 24-hour occasion.

Paddling within the sport of journey racing is a singular talent, and groups typically refine it over many coaching days and occasions. Like something, observe and time spent honing the craft are requisite for achievement.

However armed with the ideas above — and a few prep time on the water and together with your gear — you have to be able to get on the water, dip a blade, and head onto the course.


This text is sponsored by Toyota. Discover out extra in regards to the 2022 Toyota Tundra on-line.

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