The Turn Is Not A Rest

on Nov 26 in Racing, Surfski, Training, Uncategorized by

Turn 640 x 360Do you ever have one of those phrases which resonates in your head from a coach shouting it incessantly? “The turn is not a rest” is one which always echoes in my head as I approach a turn in a group of paddlers.

Going back a few years when I trained a lot on the Cooks River in Sydney under Jim Walker of MyKayakCoach fame, he would always shout these words from his tinnie, knowing that some guys would slacken off and try use the turn to catch their breath and try recover for a moment. In particular, one of our hardest sessions was 4 x 2km races on a 1km straight turning around a bridge at the bottom of the straight. Pull back going into the turn and you were guaranteed to get chewed up and spat out of the group, with no chance of catching a wash for the return leg. What was funny was that is was generally the same guys who would line their boat up incorrectly, or bash into other kayaks or paddles trying to negotiate the turn. And we all know that what you do in training is replicated in racing.

Most distance races, be they surfski or flat water kayaks will have buoys to negotiate at some point. So why make this a weakness in your race arsenal? I see it all the time at events, guys either misjudging the apex of a turn, or not paddling hard enough to get their craft around, or crashing into other paddlers. You train your guts out to make tiny improvements and speed increases, but making bad turns can cost you dearly in the grand scheme of a race.

So how can you take turns, and turn them into your advantage?

  • be familiar with the race course before you start. Have a very good idea at what point, and how far into the race that turns will be happening.
  • know the set up of the turn. Is it a single buoy, or several buoys which needs to be negotiated?
  • allow space to attack the apex hard, and come out of the turn in a position to apply full acceleration quickly. The same way you hit the apex of a turn in your car, you can to achieve similar with your craft
  • be aware of those around you. Allow space for those inside you so they don’t find themselves with no choice but to crash into you, while also being aggressive, yet fair enough to hold your racing line. Be conscious of those on a wider line who may be in a better position for the turn that you don’t find yourself crashing into them as they swing around.
  • work hard into the turn. The best spot to be sitting is out front.
  • work harder out of the turn. This is a great place to attack if you’ve made it around first. Equally, if you’ve had a poor turn, you need to attack to get on a wash and cover a break.
  • at all costs, avoid crashing into other craft and paddles. It slows both of you down, as well as creating friction and angst.
  • work in training at improving your ability to get around turns, and on your awareness of others in your group when making them. Replicate in training what you want to achieve on race day.

So remember, “the turn is not a rest”. Don’t be that guy who is always a hassle at turns. Rather, get in quick, and get out quicker, and your racing will see dividends, and your equipment will look fresher for longer too.

See you at an apex soon!

Stewart O’Regan

Think Kayak Australia

Mob:     0404 236 638
Skype:  stewieor


Photo by Allan Coker