Page 1

Morgan House keeps his eyes on the prize

First US Indoor Kayak Championships A Show-Me-State Showdown Strength training for getting faster The role of rest in training What a “smart paddle� may mean for high-tech training
















Page 17

How Morgan House got to where he is today and where he’s going from here. First US Indoor Kayak Championships

Mix in several elite athletes, a few coaches and a sprinkling of some weekend warriors and you have a great recipe for a successful ergometer regatta. It didn’t hurt that it was held in Oklahoma City, the city expected to be the world’s premier urban watersports venue.

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If you race, strength training is mandatory

Or so says U.S. marathon team member, Abel Hastings. Learn about his approach to strength training and how it is a must for the paddler looking to beat his friends on the lake or a national contender.

Page 14 3

More Inside New surfski association butts heads with ICF

International surfski racers collaborate to form a new association to counter recent action by the International Canoe Federation to enter into the lucrative surfski 6

Ask Coach Caven

Ever wondered if interval training is for you? Or, trying to figure out if you incorporate enough rest in your training routine? No fear, Coach Shaun Cave answers these questions for 12

Paddle review

Rob Mousley gives his review of two thumbs up and claims the upgraded Epic Mid Wing Paddle is a 17

Show-Me-State showdown

Rocky Caldwell hosts this annual marathon canoe and kayak event in Tecumseh, Mo., and gives racers the opportunity to compete in four races in holiday weekend, May 23

Australian surfskiers confess their hydration sins

Some of the most famous names in surfski Down Under admit they’re not very good at following current advice about staying hydrated during 25

“Smart paddle” may revolutionize training

Margi Bohm, PhD, gives a detailed review of the new Excalibur paddle, which is a unique training device with built in high-tech electronics to give valuable training 26

Canoe & Kayak Racing Canoe & Kayak Racing is a bimonthly electronic magazine containing news, articles and features about events, paddlers, training, race results and other information about canoe and kayak racing in the United States. CKR seeks to promote canoe and kayak racing with editorial and promotional content designed to inform, educate and motivate beginners and experienced paddlers of all ages. Each issue will cover a wide range of editorial and promotional content from tips and how to articles to race reports and feature stories. CKR regularly accepts by-lined editorial submissions with the right of final editing for style, tone, length and voice. Editorial and graphical content may not be used in any form, printed or digital, without permission of the editor with attribution. CKR is posted bimonthly at: Editor: Dan Grubbs Contributors this issue: Dan Grubbs, editor Stephen Mahelona, associate editor Shaun Caven, contributor Abel Hastings, contributor Margi Bohm, PhD, contributor David Vincent, contributor Rob Mousley, contributor

Cover: A bearded Morgan House of Georgia looking slightly wiser and paddling his Nelo Vanquish during a training session as he prepares for the 2010 sprint season.

Canoe & Kayak Racing 1221 Pheasant Ct. Liberty, Missouri 64068 816-729-4422 CKR’s Facebook profile


From the Editor there about paddlers and their racing lives. We’d love to hear about these stories. I’d also like to thank our many contributors who have given their talent to provide readers with interesting and informative content every other month.

Oh, what a year it’s been. Our last issue completed one year of publishing Canoe & Kayak Racing. So, here we are now, celebrating our first anniversary. The paddling community has been positively responsive to what we’re doing. I’m encouraged that paddlers see the benefit of blurring the lines between paddling disciplines. In my mind, this is critical for the continued growth in all disciplines. Many have partnered with us to raise awareness for racing and paddlesports. We’re thankful for their participation and willingness to join the effort. There is still plenty of work to do and hundreds of races to learn about across the U.S., but we’re excited about the opportunity to bring readers what we learn about races, athletes and training.

Our contributors are what make this whole thing work. There is far too much for one person to cover in a bimonthly, so contributors are critical. I encourage readers to communicate with our contributors who usually provide their e-mail or Web site addresses with each article or photo. I’d like to send out a special thank you to our associate editor Stephen Mahelona who has been our source for some great cover features and our expert on outrigger racing. Stephen’s special paddler’s sensitivity has made each of his stories creative and relevant. Mahalo, Stephen. Now, about this issue. We have a jam-packed issue for March/April. Our cover feature is a profile of Morgan House by Stephen Mahelona. House is a sprint kayaker and a member of the U.S. team. Read about the steps he’s taking on his Olympic journey.

and also about rest and recovery in a paddler’s training cycle. We’ve also included an article reporting on the developments in surfski racing where there is now two competing international governing bodies: the International Canoe Federation and the International Surfski Paddlers Association. Top American marathon paddler Abel Hastings has written a detailed article about the role of strength training for racers. In his mind, if you race, you must include strength training in your routine. We also give you a little race preview of the Show-Me-State Canoe and Kayak Marathon hosted by Rocky Caldwell. We also hear from Dr. Margi Bohm who reviewed the Excalibur, a hightech training paddle that records forces with special sensors built into the paddle shaft. Dr. Bohm outlines how the tool works and gives us her insights on how useful the Excalibur can be for training. I won’t give everything away and invite you to put in here and read each article and pass on the link to others you may feel would enjoy these stories and articles.

Candidly, I’d love to hear from more race organizers of USCA style racing, but at least readers can always connect to these races through the USCA’s Worldwide Event Calendar.

We also have a race report of the first U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships hosted by the Oklahoma City Boathouse and KayakPro. This event was a critical racing opportunity for sprint paddlers looking for a place on the U.S. sprint team to paddle abroad.

Thanks to all of you who read Canoe & Kayak Racing for your attention.

I also know there are thousands of inspiring and fascinating stories out

Coach Shaun Caven has provided his insights in the role of interval training

See you on the river, Dan Grubbs


New surfski association forms, butts heads with ICF In January, race organizers and key leaders in surfski racing regions collectively formalized the International Surfski Paddling Association (ISPA) in response to the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) actions to create a surfski world series of races that it would govern. “I think it’s important to note, that while certain events have sparked the formation of the ISPA, this is by no means a knee-jerk reaction,” said Dawid Mocke, the current world surfski champion and member of the interim governing committee of the ISPA. “We have actually had a governing body now for at least four years, albeit very informal.”

A surprised surfski community According to the new ISPA’s president, Rob Mousley, the ICF took what he characterizes as unilateral action without much input from the larger surfski racing community. “It appears that they took this action without consulting more than a few individuals in surfski and we are concerned that the people on the ICF working committee are neither representative, informed nor involved enough in our sport to make appropriate decisions.” Yet, according to written commentary by the secretary general of the ICF Simon Toulson, this was not a sudden development but the culmination of several years of committee work. “As the organization officially recognized worldwide for the whole sport of canoeing and paddling by IOC, GAISF, ASOIF, etc., it would seem logical to have as many disciplines under the same umbrella. Surfski has been around for a long time and the ICF has had it as part of its committees for the last six years,” Toulson wrote. Toulson indicated there have been many meetings and discussions with the leading people in surfski, but did not identify whom they had consulted. Mousley questions who these leading people have 6

been. “No one had any idea that this had progressed beyond a concept. No one in surfski would have agreed with this without a great deal more consultation.” Regarding this issue, Toulson wrote that the ICF has “a set of procedures and statutes for how we create committees and new disciplines. We have followed these procedures to the letter.”

