Edging v’s Leaning
In the getting started chapter we explored the basic concept of edge control. Now we are going to look at it in a little bit more detail to explore the difference between a lean and an edge.
What is leaning?
If we lean our kayak it means that as we tilt our kayak our entire body, shoulders and head also moves and leans with the boat.
1. Imagine you are sat in your kayak and have a long pole sticking through your body from the bottom of your spine, up the back of your spine and out of your head. At the top of the pole there is an arrow. When you are sat upright in your normal paddling position with your boat flat the arrow points straight up to the sky.
2. If we lean the kayak, the whole body moves and the arrow now points of to the side in the direction that you are leaning.
What is Edging?
Now lets think about edge. When we edge we are looking to keep our good paddling posture with our weight centred over the boat whilst at the same time changing the angle of title (edge) on the boat beneath us. In this situation our boat tilts (edges) whilst our body remains upright.
1. If we use the pole analogy above, when we edge our hips should move but the pole should remain pointing up to the sky as our body remind upright.
Looking at it in a slightly different way our hips and spine should create almost a J shape. Our spine, shoulders and head remains upright but our hips and pelvis tilt in the direction of the edge, making the bottom of the J.
What is the advantage of a edge over a lean?
The advantage to an edge over a lean is that when we edge we remain balanced over the boat, no matter what it is doing. So in theory when we use an edge to control the kayak, even in the roughest whitewater, we should be able to remain stable.
The other advantage to using an edge rather than a lean is that when we edge we keep our good paddling posture. Which means we can still actively use our upper body independantly to perform paddle strokes, braces, boofs etc whist our lower body controls the boat on edge. This ability to apply and use upper and lower body separation is key to having a successful experience out on white water.
Sometimes we do need to lean our kayak when paddling but often it is easier and more effective to edge.