Paddling Tip: If it hurts, change it!
Paddling strokes are like gears, don’t forget to use them all
Most top paddlers are happy to share their knowledge with other paddlers and there are a lot of great clinics out there. If you have taken a couple different clinics or sought advice from other paddlers you likely noticed there is more than one school of thought when it comes to paddling.
Regardless of paddle craft, you should have a number of different paddling strokes in your repertoire. One for quick starts, one for sustaining a long distance, another for chasing down an opponent or quickly avoiding an obstacle. You get the picture.
If you are paddling and something begins to hurt, change it. This is particularly true when competing in an event. Different paddling strokes are like gears on a car or bicycle. You don’t spend your entire journey in just one gear. Paddling is no different.
The change you make depends on the situation you are in and your skills and unique abilities. Try adjusting your grip on the paddle shaft. Does choking up or choking down ease your discomfort? Is there a slight adjustment you can make to more effectively match up with your crew when paddling in a multi-person craft such as an OC-6?
Work within your abilities and continue to seek advice from other paddlers. This will help build your personal encyclopedia of knowledge on paddling and give you the experience and confidence needed to master a range of scenarios while paddling.
Good luck and have fun. See you on the water!