Arguable benefits Some observers might ask if all the sponsors and their support were already in place with the existing races that are attended by hundreds of international paddlers, what would be the benefit of ICF leadership for surfski? According to Toulson, it would be the international structure of the ICF. “The structure and recognition of an international sporting body is a main factor,” he wrote. The “possibilities of entering major sporting events, like World Games, Masters Games, Olympics, Continental Games, Beach Games, etc., can only be achieved through ICF.” The ICF structure also has more than 170 national paddling federations under its control. “The problem is that by far the majority of these federations have no knowledge whatsoever of surfski paddling,” Mousley said. “So we could find ourselves with surfski being run by a group of individuals from landlocked countries.” Jonathan Crowe, another member of the new ISPA interim governing committee, agrees with Mousley. “Every person I have spoken to in surfski paddling has joined the sport because of its lack of officialdom, bureaucracy and the soul and spirit of the sport. “We have our own World Series and events already set

see ISPA on page 30

An inclusive environment highlights inaugural U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships

Event provides another important racing opportunity for the novice and elite paddler. As a novice paddler, I sum up the event in a single word: electric. Whether in the warm-up room or out on the competition stage, the environment at the first U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships in Oklahoma City could be described as electric. It didn’t hurt that the event was held in conjunction with the Nadia Comaneci gymnastics festival and a large health fair all at the Cox Convention Center. Sitting on the ergometer during the first heat of the event I could hear many spectators cheering and shouting encouragement. Certainly, the indoor championship benefited by countless people passing by the heats and finals.

A success in several ways As I reflect on what many athletes told me, I believe the benefit of the event was two-fold. One, it provided a critical racing opportunity for the elite ath-

letes. Two, the indoor championships gave novice paddlers an opportunity to paddle with some of the nation’s best. I considered it a privilege to be on the same starting line with Grayson Bourne, five-time Olympian for Great Britain and Romanian Olympic medalist in canoe sprint, Claudiu Ciur. “This is great preparation for the five to six races we compete in each year,” said Maggie Hogan, winner of the women’s 200 and 500 meter races and a member of the 2009 U.S. sprint kayak team. “It’s nice to race early in the season,” said Kaitlyn McElroy, also a member of several 2009 U.S. paddling teams. “We gain more experience with starts and lining up with elite paddlers.”

The ergometer’s time has come The athletes and coaches universally agreed that the event was valuable.

“This is an easy way to have races in the off season or in winter climates,” said Jeff Smoke, a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic sprint kayak team and winner of the men’s 200 and 500 meter races. “I think the erg is a great way to train and helps complement on-the-water training … they let you work on technique and have consistent, measurable training sessions.” “The machines are beautiful and a pretty good simulation to water,” said Rusty Herbert of Houston and a multimedalist at the 2009 World Masters’ Games in Sydney, Australia.

Excitement for everyone A buzz was noticeable at registration and around the warm-up machines. Novice and elite paddlers mixed while coaches from around the country chatted to catch up with each other. Several younger elite paddlers who

continued 7

Clockwise from top left: Jeff Smoke, men’s 200 and 500 meter winner, Maggie Hogan, women’s 200 and 500 meter winner, Katy Hill, junior women’s 500 meter winner.

Clockwise from top left: Kaitlyn McElroy of the Oklahoma Boathouse, Shaun Caven, Rusty Herbert and Jeff Smoke before a men’s heat, John Hoffman with his game face on.

had been members of the U.S. junior team were looking to make positive impressions and continue their team careers. Volunteers and organizers were busy professionally running the whole show. When the schedule was posted, I saw I was in the first heat of the day. A few butterflies formed in my belly. I didn’t know what to expect never having been on the KayakPro GYM, the ergometer used in these championships. Seconds before the start of the first 500 meter heat, I looked at the crowd that gathered and realized I was a part of something special, regardless of how well I raced. As soon as the heat started, it was clear it would be an exciting day. Men, women and juniors all took their turn in various heats, enjoying the shouts of encouragement and cheers from spectators and competitors alike. At the back of the stage where the six ergometers were positioned was a large-screen display showing the racing lanes, kayaks and animated progress of each boat during the heats. The entire event was webcast, making it available to watch worldwide. The morning was filled with 500 meter heats and finals crowning a champion in each division with the afternoon reserved for the 200 meter race and awards. Not making the finals, (I paddled a plodding 42.4 in the 200) I had a chance to watch all the best athletes of the day battle it out as the larger of the crowds gathered for the men’s 200 meter finals. In a close race, Jeff Smoke nosed out Grayson Bourne by half a second with a time of 35 seconds flat. Maggie Hogan outpaced U.S. junior team member, Katy Hill by three seconds with a time of 40.3. See full results in box at right.

Worth a repeat performance Most of the racers I spoke to indicated they would return if the event was held next year. I selfishly would love to see 10

it hosted again in Oklahoma City. It’s a central location easily reached by cheap airfare and associated with the world’s premiere urban water sports facility. Once America and the rest of the world see what’s happening on the Oklahoma River, the choice will be clear. As my weekend ended and I drove back to Kansas City, I couldn’t help think that paddlers, even the elite athletes and coaches, are some of the

most welcoming people I know. Never did any of the elite athletes hesitate to chat with the novice paddlers, and the coaches were willing to talk shop with those of lesser skills. Anyone could stop a top paddler and ask a question or pick their brain even while they were saddling up on the erg. To me, that was the best highlight of the inaugural U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships.

U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships 2010 - Oklahoma City Open Men’s Final – 200 meters 1 – 00:35.0 Jeff Smoke 2 – 00:35.5 Grayson Bourne 3 – 00:36.0 Cedric Bond 4 – 00:37.1 Stein Jorgensen 5 – 00:37.7 Claudiu Cuir 6 – 00:38.8 Jared McArthur Open Men’s Final – 500 meters 1 – 1:40.3 Jeff Smoke 2 – 1:40.5 Grayson Bourne 3 – 1:45.1 Jared McArthur 4 – 1:46.7 Cedric Bond 5 – 1:55.1 Rusty Herbert 6 – DNF Stein Jorgensen Open Women’s Final – 200 meters 1 – 00:40.3 Maggie Hogan 2 – 00:43.3 Katy Hill 3 – 00:44.2 Kaitlyn McElroy 4 – 00:46.1 Tatjana Perrin 5 – 00:50.8 Kat Schiro 6 – 00:51.9 Katie Pfefferkorn Open Women’s Final – 500 meters 1 – 1:48.9 Maggie Hogan 2 – 1:59.4 Kaitlyn McElroy 3 – 2:22.2 Katie Pfefferkorn 4 – 2:23.3 Cathy Hearn 5 – 2:48.9 Ann Reitzer-Smith 6 – 3:45.2 Judy Slaughter

