By Jim on Sunday, October 10, 2010
Starting from Scratch.
In my latest adventure in the world of Mykayakcoach it has taken my on adventure to the Cook Islands an island that water is in their blood. An island where their ancestors have all spent time on the water over many years, but never have they had the chance to be part of the world of paddling. The islands are part of the world of outrigger canoeing but never before in the sport of paddling.
So it was my job to come to this beautiful part of the world and teach the people of Rarotonga and Aitutaki how to paddle. They had 8 ocean skis and 8 paddles to work with.
The people of the Cook Islands had never seen these boats, let alone paddle one, it was my job to start from the very basics of the sport, something we should all go back to from time to time to make sure we are doing those small things that make the sport and craft work for us.
The main things that needed to be taught here on the Islands is that of boat run and making the craft work for the paddler. That required going right back to the very start.
First of all knowing what our craft is and how it works, checking the steering, adjustment system to make sure it is the right set up for each paddler and most of all how to make the craft work on the water. This then led to checking out the same thing with the paddles, are they the right size, right length and also the right mix of carbon and fiberglass in the blade and shaft. You never want to use a paddle that is to stiff for when you are starting out, this will lead to bad technique from the start. With me only being here a short time it is important to learn properly from the start, this goes for anyone starting the sport of paddling.
After an understanding was established on how the craft would work on the land it was time to get the skis in the water. To learn the stroke, catch, accelerating the blade and then the exit. These are the three key things that every person who paddles must understand. If you get this from the start you are well on your way to being the best paddler you can be, the training program from there will help you progress to where you want to be. As for the people of the Cook Islands they were doing this the correct way, they were learning the right technique from the very start, that way everyone they teach after I am gone will only know how to paddle correctly. This will lead the Island people to be a force in paddling in the very near future.
The water on the Cook Islands is like nothing you could ever imagine, the water is so blue and covered in coral and the odd whale to help you go on the water, even if it is just for a leisurely paddle. The people are friendly and keen to know anyone who loves being in the water.
So the time now is right to find another place to paddle and enjoy what the world of paddling has to offer.