You’ve got the latest and greatest packraft, you’ve got the cool hardcore creeking helmet, in fact all the kit, and you even have some decent river miles under your belt. So, now you want to take it to the next level. But wait…
Is there something else that you still need? Why do others make paddling hard rapids look effortless, whilst you come close to swimming? Why can some packrafters hit that particular eddy every time but you consistently struggle to catch it? How come your friends can easily surf waves for ages, yet you are finding it a challenge to simply paddle across strong currents? Why? Is it the boat? Is it the river? Is it you? Do you simply need more time on the water?
Highly experienced paddlers can make it look all too easy. The reality behind the jaw-dropping online photos, the insane videos and the inspirational stories that you see is actually quite different and it involves serious dedication and commitment. Whether it is paddling huge volume rivers, hucking waterfalls or running serious steep creeks, a huge amount of time, thought, energy and purpose has gone into getting those paddlers to that level.
Experience and advanced skills are not something that can be gained overnight. In fact, it actually takes years and years of development and a considerable amount of both formal and informal training. If you want to take your own skills to the next level, to paddle harder rivers or maybe you just want to become a safer paddler, then consider taking the time to deliberately focus on improving your technical paddling skills in addition to your safety and trip planning skills.
Below are ten tips that you can use to develop more advanced paddling skills and that will assist in making you a better whitewater paddler. For those of you who have undertaken an Advanced Packrafting Course with me, or seen me present at the 1st Australian or 2nd NZ Meetups, you will notice that I have since re-ordered and refined these points. For the original article that I produced on this topic you can also check out my blog on Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s website.
CLICK BELOW TO SEE EXTENSIVE INFO ON EACH TIP
Go on – consciously work on improving your skills!
Students putting theory into practice on the Canoe Tasmania Advanced Packrafting Course – Oct 2017