Junior Men’s Final – 500 meters 1 – 1:50.1 Will Roszel 2 – 1:56.3 Stanton Collins 3 – 2:04.6 Kyle Mechini 4 – 2:13.7 Dylan Puckett 5 – 2:31.7 Cooper Wehde Junior Men’s Final – 200 meters 1 – 00:38.9 Kyle Mechini 2 – 00:39.1 Will Roszel 3 – 00:41.7 Stanton Collins 4 – 00:42.6 Dylan Puckett 5 – 00:50.4 Chase Skelton 6 – 00:51.2 Cooper Wehde Junior Women’s Final – 200 meters 1 – 00:50.4 Tatjana Perrin 2 – 00:53.5 Genna Ille 3 – 01:02.6 Bria Cornforth Junior Women’s Final – 500 meters 1 – 2:10.4 Katy Hill 2 – 2:17.3 Tatjanna Perrin 3 – 2:53.3 Genna Ille 4 – 3:12.9 Bria Cornforth

The roles of interval training and recovery I’m a marathon paddler, and I’m wondering what role interval training can serve in my training. Does interval training even have a place for long-distance paddlers? If you want to get faster in your boat and be at the front of races, then interval training will play a major part of your annual training program. All the top marathon paddlers in the world use interval training in some form. So I would encourage all paddlers to use explore the benefits of this method of training. Interval training has been the basis for athletic training routines for years. The first forms of interval training, called “fartlek” involved alternating short, fast bursts of intensive exercise with slow, easy activity. Fartlek was casual, unstructured training that perfectly fit its English translation: “speed play.”

What is interval training? The interval programs of today have become highly sophisticated methods of structured training for athletic performance enhancement. Physiologists and trainers have designed interval programs that are specifically suited to individual athletes. These sessions in12

clude precisely measured intervals that match the athlete’s race distance, event and current level of conditioning. Often the appropriate intensity and duration of the intervals is determined by the results of anaerobic threshold testing (AT) that includes measuring the blood-lactate of an athlete during intense exercise.

How interval training works Interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic system. During the high intensity effort, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen. The by-product is lactic acid, which is related to the burning sensation felt in the muscles during high intensity efforts. During the high intensity interval, lactic acid builds and the athlete enters oxygen debt. During the recovery phase the heart and lungs work together to “pay back” this oxygen debt and break down the lactic acid. It is in this phase that the aerobic system is in control, using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy.

The benefits of interval training This repetitive form of training leads to the adaptation response. The body begins to build new capillaries, and is better able to take in and deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Muscles develop a higher tolerance to the build-up of lactate and the heart muscle is strengthened. These changes result in improved performance particularly within the cardiovascular system. Interval training also helps prevent the injuries often associated with repetitive endurance exercise. It allows you to increase your training intensity without overtraining or burn-out. In this way, adding intervals to your routine is a good way to cross train. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, more calories are burned in short, high intensity exercise. If you are counting calories burned, high intensity exercise such as intervals are better than long, slow endurance exercise. You don’t need to be a world-class athlete and have sophisticated blood

analysis to take advantage of the benefits of interval training. The standard “speed play” training of fartlek works well for the rest of us. This type of interval work is based on your needs. Simply pay attention to how you feel and set your intensity and duration accordingly.

Interval training safety tips • warm up before starting intervals • assess your current conditioning and set training goals that are within your ability • start slowly • keep a steady, challenging pace through the interval • build the number of repetitions over time • bring your heart rate down to 100-110 bpm during the rest interval • to improve, increase intensity or duration, but not both at the same time • make any changes slowly over a period of time • train on flatwater to ensure even effort • you can include circuit training as interval training

Advanced interval training workouts You can take a more scientific approach to interval training by varying your work and recovery intervals based on your pre-determined goals. Here are the four variables you can manipulate when designing your interval training program: • intensity (speed) of work interval • duration (distance or time) of work interval • duration of rest or recovery interval • number of repetitions of each interval

Interval training in kayak examples • 3 min. wash leads in pairs for 30 mins. 3 min. rest x 2 or 3 (depending on fitness level) • 5 min. on 1 min. rest x 10 • 1 on/1 off, 2 on/2 off, 1 on/1 off x 8 There are hundreds of combinations that can be used depending on your goals and ability. For marathon racing specifically, interval training is vital as it will give you the ability to get a fast start, maintain pace, move up places in a group and finally sprint for a win. I’m a middle-aged long-distance paddler who trains regularly and I want to better understand recovery and rest and how they work in training cycles. Being that

see COACH on page 24



trength training is essential for all aspects of paddlesports racing. However, it can often be used ineffectively by even the most serious athletes. This article is geared to help you make effective use of strength training to enhance your performance. During my 25 years of training, racing and coaching, I’ve often been surprised at who embraces strength training and who doesn’t. Most sprinters and slalom racers are on the strength training bus, but many endurance paddlers don’t recognize the importance of strength training. And if they do, their training plan often doesn’t have the right goals in mind.

If you race training is m

All paddlers need strength training because hydrodynamic drag, the resistance that acts on boats by the water, is exponential. Increasing one’s speed takes increasing amounts of power as the boat gets faster. While this increase in power should be met with an improvement in technique, the simple fact is that going faster requires power. This is especially important because paddling requires a huge amount of power to move you and the boat through the water because the boat, no matter how sleek, decelerates very quickly. The basic premise behind my annual plan for strength training is to follow three phases outlined below and use the charts shown in Figures 1 and 2. The three phases include: • maximum strength • muscle endurance • competitive preparedness

Phase 1 Maximum Strength This phase lasts 3-3½ months and aims at building maximum strength in all muscle groups through musclespecific exercises with heavy weight and low repetitions. The focus here should be on completing lifts that not only tax the larger 14

Figure 1 shows an annual plan that is aimed at two major competitions. An athlete should begin with the date of the first major competition and work backwards at least 10 months to properly prepare. The year is broken into the three basic phases.

muscle groups, but also tax the smaller groups that tend to be easily injured while paddling, such as the smaller muscles of the shoulder support structure. Care must be taken to complete these lifts properly so they don’t cause the very injury you hope to avoid. In this phase, athletes will find themselves doing lots of different lifts with less specificity towards paddling and greater specificity towards shoring up the weak areas and building all-around strength. A spotter is important because you will want to push towards maximum load often. Workouts should include several sets of each exercise with 3-8 reps per set. Athletes should pay special attention to the eccentric part of the lift (the down part of the lift), which builds strength quicker. Expect to step up in weight in small increments every 2-4 weeks.

Phase 2 Muscle Endurance The middle phase, which lasts roughly 4-4½ months, is when the athlete uses the W-R curve in Figure 2 to turn the maximum strength they have been developing into sport-specific strength. Endurance paddlers should expect to regularly adapt their workouts to gradually move them from the left side all the way to the right side of the W-R curve. Sprinters and slalom racers should progress only part way from the left side to the right side in the 4-4½ months of the Muscle Endurance phase. I suggest about 25 reps as a maximum for 200 meter sprinters, 40 reps maximum for slalom racers and 500 meters paddlers and 60 reps for 1,000 meter paddlers. The athlete’s training plan should move evenly from the left side

e, strength mandatory

by Abel Hastings

of the curve to the right side of the curve over the time period of the 4-4½ months as shown in Figure 2. This will require the following changes. Percent weight: The weight the athlete lifts for a given exercise goes down (yes, down), but the reps go up. The major goal for each workout should be to beat the curve by completing more repetitions than is predicted by the curve, not by pushing more weight than is predicted. For example, if my maximum weight for one repetition of seated rows is 100 pounds, the curve predicts that I should be able to complete 24 reps at 60lbs. my goal should be to complete at least 25 repetitions with good technique. Exercises: The number of exercises per workout will necessarily go down. This requires that the types of exercises will become progressively more sport specific. The end goal may be a workout that only contains 3-5 highly relevant exercises such as single arm rows, trunk twists and triceps curls.

