I’ve been getting in some practice land paddling with my Kahuna Big Stick. It’s great for stress relief because it’s crazy fun, possibly more fun than actual stand-up paddling because I can keep the gear in the trunk and do it anywhere with no setup. I’ve also found that as I’ve gotten better, I can get quite a good core workout – hams and glutes, core, and shoulders/lats. It’s great for core stability because the motion is similar to the “chop” movement described in the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss for injury prevention.
Things I’ve learned:
1. How to go up most small hills:
- Sick cadence – literally as fast as I can possibly move my arms.
- Short strokes, really only from the “pushing” position, no “pull”.
- Really bear down on the stick.
- Feels like paddling a dragon boat.
2. How to steer:
- Use the back foot.
3. How to go down hills without fishtailing:
- Start by holding the blade under the front wheel while mounting the board.
- Crouch and use the paddle for balance, try not to compensate with toe steering but use the paddle to gradually lean to one side or the other.
4. How to paddle on the “goofy” side – which for me is the left or “starboard” side (remember I’m a rower so I sit backwards and port/starboard are reversed):
- Turn the torso full frontal.
- While maintaining center of mass (butt) over the board, “bow” the knees out over the regular side so that the stick has room to pass essentially through the hollow under your butt on the goofy side.
- I find I need to use a pretty straight upper arm on the paddle to get enough force bearing down to keep the blade planted – more than on my regular side.
- I definitely have to pay attention to where I plant the blade, and then push a little outwards to avoid any chance of entangling the blade in the wheels.
- I am at the point where I can goofy-side paddle to maintain speed on the flats and avoid paddling on the same side as a pedestrian when I pass them, but I am not good enough to use it for going up hills yet. I think I may never be – the time it would take to switch sides with the paddle would be enough to kill momentum on a hill.
Some of these points are shown in the how-to video. I found that my progression went pretty quickly:
Session 1 – figure out how the whole thing works.
Session 2 – be able to paddle a little on the flats.
Session 3 – be able to steer, small hills, cooking on the flats.
Session 4 – Serious speed, good workout, still not good on hills or goofy side.
Session 5 – Figured out the hill thing, tried the goofy side.
Session 6 – Figured out the goofy side.