Something New

This past week we reached out to some Texas Water Safari alums to see what other things we might be overlooking. For starters, what a great group of people. Just hours after sending out requests to talk to people we received a lot of responses from those willing to talk more about their experiences as well as offer up some great tips they noticed we were missing out on.

For starters, the over all consensus was that Phil and I needed to switch places and put the heavier/stronger person in front.

Consider my mind blown.

This goes against everything we thought was right. But because the people giving us the information had not only finished the TWS, but won their divisions, we decided not to question it.

phil_canoe_2We set out tonight ready for this new game plan to rock our world. And to make it better, we were going to abandoned the monster canoe and try¬†LLP’s lighter one, shaving off about 20 pounds.

Our world was indeed rocked. But not in a good way.

Phil and I have been paddling together for about five and a half years now and we’re pretty set in our roles. When he moved into the paddler role and I got to take over the driver seat, it did not go over well. For starters, I became drunk with power at my new found ability to turn the boat where I wanted it to go and Phil looked about as stable as a new born deer in the front of the boat.

We spent the first ten minutes just turning in circles in the middle of the lake. I found the whole thing to be quite humorous, but Phil was getting extremely irritated…so I’m going to go ahead and erase any past mood swing and blame it all on the seating.

We were on limited time so we decided to go back to our regular style long enough to see how we felt about the new boat. After a quick transition at the dock we headed back out and decided that lighter isn’t always better. We’re not positive what this lighter boat is made out of, but we’re leaning toward thin plastic. There was no tracking and every inch we moved, we paddled for it.

Next time out, we’ll definitely be back in our old standby. As for trying out the paddling switch up again, Phil’s still smarting a little from it, but I’m sure we’ll give it another go.

Keep those tips coming! Leave a comment below or contact me if you’d like to share your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Something New

  1. You guys are on the right track! Getting an early start and finding out what does and does not work is the key is being successful.

    1) Find a good safari boat. If you entering the novice class, then an alumicraft voyager is best. If you are entering unlimited, then get something with a rudder :)
    2) Having the stronger paddler in the bow will be huge. Keep working on your driving and it will come together.
    3) Invest in paddles. Not sure what your budget is, but ZRE paddles can be found used for $100-$150. New they are closer to $225-$250. This will make all the difference. There are plenty of people in Austin that will let you try them out to find which length works best. And what boat you are in will make a difference on length as well. Having a 10 oz carbon fiber paddle vs a plastic blade/alum shaft paddle is a huge difference.
    4) Take a few lessons. Holly Orr in Martindale gives lessons. Roy Tyrone and Kathy Derrick from the Houston area do lessons as well. All are extremely proficient at boat driving and stroke technique. Just 1 lesson will put you months ahead in your training.

    Wish you both the best of luck on 2014!

    • Thanks so much for your feedback Clay! We looked into Holly’s lessons after reading this and we’re going to sign up for a lesson in November. We’re pretty pumped. So thankful people like you are willing to throw some great advice our way.

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