Forward motion, headfirst & horizontal to gravity!
Feedback on riders' experiences with the Fluid Anvil is starting to come in and it is great for me to see how other people are experiencing the board; both the good and the bad.
One of the issues that is coming up frequently is that of hand-paddling.
Do you hand-paddle on rivers... how much do you do it... how important is it to how you riverboard...
Before I post my view, I'd really appreciate it to hear more from everyone on TeamFLI.
Over to you...
Carl, I am mostly surfing, so making the hole or the eddie is important. I think that the arms add about 25% speed to my short term sprint. Sometimes it doesn't matter, and sometimes the fastest guy/girls are the only ones to get on.
I am on the full size Carlson, the older model without stringers.
I hand paddle often and for various reasons, but it generally seems more natural to me to hand paddle -- like I'm paddling a surfboard out through the break. Basically, when I'm not forced to hold on to the board, like going over a drop or trying to bust through big waves or holes, my natural instinct is to use my hands rather than my legs. Some specific situations in which I always use my hands:
1. Shallow water. The river I board the most is the Upper Yough and there are numerous places where I am boarding in water that is less than 6 inches deep. I get a better purchase in the water with my hands than I do with my feet; if I kick, I'm just going to kick rocks.
2. Edging. I do a lot of maneuvering by using the edges of the board, and when I do so I use a combination of leaning and swimming with my hands.
3. Catching eddies. Rather than just try and swim across the eddy line, I put one hand into the eddy and use it as a pivot point -- much like a kayaker with his paddle. You simply can't do this with your feet because they are still out in the current.
4. Surfing. I use my hands to not only gain a little bit of extra speed to get on the wave, but also to initiate moves while I'm on the wave face or foampile.
5. Ferrying. If I have a must-make move, I use my hands for additional speed. It makes a big difference.
One of the selling points that I always put out there for people who gawk at me on the water is that I have not two, but four, paddle blades in the water for speed and maneuvering.
Hey Charl and all,
I live in SoCal where the surfing ethos permeates everything and it just seems natural to hand-paddle in whitewater too. It is my likely choice of forward motivation in shallow water, when I'm well up on the board for protection. And of course it's a much needed afterburner on those "must-make-the-move" situations or trying to catch a wave. I also use my arms and will scoop a hand into a tongue or an eddy to help me move or for the hell of it. It's part of the appeal of riverboarding for me to have that complete sensory experience, to touch & feel all that would be missed if I were just a boater.
I encourage hand-paddling when teaching riverboarding, as it promotes balance on the board and it's just another "tool of the trade". As a result, newbs almost always comment about what a great total body work-out riverboarding is!
Maybe hand-paddling is one of the natural distinctions between riverboarding and hydrospeed?
For the record, I ride Kern Riverboards.
I ride a hydrospeed, but still use a lot of hand paddling. For that reason I cut down some of the side walls on my foam hydrospeed to allow for more efficient arm strokes without my arms brushing up against the side.
I hand paddle in short bursts and alternate between kicking and hand paddling on flatwater.
Sometimes I riverboard without fins (so I can stand up surf)- thats when hand paddling is really useful.
Hey Guys, thanks for the feedback and insights you've shared. I dont hand-paddle on rivers at all, so its been interesting for me to try figure out why this is. Especially since I have been bodyboarding and bodysurfing for almost 30 years, both of which rely heavily on paddling / swimming.
Perhaps it is because I learnt to Hydrospeed from the French guys, and have been heavily influence by them in terms of their riding techniques, that I have never really considered it. (There is only one French guy I know of who trims down the sides of his Hydrospeed so he can hand-paddle, and that's Marc Ettinger whom I ran the White Nile with a few years back.)
Dean, you made an interesting statement when you said: " perhaps hand-paddling is one of the natural distinctions between riverboarding & hydrospeeding ".
What do you guys think?
Hey Carl, I went out boarding for several hours after my first post, and was able to think about your question while in the water. What I noticed is that I use my hands a lot to hold on to stuff and to get out.
I get out most often by finding a rock just under the water, pushing both hands down and getting both knees onto the rock while pushing the board out of the way. I probably get out 10 times an hour, 30 times a day.
I usually hand paddle to grab an eddy after a rapid or to save my legs in flat water. For me, the extra power isn't worth having the board come out from under me. The Fluid still allows for hand paddling, not quite as easy as a foam board. I think it's a technique preference.
pretty cool to read everyones perspectives on this issue. i agree about everything that you are all saying, especially about catching eddies and waves. i love the feeling of 'grabbing' the eddy water with my hands and pulling right into the eddy, i find that kicking into them is nowhere near as efficient of a technique. when im on my bodyboard i find it way easier to hand paddle and i do it probably 60+% of the time. just got a kern board that im borrowed from alex and i think i might kick a little bit more on it than i do on my bodyboard.
P.S. to alex, got a sick session at barking dog the other day man, i think it was at around 1,000 cfs or so and it was so rippable dude!!! i was almost hitting spins on the kern board man!!