The Hip Snap
The hip snap is a dynamic movement we use to ‘snap’ our boat back to the upright position when it has either gone on its edge or flipped upside-down. Whether you find yourself tipping slightly to one side, greatly to one side or right over, you can use the hip snap, often as part of a roll or brace, to get your kayak back to flat again.
It is a great idea to practice the hip snap as a skill on its own as this will help you to build up your strength, control and technique ready for when you need to use it in the kayak roll and low and high brace.
How to Hip Snap
1. Practice the hip snap by either holding onto one of your friend’s boats (bow is usually easiest) or onto the side of the pool.
2. Roll over so your body and the side of your head is in the water
Placing your body and head in the water allows them to become buoyant and float. This means you have far less weight to deal with during the move making it easier and much more effective. The trick is to leave your body and head in the water until the very end of the hip snap exercise. If you lift your head and body out of the water early, you will find the hip snap a lot less effective as the weight of your body and head out to the side of your boat will act as an anchor and pull you back over.
3. Keeping your head and body in the water, practice using your hips and knees to roll the boat from upside-down to upright and flat, and back again several times.
Try not to sit up or move your head while you do this. You should be using minimal upper body strength. Instead you want all the movement to come from your hips and knees.
4. Once you have rocked the boat from upside down to upright, with your head in the water, several times, now try ‘snapping’ your boat to back to upright and completely flat using a slightly faster and more dynamic hip snap.
5. Keeping your head touching against your lower shoulder allow your the momentum generated from your hip snap to pull your body and head up and out of the water.
If you are in a large boat you may find it helps to lean your body back over the middle of the stern and then sit up. In a small boat you will need to aim to keep your body weight forwards or more central.
6. As you perform the move keep your eyes looking at down into the water on the side that you just came from.
7. Practice this hip snap, taking the boat to all the way flat before lying back and sitting up several times.
If you start to feel as though you need to pull on your arms a lot, go back to step. Ideally you are looking to get your boat totally upright (flat) using just your hip snap and not your arms.
8. Practice this on both sides
How to improve and further develop your hip snap
1. Another way to practise this drill is to sit on the floor in a kayaking position, imagine you are sat in your kayak.
2. Tip over onto your side so your body is a 90 degrees to your legs with your arms out stretched. Similar to the start position in Exercise 1.
3. From this position, using as little pressure on your arms as possible do a hip snap and allow the momentum generated and your core muscles to bring you back to sitting upright.
4. Try the same drill with your body staying forwards, your body neutral and your body sweeping backwards.
5. Keep your head touching your lower shoulder as you come up and allow it to follow your hips and body movement. If you try and just sit up or lift your head early you should feel that it is a lot harder. This is exactly the same in the water.
6. Again a trick that helps with this is to keep looking at down into the water (or in this case towards the floor and your hands) on the side that you just came from.
7. Keep practising this drill on both sides.
It will take a while to develop the micro muscles and flexibility in your core to be able to perform an effective hip snap so practice these drills regularly to develop your strength and technique.