Paddle Entry Q/A

teneale entrySo I have had the question raised recently – why does my blade make a plopping noise when it enters the water. This is something I’m sure everyone has experienced and it does take practise to change but its an easy fix.

Firstly it’s important to understand why it happens. This usually means that you are entering the blade at an angle and height at which it catches a lot of air creating an air pocket when you enter the blade into the water. This is either due to cutting the stroke short and the blade entering at a very straight angle or you are slapping the blade down rather than placing into the water.

Secondly – how to fix it! I would like you all to thinking about the technique if you were to spear a fish using two hands. Similar to the blade entry in that you are wanting to place the blade on a 45 degree angle into the water, and then rip the blade through the water. This also gives you better power through the water as there is no air pocket, only solid water.

So the goal is to make your stroke entry as quiet and gentle as possible. To do this you are wanting to work on that rotation and reach. Remember to practise those dry land drills. From there I want you to think about keeping that rotation and reach out the front as you enter the blade into the water. Once the blade is in the water you can then pull. If you pull too early, you will cut your stroke short, which means your entry of the blade will be at a steeper angle and have an increased chance of catching air when entering the water resulting in the plopping sound.

Does this makes sense?

There will be a video and diagrams to come but for now here is a bit of food for Thought.

—Teneale

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Coach Teneale Hatton is based in New Zealand and coaches Advanced, Intermediate and Novice paddlers in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres with Paddle Monster.

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