Figure 2 shows the Weight-Repetitions Curve (or W-R Curve), which is a generalized relationship between the number of repetitions an athlete can complete and a given percentage of their maximum lift weight. This relationship has been a staple of the eastern European weight training plans for decades but is only now beginning to catch on in the US. The W-R Curve allows the athlete to plan workouts that help them to turn high strength into muscular endurance while keeping total exertion for each workout roughly constant. The left side of the curve has a point where one repetition corresponds to 100% of maximum lift. The right side has a point where 200 repetitions corresponds to roughly 20% maximum lift. This curve allows an athlete to convert maximum strength into muscle endurance in an optimal way.

Length of workouts: The length of the workout should generally not change. While the number of repetitions may go up, this should be matched well enough with the decrease in the number of exercises that the time of the workout should stay roughly constant. Sport Specific Resistance: Phase 2 should also include some resistance training in the boat. Nearly every top level paddler spends a fair amount of

see TRAINING on page 23 15

Saturday & Sunday, May 1 & 2 — St Charles, IL — On the Fox River

Current Buster Canoe & Kayak Race Pottawatomie Park, St Charles, IL Tave Lamperez Phone (630) 584-6931

Sunday, May 16, 2010 — Libertyville to Mount Prospect, IL ­— On the Des Plaines River

53rd Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon EXPERIENCE THE LARGEST SINGLE DAY CANOE & KAYAK RACE IN THE COUNTRY Registration: Race hotline: (847) 604-2445

Upgraded Epic mid wing paddle is a winner by Rob Mousley I was lucky enough to get my hands on the upgraded Epic mid-wing paddle recently. The new model has strengthened blades and a new lever length lock.

First impressions

These paddles are very light. Mine weighs in at around 24 ounces. The paddles are works of art, and the finish is exquisite. The new model retains the same blade shape, but has been beefed up considerably in the vulnerable area close to the shaft. The length lock has also been optimized by a lever lock. It’s extremely easy and convenient to use.

Using the paddles

I find that the paddles offer comfort with an oval shaft that helps locate the correct angle for the control hand. They are easy to set up; and, with the lever lock, it just got a whole lot easier. The blade design provides a firm ‘grip’ on the water at the catch. They are balanced well without a tendency to skid or twist as you pull through.

Models available

The paddle blades, with a surface area of 116 square inches, come in two layups: hybrid (white) blades that are less expensive, and the full carbon blades. They are 6½ inches by 19¾ inches. Epic offer three alternative paddle shafts that have different flexibility characteristics. The most flexible is the hybrid ‘green’ shaft which is preferred for surf competitions or anyplace where the shaft may experience impact. The ‘burgundy’ shaft with medium flexibility is most popular. The stiffest shaft is preferred for sprint racing and is referred to as the ‘blue’ shaft. Check the Epic web site for more details. 17

Want to see & compare what races are going on in, say ... Florida, Michigan, and Ontario on the same weekend? Or... AR, LA, MO, MS, KS, and IL? Or... CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT? Or... FL, GA, SC, NC, and KY? Or... IN, MI, NY, OH, PA, and Quebec? Or... WA, CA, BC, the Yukon, and the Rest of the World? Or... any combination of states or regions? All on one screen? With links to detailed info (and their web sites) for all of them? Then go to or (a link is in the map image below) and check out:

Worldwide Paddling Event Calendar

This issue’s featured races Illinois – May 16: 53rd Des

Plaines River C&K Marathon

Massachusetts – April 25:

28th Run of the Charles

Michigan – March 27-28:

The Klondike Challenge

Pennsylvania – April 3:

Cameron County C&K Classic

Washington State – April 10:

PNWORCA Championships

Wisconsin – April 17-18:

Burlington C1 & K1 Pursuit

Eyes on London by Stephen Mahelona Associate Editor

Once a spectator of the Atlanta Olympic Games, Morgan House now sets his sights on his own Olympic dream.


Morgan House marks his steps to the 2012 Olympic Games The strongest headwind he’s ever experienced howls down the Oklahoma River for the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials in Oklahoma city. Yet he hears only silence. The elements affect everyone equally and he tells himself that he is the best headwind paddler on the river this day. Color and motion surround him but he is conscious of only one thing: the finish line. With each flash of his blade he mentally draws the line toward himself. He races his race, as he has done a thousand times before. But he knows that this will have to be the best race of his life to beat top U.S. sprint kayaker and teammate Rami Zur. He focuses on his technique, for it is the critical element. “When you get tired, technique begins to fall apart,” House said. “The one who is able to hold on to his technique the longest has the best chance of walking away with it.” On this blustery day, young Morgan House walks away with the victory.

Working toward a big goal In non-Olympic years, the U.S. national sprint team competes in three World Cup competitions. Time trials at these events qualify a paddler for the World Championships. In Olympic years, performance at the World


Championship qualifies your nation for a spot in the Olympics. A paddler’s performances at World Cup races, Olympic Trials and Pan American Championships determine who will fill that spot on their country’s Olympic team. Morgan moves one step closer to Beijing with a win at the Pan American Championships in Montreal. In the somewhat convoluted system of awarding Olympic berths to nations, the United States had earned a single K1 500 slot at the Beijing Olympics, and it all comes down to a head-to-head between House and Zur at the World Cup in Szeged, Hungary. It is not necessary to win the overall competition, but simply to turn in a faster time than your teammate. By a onesecond margin, the veteran Rami Zur earns the honor of representing the U.S. and the up-and-comer Morgan House sets his sights on London.

1996 Olympics, Atlanta Eight-year-old Morgan House enjoyed playing all of the regular sports:

football, baseball, basketball and soccer. But he didn’t consider himself very good at any of them. He took an interest in the kayaks gliding across Lake Lanier near Atlanta, and soon discovered the thrill of kayaking. The following year Morgan and his family attended the rowing and kayaking competitions of the XXVI Olympiad and he decided on the spot that kayaking was something he could seriously pursue. Looking back, he didn’t realize how much time and effort it would take. “It would become an entire lifestyle change.”

2003 Junior World Championships, Japan This change in lifestyle emerged in 2003, an eye-opening year for Morgan. That year he traveled to Germany and Poland as part of the U.S. World Cup team and competed in the Junior World Championships in Japan. “I was the slowest guy on the team, but the experience opened my eyes to the fact that this sport could take me around the world.” At the 2005 Junior Worlds in Hungary, Morgan reached the A Final in the 1,000 meters, placing him amongst the top nine paddlers in the world at that distance. Though he

psyched himself out and finished ninth in the final, he could count himself amongst the top guys in the world. In the 500 meter final, the Russian paddler next to him exploded out of the gate. “I’ve never seen anyone start off faster than that.” But he kept his cool, raced his race, and finished fifth – the best finish ever for an American junior. He was named USA Canoe/Kayak’s Male Athlete of the Year.

