The art of staying upright
Posted by: bobdvm on Sep-21-12 2:13 PM (EST)
WH's points are of course very sensible and well-stated, but "practice-bracing" isn't that much like the real thing - it's really hard to consciously put yourself out of balance. A bit like faking a stumble - your body refuses, and a staged stumble just isn't like tripping for real. So what people do is they edge the kayak and pat the water with their paddles, but even if they didn't "brace" they still wouldn't go over.
I didn't really learn to brace until I spent some time in a skinny boat, and it also taught me a whole lot of stuff I hadn't understood, about balance. When you're used to a touring kayak you use the boat for balance, even if you think you don't. When you're sitting on a 17" hull, the boat just won't help you out - you have to find your balance points. And until you do, you have to brace. A lot.
So, that would be my big insight to add - to really understand balance and bracing, buy rent or borrow a K1 or surf ski and fool with it for enough hours that you begin to become independent of the hull and don't rely on secondary stability to lean against. As you practice, you'll brace so much - for real, not just pretending - that it will come to seem just ordinary and routine.
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