Do you want to run drops with more control and less risk of injury? If so, the ’45’ is a technique you definitely want to learn.
There are many different waterfall-running techniques and although the “45” can be the toughest to perfect. There are many situations where the 45 technique, landing with your boat at an angle between ~30 and 60 to the surface of the water, is the most desirable option. For example, it is a great skill to use when you don’t want to “plug” vertically or “boof” and risk landing flat and hurting your back.
A good example of a drop that you may choose to use a ’45’ would be a smaller falls with a significant hole at the bottom that you want to avoid. Even sometimes on a drop where a “boof” seems like a good idea. Using the ’45’ and landing with a little higher angle will lessen the impact on your back and allow you to carry your speed away from the base of the drop. As 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. Practiced and executed well, it can be the most effective form of running many different kinds of drops.
How to do the “45”
1. Approach the lip of the fall 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.
Its worth practice this a lot with different amounts of power and on different drops to find out what effect the power of the stroke has on the shape of your fall.
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.
Don’t forget that every lip is a little different and will requires slightly different technique for a good 45 so practice on lots of different drops and falls.