Starting to get the hang of the Think Evo II


My Think Evo II has been a steep learning curve for me in the last few weeks. I haven’t been able to get it out as much as I would have liked, so saddle time has been limited.

After my third placing in the 30+ male ski division of the recent Rose Bay Summer Series event (it doesn’t matter how or why, a placing’s a placing and I’m taking it ), I thought I’d revisit the course that I felt I didn’t actually do that well in.:)

Conditions were choppy and windy, but with some pre-tweaking of my set-up, I immediately felt more confident. I’ll never again underestimate the importance of leg length, nor tight foot straps.

Tighter footstraps, shorter leg length and grip tape – all part of feeling tight in the boat.

I’ve also taken some expert advice and gone with a slight recline in the foot pedal set up, which did seem to work better for me today.

Pedals now set slightly more vertically than previously

BRUNSWICK, ME – JULY 14: Paddling enthusiasts attend a surf ski kayak lesson with Oscar Chalupsky, 12 Time World Champion Surf Ski Kayak Racer from South Africa, at Thomas Point Beach. Oscar demonstrates proper paddling technique. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)

On the water is where the real test was, and I was quickly pushed by fairly strong winds and small chop which was just enough to make it really hard work.

Having told myself to concentrate on a few basic technique issues, my “downwind” run with the new set-up went pretty well, but I still felt too cramped whereas before I’d felt it was way too loose. A quick slide of the plate back two notches made an immediate positive impact and I felt I could get and control leg drive again. But I could also tell I was getting very little rotation… something to work on next time, as that’s the paddler set up that need adjusting.

Not quite as shaky as the last Rose Bay outing.

So after slogging into what felt like a 30 knot headwind for half an hour and about an hour in total on the water, I returned to the relative shelter of Rose Bay and thought I’d revisit some of those basic things I’d been taught at my very first coaching lesson with Jim Walker. I did what I know as the “paddle and pause” drill, stopping and holding your stroke at the reach point, and a variation where you paddle hard and then hold the paddle above your head before resuming. Yep, you look like a complete tool, but it immediately activated the core muscles I’d just been ignoring for the last hour. Drills and fit ball core strength routines, here I come .:)

Nope, not about to use it as a javelin, just working on core and stability.

Not stretching, balancing – harder than it looks as the boat loses speed.

Of course, by the end of this display of discipline I thought I’d finish with a sprint. Which certainly finished me. And took me far too long to get back to a resting heart rate. As I comment in video, Dawid Mocke has nothing to fear yet from this paddler at Mauritius Island Shamaal this year.

Cheers, Nat

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