How to 45° a Drop – Instruction from Kayakeducation.com, coming this spring.
Do you want to run drops with more control and less risk of injury? If so, the 45 is a technique you want to know.
Of the many waterfall-running techniques, the “45” could be the toughest to perfect. There are many situations where the 45, landing with your boat at an angle between ~30 and 60 to the surface of the water, is the most desirable option. Use when you don’t want to “plug” in vertically and lose some control or “boof” out to land flat and risk hurting your back. A good example of a drop to 45 is a smaller falls with a significant hole at the bottom that you want to avoid. Even when a “boof” seems like a good idea, I prefer to keep a little higher angle to lessen the impact on my back and carry speed away from the base of the drop.
When you land at a 45, the bow will hit the water first and start to scoop forward before the stern lands, turning your downward momentum into forward speed away from the drop. Practised and executed well, it can be the most effective form of running many different kinds of drops.
The critical part of a successful 45 is at the lip of a drop, and every lip is a little different, so requires slightly different technique for a good 45. With practice and learned anticipation, the 45 can become almost second nature.
Tips for practising the “45”:
1. Approach the lip with more speed than the water by taking a few strokes leading in. Position your boat where it would make the slowest transition to vertical and where you can still take a good stroke.
2. Start in a slightly aggressive, upright position. You will want to keep this position through the whole process.
3. The stroke you take at the lip is the key to either boofing, 45’ing, or plugging. To 45 you want to wait longer than for a boof and let your bow drop down a little. Ideally, you hold a vertical stroke to keep the angle at which you want to land. Hold your body position and don’t pull your knees up to make your boat go flat.
3. Don’t stroke too hard, or too little.
4. Keep your aggressive position but don’t pull your knees up too much.
4. Hold that stroke.
5. What you do below the lip is very important to set you up for a good landing. Once you are falling at your set 45 degree angle and are approaching the landing, hold your body in that aggressive forward and spine-protecting position.
6. When you land you should feel the boat accelerate forward, resurface quickly, and be under control. Sit up again and keep paddling away from the base of the drop.
Once mastered and taken to bigger falls, the 45 is a true display of aerial boat control. Different falls will require different technique, but these principles should stay roughly the same.