Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sarah Lawrence pool session (and fun with buzznet)

Quick lunchtime post today - probably followed by a ludicrously esoteric kayak posting tonight after work.

I had an interesting swimming pool session at Sarah Lawrence College yesterday - after SeaLevelNY's (see link in blogroll) timely reminder that I'm teaching at the Hudson Valley Kayak Symposium in slightly less than 2 weeks, I was approaching my pool time as prep. First off, I did try to actually teach a little more in the earlier session, which is a beginner class for Sarah Lawrence students. We haven't had many students this time, as it's the height of end-of-year exam prep/paper writing hell for the college, so the last couple of classes I mostly horsed around, but this time I did make a concerted effort to participate as more of an instructor.

For the second part, which is kayak rolling practice time, I left my beloved Greenland paddle on the side of the pool. I'm co-teaching an Intro to Rolling session at the symposium, and that means Europaddles (modern variety, a shaft connecting two large oblongish slightly curved blades - what most people probably envision when they think of a kayak paddle). I've been mostly working on my Greenland-style rolling this winter - it's kind of more fun, the flotation & symmetrical surface area of an unfeathered paddle carved from a single piece of wood makes Greenland rolling more dancelike & graceful & incredibly relaxing (a good Greenland roll feels like a big happy sigh). The basic physics involved in rolling a kayak using either type of paddles are the same - but the technique required for each is quite different. I've seen an incredibly competent Greenland paddler get utterly flummoxed with a Europaddle, and vice versa. I need that to not happen at this upcoming symposium - I have to be able to demonstrate a technically proficient roll with a Europaddle. So last night I only worked with one of those. It was pretty's not that I wasn't rolling, but there was a lot of diving-blade syndrome (one of the prime problems for beginning rollers) going on initially as I was not compensating properly for the lesser "floatiness" of the Europaddle. More on that tonight probably. For now, suffice it to say that it was getting better by the end but I do need to keep working with my europaddle over the next couple weeks.

I tend to do that anyways. I like being a flexible watergal. There are a lot of different ways to approach paddlesports - Greenland or Euro, whitewater, or sea kayaking, or flatwater racing, kayaks, canoes, or rafts, the list goes on & on. That's one of the things I love about paddlesports - a person with just about any type of personality is going to be able to find a way to paddle that makes them happy.

What I don't get is when people start to say "my way is better". And it happens. Kayaks vs. canoes - Greenland vs. Euro - American Canoe Association vs. British Canoe Union - people take sides quite vehemently. Which strikes me as weird & slightly depressing because I don't see these as being better than/worse than categories - they are just different approaches, that's all.

As the guy who runs the pool sessions said about me to our students last night, "Bonnie just likes water". Yup. Just put me on the water - in just about anything that floats (there's the Buzznet fun of the title btw) - and that's enough to make me happy!

End of lunch hour, back to work!

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