An eddy turn is the skill used to stop your downstream movement by crossing from the current into an eddy. In essence it is the opposite to a peel out.
How to do an Eddy Turn
1. Choose a suitable safe eddy to stop in.
It is a good idea to have a back up eddy available downstream from your original choice, just in case you miss your first one.
2. Look where you want to go.
Generate some speed by taking a few good paddle strokes before you start your eddy turn. This will help you stay stable as you cross the eddy line into the eddy.
Point your kayak in the direction of the eddy aiming to enter as high up the eddy as possible.The angle at which you approach and cross the eddy line has a large effect on how effectively you complete your turn. Ideally you are looking to make a nice arching turn from the main flow into the eddy.
As you approach the eddyline you’ll need to apply some edge into the inside of the turn which will allow the flow of the river to pass under your boat and help keep you stable and prevent you flipping. Depending on the power and speed of the current you may need to use a lot or a little bit of edge. If you are in a short boat you may want to have a slightly forward paddling posture, as well as some edge, to stop the back of your boat from catching.
5. Active blade
As you cross the eddy line you can use an active blade to help you complete the turn. As you cross the eddy line the upstream flow in the eddy will grab your bow and help turn your bow upstream into the eddy flow. There are a number of paddle strokes you can use to help you cross over the eddy line and turn into the middle of the eddy. A draw stroke works really well as it can be used to help control the direction of the boat and will allow you to carry your speed and momentum as you move into the safety of the eddy.
6. Continue paddling until you are safely sat deep within the eddy.
Every eddy is different so the amount of angle, edge and speed you will need will vary. However the key points are generally the same.
The angle of approach is important as it will allow you to easily cross over the turbulent eddy line flow into the nice stable section of water in the middle of the eddy. Too shallow an angle and you may bounce back of the eddy line or drift towards to bottom of the eddy. Too much angle and you may turn to early finishing on the unstable eddy line rather than deep in the safe still section of the eddy or drift down the eddyline towards the bottom of the eddy too.
River running is all about safely navigating a section of river flow. The best way to do this is to plan a route that allows you to move from eddy to eddy. Choose nice friendly eddies that are within your ability to catch.
Always make sure you have a back up eddy below the one your aiming to catch that you can go into if you miss your first planned route.