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Rolls Training

Rolls Training

Day 3. Rolls Training.

Pali. 04.01.2015

Blue Pyranha Play Kayak
Weapon of Choice: Play Kayak

The day started well with a slow breakfast at our not so favourite haunt. A good poha later, our merry band headed down the Unhere road in quest of the ‘dharna’ that’s the elusive beauty of Pali. After a good deal of going the wrong way and providing ample amusement for the villagers going about making their pukka houses in the heat, we found the misleading turn just-yonder the temple.

Finally after a bit of running around, we arrived at the foothills of that most august of dams. And the wonderful overhanging valley. It served as a fitting end to a day with the best of company.

After that it was back to business as usual and a drive down to Kolad saw us arrive shortly before lunch. I’ll admit a touch of sunday laziness kicked in and we took a leisurely lunch that is soon becoming our staple diet here. Rice, dal, bhindi and roti. And a laddoo I was most glad to donate to the eager crow. While we lazed awaiting the water levels to rise,we were subjected to HS’ brand of humour. One that we are all beginning to fall in love with again. Shortly after it was time to get our feet wet. As I skirted up, the others got ready to take a couple of sit on tops out on the water. Rajesh, my exceedingly patient and terribly talented kayak instructor was ready to save my drowning behind, and in all honesty, and at the cost of sounding immodest, I didn’t let him early on in the day. By the time I was into my 30th roll of the day, I looked comfortable doing it. I felt I was doing a better job of sticking to the kayak right after finding myself in the drink. A couple of the drills from Day 2 rally helped and I found myself more at ease at looking at the world upside down from under the water. I found myself taking my time even after Rajesh’s customary tap telling me it’s time to roll. The sweep of the arm was longer and I felt I carried the blade along the edge a lot better. There was still a fault in the distance between the arm and the ear and the angle of the blade on the water, but towards the end of the day I found I as cutting it a lot closer and had to lean and push back a lot less. The kayak continues to resist my lower body and mishearing Rajesh’s concerned statement that ‘it’s small’ provided amusement for the juvenile company I’ve been keepinmg this weekend.

We ended the day with some tired shoulders and arms, and it was a good decision. I left content in the knowledge that I could do a guitar roll unassisted. Mahesh’s comforting words that I had achieved a lot in the span of 3 days were welcome.

Tomorrow we graduate to the eskimo roll. And perhaps, back to basics.

PaddleHard.

Pain

Pain

Trypewritten article on Pain
Journal Entry

11.01.2015

Pali, Maharashtra.

PAIN.

An hour into training I hit it. That moment you get hit by that feeling. I started the day spectacularly, with some quick rolls. I was out of the water instantly after toppling. And I braced on. Things were going smoothly when I missed a roll. Unable to get the paddle back I surrendered to the river and Rajesh had to swim in to toss me over. All the spectators on their weekend office trip, who till now were delighted to see me disappear and reappear with only the pretty blue hull of my kayak to show for it, stood a little quiet now. I shrug it off and get back into position. Tilt left, turn right, go under. Position the blade, take a moment to breathe (or not) and sweep. Air, light, boom, Water. As Rahesh rushes to position himself under me, I realise I missed again.

As I grab some air, and wipe the water off my face and eyes, I ask myself, What gives? Undettered, I reposition and fall back in. Same result. The quiet spectators make way for worried spectators. And I’m struggling.

It’s called Pain.

My hip was sore. And my knees ached. The toes that had found some allowance in that baby kayak were being asked to clear out, and were seriously considering it. My shoulder would hurt if it felt something. And I was back to sq. 1.

It holds true for nearly every sport I’ve tried. At sailing, for a week I had no gloves and a broken jam cleat meant my hands chafed every session. During the races I felt no pain. At archery, the first few sessions my left arm knew what the bow string tasted like. When Oscar changed our technique while kayaking, my calves cramped. So, Why do we do it?

Why am I spending a sunday afternoon trying to repeatedly drown myself when there are other pursuits? Why should I endure back pain tonight? Or put myself back in that tight kayak tomorrow morning?

I can’t honestly say. I guess on some level it’s a reminder that you are doing it right. Your first steps in anything tend to be like that. And after that first fall, first taste of ddust, first mouthful of river water your body becomes more ready.

The first time I kayaked a distance I was hit by a gust of wind heading back, and it put me off balance. I was 2 Kms off shore and there wasn’t a soul in sight. In our lives we experience pain and we shy from it, avoid it even. Take a day off working out, or give up an activity altogether. This, when it might be the very thing we need. In the basic way of looking at it, aren’t we All born off pain. Kicking and screaming we’ve made it this far. And we have a long way to go.

I took the kayak to the launch site, squeezed my severely cramped legs out, let the water out of the kayak. Took a breath or two. Got my feet back in and execute the rolls to perfection. We start at 8.a.m. tomorrow.

PaddleHard.

A Great start to the new Year

A Great start to the new Year

I have to say that 2015 started off well. Apart from the obviousness of waking up on a cliff overlooking a beach hearing the waves come crashing down, there have been some great early decisions. For starters, I spent the last 4 days in Kolad learning safety techniques for capsize or very simply, rolling.

It’s been a tough few days and I can’t remember when my body was this sore, but the outcome has been good so far.

The idea came from Pradip Patade, a constant mentor and coach, and he put me in touch with Mahesh Sanap at Wilder West Adventures. You might know them if you’ve ever been rafting in Kolad or the Kundalika. They basically run the show there.

While the rafting is what I’d predominantly gone there for previously, they have a great property that serves as a place to learn river kayaking, take jetski’s out for a ride and learn your basic scuba too. The owner, Mahesh was extremely helpful and recognized the expedition and it’s adventurous nature right away.

Day 1: It was fraught with uncertainty and I was a little worked up with my resistance to being in the water. Despite having a good control over my breath underwater, I found myself panicked in the upside down scenario. I can’t say I drank anything less than 3 litres of river water that first day and frankly felt the expedition stood on the edge of a blade.

Day 2: I started with a new instructor. Rajesh, I’d say is a pro. He was doing things with his kayak that I couldn’t pull off on a dance floor*. I found my feet in the water and realized I’ve nothing to be afraid of here. Slowly, but steadily I was getting better at the stroke and pulled off some assisted rolls by the end of the day. My consumption of river water was remarkably less and I felt I’d seen the world upside down a lot more today.

Day 3: Rajesh was prompt in his instruction and we did some great drills. My confidence and morale was boosted by the friends who’d come down to join me kayaking on the water. (Needless to say they had a good time running around the lazy stream in the ideal afternoon conditions) I found myself bettering my guitar roll and by the end of the day, I could do my own rolls. Here’s a snippet from Day 3 –

 

*This analogy is misleading as I have two left feet on any dance floor. So here are some pics of what I’m talking about.

Flips
Fear of water? What water?
Staying out of the water. Kayak style
Dry as a summer day in the desert
Hip movements
It’s in the hips