So when I watched this video posted with an article in RapidMedia, the first thing I thought was "Shoulder! Shoulder!, Shoulder!" I mean, putting that arm out in chicken-wing fashion then hitting the water will put a lot of tension on that shoulder, right? Next I thought, is there really a safe way to learn this style of high brace on flat water? Then I thought, isn't there this whole school of thought out there that there is rarely a need for a high brace at all? Then I thought, hey look at all the peer reviews ...
A Balance or Static Brace (Nalaasaarneq Meaning "To lie down") , is a traditional Greenland style kayaking skill where the paddler can lie with their upper torso in the water while positioning the kayak to "balance" against their upper torso and basically float on the surface without sinking. It's a great move. Once you've learned it, the whole concept of rolling your kayak changes.
This time of year, the lakes are the domain of the fisher people and the rivers are a risky proposition as well. I'll tell you one thing though, every year when I see the Bald Eagles gathering on the Wisconsin river I feel an urge to hop in my kayak and paddle out for a visit. Thing is, that would be a bad idea.
So for our first pool session of the year it was time to take my favorite novice kayaker and teach her how to balance brace & roll. Sadly, I still feel like I'm teaching something dark and mystical among the euros and paddle floats of the C2C crowd. Oh, and the secret... Well, we'll get to that!