World class coaches and training partners By his own admission, “training” was a very loose description of what he and his paddling friends were accomplishing in the early years. “We would go out every morning and every afternoon and just kill each other, with no thought to actual training. You’d go ‘til you couldn’t go anymore.” But under the guidance of U.S. team coaches, “there is more thought in the way I train, and what I think about while I’m training,” House said. “It’s about making every stroke count, making it the most efficient stroke it can be. Again, technique.” The U.S. team hasn’t done all that well in international competition the past few years, but with the guidance of coaches such as Guy Wilding and Stein Jorgensen, House is confident that the team will make huge strides in the next two years. “We’ve got experience under our belts now and great coaches.” House’s favorite (and best) event is the 500 meters. But the 500 will be replaced at the 2012 Olympics by the 200 meters. The shorter race is deemed different enough from the 1,000 meters that it may potentially open up the competition to a wider field of competitors. So House and his coaches will likely put extra emphasis on training for the 1000 between now and 2012. Training season runs from September to March, and scheduling is left up to 21

the individual paddler. In January House traveled to Australia for 3½ weeks of training. The Aussie training season typically begins sooner than what House was used to and he found himself very frustrated for the first two weeks. “I felt like I was learning to paddle all over again, I couldn’t keep up. But the last week and a half I got it all back.” Back in the States, he traveled to Florida, where he trained alongside two of his heroes – Olympians Adam van Koeverden of Canada and Anders Gustafsson of Sweden. “These guys are the best of the best and I’m learning a lot from them,” House said. “I follow by example, pay close attention to what they do on the water and how they conduct themselves off the water.” While it still has its dreamlike moments, his quest to be an Olympian has moved from the realm of dreams into that of belief. “I haven’t worked this hard, ever. Believing that I’m going to get even better makes all the difference.”

2010 World Cup During the April to August racing season, the national team holds camps. “You pretty much go to every one of these,” House admitted. “It’s important to be with the team, to train


together.” House has trained with and competed against the same guys for the past several years. They’ve lived together in the same suite at the Olympic Training Center for the past three years and while they have become a close family off the water, they are fierce competitors on the water. While it would be easy in this year of the Winter Olympics to allow thoughts to stray ahead to 2012, House remains focused on the present. He is currently in California training for the U.S. Team Trials in April. “I’ve had a good season,” he reports. “I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m looking forward to it.” The national team will train in various locations this season in preparation for international events, and Morgan is confident that he will be an important part of the team that travels to France, Hungary and Germany for the 2010 regattas. To learn more about Morgan House and his quest for Olympic glory, visit his official Web site by clicking here.

TRAINING from page 15

Race Preview

Ozark Mountains and scenic water part of Show-Me-State race It may not be the Deep South, but paddlers will find a special hospitality at the Show-Me-Start Canoe and Kayak Marathon, May 29-31, in Tecumseh, Mo. Held annually on Norfork Lake and run by Rocky Caldwell, this three-day event gives paddlers a chance to race four different races of about eight miles in three days. It’s a bargain, too, at $5 per race.

one day and hop on a surfski the next. “I’ve got it set up so kayakers can jump in and race with someone else in a pro boat or a cruiser,” Caldwell said. He expects to have at least 30 boats racing during the weekend, including several Boy Scout teams.

The weekend of racing usually attracts other top names, too. Caldwell reports he expects Joe Royer (Tenn.), “The Show-Me-State marathon is Phil Capell (Ark.), Doug Pennington always a fun race that I look forward (Mo.), Jim Short (Mo.), Don Walls to each year,” said Mike Herbert, (Ark.), Dale Burris (Ark.), Steve three-time Olympian on the U.S. Lynn (Ark.) and Elmore Holmes sprint kayak team. “You get to (Tenn.) to be among some of the paddle a lot of races and Rocky does more well-known names. a good job at covering most classes, “I expect most of these guys to look so everyone gets to paddle.” to finish somewhere near one hour in Camping is recommended at Sunthese races,” Caldwell said. “Me in burst Ranch or Dawt Mill park near a C1, I’ll finish in an hour five or an Tecumseh, Mo., with a full weekend hour and ten minutes.” of racing and camaraderie highlightThose in the USCA racing world will ed by the following events: know the name of Calvin Hassel of Saturday, 3 pm Grand Island, Neb. Hassel has more USCA C1 race – 8 miles start/stop at than 500 race titles and 50 national championships to his name. “I raced Tecumseh Bridge there from 1997 to 2004. I always Sunday, 9:30 am enjoyed racing there and thought it USCA Aluminum Class – start at was a fun event,” Hassel said. “I like Sunburst Ranch/end at Dot Mill the fact that I could compete in four different races on the weekend.” Sunday, 2 pm “It’s a good chance to learn a different discipline, such as a kayak; or a kayaker learn to paddle a USCA Sunday, 4 pm canoe,” Caldwell said. “It’s great Adult/Youth tandem class – less than cross training. Mike Herbert always tells me you can be a better canoe 2 miles racer by paddling a kayak.” USCA Pro/Cruiser Class – 8 miles start/stop at Tecumseh Bridge

Monday, 10 am

Open unlimited kayak/surfski – 8 mile start/stop at Tecumseh Bridge With the different classes, racers can paddle aluminum and cruiser canoes

time practically dragging an anchor. Most paddlers use a bungee cord threaded through a tennis ball for resistance. Sections of paddling workouts should be dedicated to resistance training in the boat as it is the most relevant weight training one can do. I like to add 10-25 minute sections into my workouts when my body is fresh as this is best opportunity to maintain good technique while doing strength training in the boat.

Phase 3 - Competitive Preparedness The final phase of training is to assimilate your fitness into speed. This phase begins six weeks prior to the first major competition and can last as long as another 10 weeks. The major goal here is to plan a time to stop progressing along the W-R Curve and allow your body to catch up to your training. Most physiologists will agree that it takes the body 4-7 weeks to respond to a given level of “progressive overload”. This means your body lags behind your training by a few weeks (the body is somewhat lazy and will only build new muscle once its sure it is going to need them). This is why a hard workout the Monday before a Saturday race will only have a negative effect. Following this annual plan will make you race-ready, whether you’re training for a world championships or a local showdown with your paddling buddies. Training for success comes down to proper planning and strength training.

For more information about the Show-Me-State Canoe and Kayak Marathon, send an e-mail to race director Rocky Caldwell at


