There are three techniques to help you maintain the straight run of the board and counteract the propensity of the board to drift to the opposite side: Paddling along the rail, foot steering, and drawing the nose of the board. (drill videos are available to Paddle Monster Basic and All-Access Members)
By mastering these skills, you can change paddle sides based on your desire to do so and not out of necessity to steer. You can also help reduce the common zig-zagging path seen in many paddlers, thereby decreasing the overall distance and time to get from point A to point B.
These skills are most effective when used together. This drill combines them on a moving board to teach you how to find the right balance of using each tool to maintain a straight board or even to steer your board to the paddling side. It can also help you use these skills on a micro level in situations where you need slight adjustments in direction without changing paddle sides such as high board traffic situations and drafting, or paddling in a side wind.
- Find a patch of sheltered, calm water. Paddle normally and intentionally let your board start running to the opposite side.
- Use steering tools to bring your board back through straight until it is now running to the paddling side
- Intentionally steer board back to the opposite side (by not steering or paddling wide) and repeat using your steering tools to bring it back to the paddling side
- Gradually increase the amount you let your board run to the opposite side before bringing it back to the paddling side
- Gradually increase the speed at which you perform this drill
- Practice this drill on both sides
- People normally have a stronger side for controlling their board; master your stronger side first and then use your expertise on your stronger side to help your learning on weaker side
Inability to effectively use any of steering tools (paddling along the rail, foot steering, and drawing the nose of the board.) will make this drill extremely difficult. Make sure you have practiced and mastered these individual steering skills.
Overall Key Take-away
Steering tools 1 thru 3 are used dynamically and simultaneously to control the board in real life scenarios. The slalom drill helps you begin to learn how to use these tools synergistically to control your board while paddling.
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