The Paddler ezine Issue 51 Winter 2020 - Page 12

ThePADDLER 12 B E C O M I N G As a rule, we arrive in canoeing and/or kayaking pretty well equipped to cope… Words: Greg Spencer l Photos: Tony Dallimore - T3 Imaging & Greg Spencer That’s true even if we have no directly relevant experience. We have expertise we can draw upon from our experiences on land and in the water. With very little play and exploration we can come up with workable ways to do pretty much anything we want to do. Once we have made a start, we're mostly in motion. We move relative to the water and the air. We create bow waves and navigate slight breezes, both of which shape what we can do. As a rule, we know that if we simply freeze and do nothing, our situation will continue to unfold in some way, shape or form - even if that’s just with us spinning around. As we get more accomplished we get more attuned to what we've set in motion. We become switched-on to the options available to us. Our growing awareness gives us a feel for moving upon the surface of the water. Soon, it starts feeling as natural as moving on land or when we’re swimming. In developing our ‘feel’ for our new activity, we tune into feedback we get through all of our senses. Initially, we might struggle to distinguish sensations which are important (e.g. a wind blown wave accelerating us into a turn) from those which may not be (e.g. a wind blown wave simply passing under our craft). Fortunately, the struggle to distinguish relevant and irrelevant cues is a battle we know how to overcome – as it’s what we’ve faced many times when learning something new! A …