COACH from page 12 I’m not a twenty-something whose body recovers quickly, what should I be thinking and planning regarding recovery and rest between training sessions? Can you explain active recovery and the role that plays? This is a great question for athletes of all ages. For middleaged athletes or older athletes, rest and recovery is very important. Rest is key to the planning of a successful training regime. I find that most athletes and coaches don’t plan in enough rest. To compound the issue, most athletes do not recover effectively when they get the opportunity to get some well-deserved rest from regular training. Focusing on the fact that you are middle aged, I would suggest you include a variety of activities in your training plan. This will allow you to train and get the added bonus of active rest between key boat sessions. The base activities can be paddling, strength training, running, biking, swimming, skiing, etc. Identify key boat sessions and then rotate other activities around key sessions. This will improve you more than just boat sessions every day. Picking up on the interval training question, use this training methodology. I would also suggest middle-aged paddlers will get better results if they build their training week in this way: day 1 train, day 2 train, day 3 rest, day 4 train, day 5 easy train, day 6 train and day 7 rest. This method allows you to train intensely on training days and recover on rest days. If you have been training for years, this approach is refreshing because you get good results and psychologically you feel as if you have gained a lot of time in your week to spend with friends, family or catching up with life. This is important because as an athlete, if you can reduce any source of stress it will improve your race performance. The next step is to plan your training load. Cycle each month through weeks of high, medium and unloading intensities. (Unloading: This means reducing the volume, number and intensity of sessions during this week. This could be called an easy or recovery week.) For example, week 1 medium, week 2 high, week 3 medium and week 4 unload. Using this method will allow you to train really hard, maintain or even improve performance and still have a life. This brings me to recovery. Recovery starts during sessions, moving at 30% speed between fast intervals will help flush lactate and improve overall session performance. Drink fluids during training. Regular small drinks will improve performance throughout each session. It is important to warm down. The minimum should be 10 minutes at 30% boat speed with good technique, then stretching. Remember to rehydrate and eat some carbs and protein within 30 minutes of finishing your session. There, are plenty of recovery products on the market, but ask advice before using these products. 24

Sleep is vital. Make sure you get enough sleep at night, wake up at the same time each day and if possible try to sleep for 20 minutes during the day. Doing this will have a marked positive effect to your training and racing. Massage, icing and stretching will aid recovery, a small amount of time spent on these will improve performance, reduce the chance of injuries and you’ll feel better. Active recovery. This concept means doing some form of activity at a low level, thus helping the body clear lactate, getting oxygen and nutrients to the muscle cells. Probably the simplest form of active recovery can be going for a walk. I would suggest active recovery could be swimming, hiking and cycling. This will give the physiological benefits of low intensity activities and mentally it allows you to change your environment, which can be refreshing. Therefore, when you are back to your boat sessions you will be able to hit them hard. In summary, planning is vital. You can spend less time training, by making your training and recovery more effective. You will be able to improve your race performance and have a life. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. If you have any specific questions for Coach Caven, you can reach him via e-mail at or follow on and his blog at

Some boys down under confess their hydration sins

by David Vincent

Dean Gardiner admitted at an ocean paddlers’ forum that he has completed the Moloka’i Challenge - which he won nine times - while consuming as little as half a litre of water.

He says that when he does carry water, it’s in front of him, where he can see it. “I have done races where it’s been behind me and it’s leaked out,” he said.

And in a refreshing admission in an era when most elite athletes are sponsored by sports drinks manufacturers, Gardiner said he doesn’t believe there is any magical sports drink, and that he tends to buy whatever brand is in the service station on the way to the event.

Veteran international surfski racer Dave Kissane said he is similar to Dean in not drinking much during races.

Speaking at an event on the edge of Narrabeen Lake in Sydney, Australia, as part of a panel of five champion paddlers, Gardiner began by acknowledging he was “probably a bit weird” on the hydration front.

“If you’re going to be out there for four hours like it’s been for the past couple of years at Moloka’i and it’s hot,” he said, paddlers have to think not only about hydration but keeping energy levels up.

“I actually don’t drink unless it’s two hours or more generally. It’s not uncommon to do 20 Beaches [25 kilometers] without taking a sip, it’s also not uncommon for me to have done Molokai with less than 500 milliliters of water consumed from my bottle. “It’s one thing I just sort of don’t do - I’m probably a bit stupid not to do it, but I just generally forget to do it, it’s not something that I really find that I need. “Sometimes I’ve raced in super-hot conditions in Tahiti and Hawaii and found that I have needed to take more [drink] and probably erred by not taking more,” he said. He finds that cold drinks leave him feeling uncomfortable. “I believe if you’re going to take substances in a hot race over two hours, then you want to make sure it’s probably at air temperature or close to it. Although it might taste weird to you at first, it’s actually probably better for you and easier to absorb. “With regard to what goes in [the water bottle], I don’t have any set stuff, I just buy whatever the service station sells on the way to that particular race. “I don’t believe there’s anything really magical out there. Everyone of these people will tell you they’ve got the magical solution to hydration and the mineral salts and all the other stuff they’ve got in it. There’s probably some out there that are pretty good, but I think generally it’s a marketing pitch for most of those.”

“I tend to be pretty cynical about the mixed drinks and tend to be pretty happy just to go with water for most races, except for Moloka’i,” he said.

Murray Stewart, who was fourth place in Dubai, said he takes a drink with him in events 15 kilometers or longer. For sub-15 km events, he’s careful to hydrate before the race, starting the night before a morning race, or in the morning ahead of an afternoon race. For events longer than 15 km, he takes water with him or a “fairly diluted” sports drink, because he finds undiluted sports drinks burn his stomach. “If you drink a litre of Gatorade® and it’s not a diluted mix, it burns your stomach halfway through the race and you don’t really want that,” Kissane said. He said backpack hydration systems make him uncomfortable. He uses what he says is a simple hydration system, with a tube feeding through his shorts, so he can start drinking when he’s ready. Another Australian Jimmy Walker says the most important thing is pre-race hydration. The biggest mistake people make is trying something new on race day. He suggests trying both water and electrolytes weeks preceding a race. “Whatever you use, try it in training,” he said. “It’s better to make a mistake in training, because if you make a mistake in training, it’s not a mistake, it’s only a mistake when you do it again.

Murray Stewart

Tim Jacobs

Dave Kissane

“There’s a hundred different things that people will tell you. What is right, is what’s right for you,” he added. 25


echnique tends to separate the men from the boys in competitive canoe and kayak racing. Most coaches and athletes have access to technology that monitors simple metrics, but few are able to measure paddle forces and physiological data such as heart rate, lactate concentrations in blood or VO2 max in situ. The most useful data for technique is the relationship between the force generated by the paddle and resultant boat speed. Instrumentation developed at the Australian Institute of Sport and other nations allows coaches to measure the forces exerted on the paddle as well as boat speed and acceleration at very small time steps. With this instrumentation, it is possible to analyze the effectiveness of a paddling technique in terms of making the boat go faster. These data are also useful in the development of successful team boats as they allow coaches to match force curves between different paddlers. Unfortunately, the cost of this technology can be prohibitive for most clubs. But, recent advances have allowed the development of paddle technology in the private sector at more reasonable costs. One such product is the Excalibur paddle manufactured by Talon Technology in Sydney, Australia ( A review of the Excalibur paddle from the perspective of a club-level coach and paddler is my focus here. A companion article that discusses how the data can be interpreted and then used in flatwater technique will be published in the next issue of Canoe & Kayak Racing.

INSTRUMENT REVIEW The Excalibur paddle is fitted with a strain gauge placed inside the shaft at either end to measure shaft bend in response to pressure placed on the paddle blade. Accelerometers are located in the three planes of the paddle. These data provide information on the force applied to the paddle and its 26

New ‘Smart P revolutioni orientation through the stroke. Effective load is calculated to identify the effect of paddle angle on the quality of the applied force.

The Excalibur paddle has several clever design features. All of the electronics are located in the shaft so that there are no major external appendages to interfere with the feel of the paddle during stroke execution. Secondly, the paddle connects directly to a computer through a USB port, allowing coaches to download data in the support boat or on the bank. Access to the USB interface and battery case is easy and waterproof. The software is interactive allowing easy data download, review and analysis.

within the same training session. I use this feature extensively when I am coaching many athletes in the same session or testing different applications of a technique concept. Other sensible features include location of the sensors close to the ends of the paddle shaft where the fulcrums of the system lie through the position of the hands. Furthermore, placing the instruments inside the shaft provides protection and allows athletes to choose which brand of paddle blade they wish to attach to the shaft. For example, I use Bracsa IV max blades attached to the instrumented shaft. A possible drawback of the Excalibur design is that the instrumented shaft is not transferable between different paddle blades. However, I have found that a 2.14 m shaft attached to Bracsa IV blades and a 2.18 m shaft with Bracsa I blades seems to work nicely

There is a small control panel on the shaft with a power switch, data recording switch and four LED channel buttons (Figure 1 at right). Once the paddle has powered up, the user selects the channel in which to store the data. Measurement is activated by pressing the data recording button and the LED for the chosen channel flashes for the duration of sampling and data storage. The paddler can turn the measurement system off at any time, change the channel and restart measurement. This allows multiple data collection opportunities

Figure 1

Paddle’ may ize training in our club environment. Paddlers not familiar with Bracsas do need a practice paddle prior to data collection to get used to the paddle. For the most part, I have no problems using one paddle across many different athletes. I also use this paddle to test a technique drill that I can then pass on to the paddlers I coach. The only problem that I have experienced with the Excalibur paddle is that the battery tends to discharge quite quickly if left in the paddle.

SOFTWARE REVIEW The Excalibur software is embedded

by Margi Bohm, PhD

in a windows environment and comes with an excellent user manual. It does not take long before the software is self explanatory. The TASKS window prompts the user to select a variety of actions that facilitates connection to the paddle, access to paddle setup information and download of data. When a paddle is connected to the software, a PADDLE INFORMATION window provides details on memory usage and battery charge as well as a Clear Log button that allows the user to reset the memory. The PADDLE window provides user control on set-

tings such as sample and recording rates for the five sensors, which is a great feature for experienced users. The software returns an estimate of recording time as a result of the chosen settings, again a nice feature. Once data are downloaded and saved in a folder of your choice, they can be accessed through the software without reconnecting the paddle. The data can be viewed and edited in the RECORDINGS window as well as in the ANALYSIS window. The latter provides the user with additional tools such as statistical analysis, data trimming and data export (Figure 2 below).

Figure 2 - The ANALYZE window in the Excalibur software where the user defines which blade and the format of the data. This example shows data for both paddles as defined by ticking the Load A (LH stroke) and Load B boxes. Horizontal Load is selected as the user is interested in the effective load on each paddle. This means that the force curves have been corrected for paddle angle. The Start, End and Pan keys have been adjusted to emphasis 14 particular strokes, 7 on each side. The default settings for Rise and Fall Detect are used in this example. These settings only become important when the software identifies individual strokes to calculate statistics like impulse and stroke rate.


It is in the ANALYSIS window that the user specifies which force curves are displayed (left blade – load A, right blade – load B, or both) and in what format (raw data or as horizontal load). Statistical options allow the user to investigate direct measurements like peak power, rating and the time taken to complete a stroke as well as calculated values such as impulse or the integrated force for each stroke and stroke utilization and quality. These are expressed as ratios to inform the user of the effectiveness of their stroke. A really nice feature is that when one of these options is selected, bars are superimposed on the data showing how the software has defined the start and end of each stroke. The user can manipulate this through the RISE and FALL DETECT settings at the bottom of the ANALYSIS window. Again, great for the advanced user. Finally the software allows the user to calibrate the sensors in situ. The manual provides detailed instructions on how to set up the paddle for calibration and how to ensure that the sensors are calibrated properly. Calibration is sensible, but not necessary if the same

paddle is used.

USING THE DATA The force curve data are useful for technique analysis and correction, and for monitoring technique improvement in the following ways: 1. Consistency of paddle sequences: The software allows expansion and contraction of the data sequence to facilitate quick scanning which is useful for checking stroke variability. Peak forces and the general shape of the curve are compared right against right and left against left (Figure 3 below). 2. Comparisons of left against right strokes: I use Excel to generate a composite stroke for each side from 10–15 successive strokes. These graphs tend to shock most paddlers into paying attention to the symmetry of their stroke and can guide specific training to even up asymmetry (Figure 4 next page). 3. Development of applied force through the stroke: Composite plots in Figure 6 are also useful to analyze the effectiveness of the catch, the ability of the paddler to hold force through the stroke and the efficiency of the exit. This information plays an important role in identifying priorities in technique correction.

4. Magnitude of generated force: Peak force data provide incentives to improve effective catch and strength development and is easily monitored in subsequent measurement sessions, especially if the same Excalibur paddle is used. This information is then correlated to boat speed or race performance to determine if the extra strength is being converted to performance. 5. Stroke statistics: The Excalibur software outputs a variety of useful statistics across a user-defined interval of strokes. This information is useful when testing consistency during race conditions. Statistics that are available include minimum, maximum, average and variance in peak power, power, impulse, total impulse and rating.

CONCLUSIONS I am very impressed with the Excalibur paddle. It has provided me with a useful tool to extend my coaching effectiveness. In particular, I find that the data provide paddlers with visual evidence that supports my on-water coaching instructions and this has resulted in improved technique among most participants. As an academic, I am now able to test

Figure 3 - Force curves for both left and right strokes (Load A = left hand stroke) presented as horizontal or effective loads, i.e., the data have been corrected for blade angle in the water. The data show that the shapes of the curves are consistent for each paddle, but that the right paddle is generating more force than the left. It would appear that the way the forces are built up in the initial parts of the stroke varies between left and right. In these comparisons, it is important to correct any differences in the zero between the load A and B profiles.


some of the technique theories held dear to many coaches but seemingly inconsistent with the physics. In this regard, the most redeeming feature of the Excalibur paddle is its user flexibility in sampling setup and data export. It is my belief that the Excalibur paddle will revolutionise competitive kayaking because of its designer capability, affordability and its ability to meet both routine testing and specialist research applications through its setup and data export flexibility. In addition, the tool partially levels the

playing field between elite and club level coaches and athletes with the potential for improving the calibre of paddling across the board and this is true for non-competitive paddlers as well. Finally, individuals who do not have access to coaching can now access information that if used sensibly, provides them with a capacity to improve their own paddling skills. With a PhD in fluid mechanics, Margi Bรถhm has been paddling for more than 35 years at junior, elite and masters levels in both sprint and marathon.

Figure 4 - Composite left (blue) and right paddle force curves constructed from the data shown in Figure 5. These composite curves immediately identify a lack of symmetry between the left and right strokes. Not only is the right stroke able to generate more force, it is also catching the water quicker, thereby allowing a longer and more effective stroke on the right compared with the left side. Over the length of a race, this difference is significant. NOTE: The Effective Loads reported here are in the units output directly from the strain gauges. Effective load is obtained by ticking the horizontal load box in the ANALYZE window.


ISPA from page 6 and we need to all work together to establish this series as the superior and premier series,” Crowe added. Mocke echoes these thoughts. “The ISPA’s primary concern will be to advance and protect the interests of surfski paddlers worldwide,” Mocke said. “Our sport is unique as a paddling discipline and it is this essence that we need to preserve. Our mandate will be centered around this.” Toulson indicates this isn’t unprecedented. “Surfski’s situation is similar to boardercross, snowboard, skateboarding, BMX … all these disciplines have eventually realized they need to join major federations to gain mainstream recognition and exposure, hence they have joined the FIS and UCI.”

It seems to be working Yet, there already is significant prize money at sponsored races around the world, even in the ICF stronghold of Europe. “Surfski paddling has come a long way from its beginnings of a few guys making their own skis and chasing the wind,” said Jonathan Neill, race organizer for EuroChallenge 2010 in Spain. “Today it is a well-organized and complex sport that has developed on various levels. This has been done … through the dedication of paddlers and race organizers around the world. The sport has grown beyond our expectations. “Local competitions have been run in different parts of the world for the last 20 years and each year more countries are getting involved,” Neill added. Yet, according to Toulson, there is growing interest in the ICF structure for surfski racing. “A lot of our federations have expressed interest in surfski,” Toulson wrote. “The ICF can create a series and disciplines within paddling sports; this is the main reason of being, to promote and develop paddling activities. Surfski is seen as part of that development.” Others, some even experienced with the ICF way of doing things, aren’t so convinced this will be the case with surfski racing. According to DeAnne Hemmens, once a member of the U.S. sprint kayak team, the ICF is not the right direction to take for surfski. “I think anything to do with the ICF is a bad idea,” Hemmens said. “More regulation, limits and fees for paddlers is not the way to go. Surfski paddling does not need them to have an official world cup or anything else. With the ISPA we can develop the cred30

ibility over time that elevates the sport. ICF has for too long had control over sports without elevation, proper promotion and development; and basically some of the sports they represent are dying. I don’t think jumping on a sinking ship is the way to go.”

Where do sponsorship monies go? Another issue raised by the ISPA is media rights. “Given that the media rights for these races are the only asset of the sport that is attractive to potential sponsors, it is crucial that we have a proper understanding of who would own what in the future,” Mousley said. “It is our position that the races must retain their own rights. Would ICF take these away? We simply don’t know. Toulson did answer this question in his written commentary. “Any global sponsor would be arranged by ICF and any international TV signal or exposure would come under ICF domain.” Hemmens views the money as the primary reason the ICF wants to get in involved with what many paddlers agree is already running well. “They (ICF) see money and high participation and they want to get their hands on it,” Hemmens said. According to Toulson, the “strength of paddling is in using the resources out there to promote the general activities as best we can and ICF is a central player to that. As of now, it seems, the big carrot of the Olympic games is not enough to entice surfski racers to play under the ICF flag. Race organizers also seem hesitant to want to play the ICF game with too much sponsorship money to risk. “Key to the current popularity of surfski racing is the fact that the average paddler can line up with the best in the world,” Mousley said. “ICF World Cup sprint races limit the number of entries per country. We need to ensure that this doesn’t happen to surfski.” According to some, what is likely to happen in the short term is that there will be some degree of support for the ICF from European nations. Yet, without having the biggest names in the game racing in ICF world cups, it’s apparent no one who rides a ski will consider a world champion determined by the ICF. With Moloka’i and the ISPA world series not part of the ICF, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in current prize money without the ICF, it’s not likely that the ICF will ever attract enough racers to make it work to match what currently exists.

Closing liquid logic by Dan Grubbs

venue where Joe Jacobi will give us the play-by-play of the men’s K1 200 meter finals. Jacobi makes his predictions for who will have the best start, so critical to the outcome.

Last December, the International Canoe Federation made several key decisions to advance paddlesports. Notwithstanding gender equity, I feel one of the most notable actions taken was one to enhance the appeal of sprint racing to spectators by focusing attention on the 200 meter distance in the Olympic program and eliminating the men’s 500 meter distance. Yes, there will be those who lament the loss of the 500. Yet, as a public relations practitioner, I’ve come to the conclusion that changing the distance is a smart decision. If you watched the Vancouver Olympic Games on television, you may have witnessed the drama and excitement of short-track speed skating. That is a sport made for TV: compelling and action packed. Even when star athletes emerge, such as Apolo Anton Ohno, race outcomes are not guaranteed and the slightest thing can impact results. This creates audience appeal in a big way – something that television producers crave. Now, imagine you’re watching the 2012 Olympic Games in London. NBC’s Bob Costas announces that they will take us to the media center in the finish tower at the sprint kayak

Adam Van Koeverden

The start official positions racers and seconds later, in a flurry of paddle blades and spraying water, the race for the gold begins. Eight kayaks fly down the course, bows bobbing slightly and nosing each other out along the way. The tracking camera follows along and home viewers can see the strain of every muscle and the grimace on some of the athletes’ faces across the lanes of the regatta course. Jacobi’s voice rises as he calls out the name of American Tim Hornsby who has taken a slight lead after 50 meters. Germany’s Max Hoff is charging hard with Canada’s Adam Van Koeverden just an inch behind. The races is bow to bow and when they boats cross the finish line with Jacobi’s excited voice going hoarse, race officials call for a photo finish. Moments later, in a new Olympic record, Canada’s Van Koeverden is announced as the “world’s fastest man on water.” Think about that statement. World’s fastest woman on water. World’s fastest man on water.

What has the 100 meters done for the world of track and field? What has the 50 meter freestyle done for swimming? These are the most anticipated races of every meet, and the most exciting. Now, sprint kayaking will have its equivalent. In the world of sports, television is king. You’ll never get television in America to cover sprint kayaking until the appeal of the sport is more compelling to the networks. A tip of the hat to the ICF for taking action in this direction. The chance to show the event that crowns the world’s fastest human on water is pretty compelling. At a coach’s conference in Oklahoma City in February, Frank Garner, chair of the sprint committee of the ICF, acknowledged that sprint kayaking needed better appeal. I believe this decision by the ICF took a significant step in this direction. International Olympic Committee president Jacque Rogge said the 200 meter event would make sprint racing “more spectacular.” Now, it’s time to start building the buzz and make our brash predictions for who will wear the crown as world’s fastest man and woman on water. Who will it be in 2012?

Britta Steffen World record 50 meter freestyle

Usain Bolt World record 100 meters

The 2010 USCA National Canoe & Kayak Championships Peshtigo, WI — August 10-15, 2010

Mark the dates: August 10-15, 2010

— six great days of sprint and marathon canoe & kayak competition plus — Canoe (& Kayak) Orienteering & the ever-popular “fun, unofficial” Biathlon! • Check out: Worldwide Paddling Event Calendar • • • (715) 735-9763 •

New Demo Events for Stand Up Paddleboard in Adult Sprint, Biathlon, Orienteering, Marathon

And don’t forget to save July

3-4, 2010 for the

USCA Stock Aluminum Canoe Marathon Championships and Arkansas’ Big Dog C2 Pro Race in Pocahontas, AR • • (870) 892-4290

Canoe & Kayak Racing  

Canoe and Kayak Racing seeks to promote canoe and kayak racing with editorial and promotional content designed to inform, educate and motiva...

Canoe & Kayak Racing  

Canoe and Kayak Racing seeks to promote canoe and kayak racing with editorial and promotional content designed to inform, educate and motiva...