The Complexities of Paddling

Chloe Anzai, Sports

Paddling is a complex sport. People think it’s all arms; it’s not. It involves your whole body.

It is much harder than it looks. Everyone who paddles says it’s very hard and complicated.

“Paddling is such a fun sport and you get nice arms, and backs,” Justin Yasutake said.

A paddling regatta at Keehi Lagoon. Photo by Chloe Anzai 2016.

There are different techniques to use while you paddle. There is no correct way to paddle, but there are multiple ways that you can paddle incorrectly.

But it doesn’t only depend on the way you paddle, it depends on the way your crew paddles.

There are six seats in the canoe, stroker (seat one), seat two, powerhouse (seats three and four), seat five, and the steersman (seat six). All of the seats are very important and have a huge impact on the way the canoe moves.

Seat one, the stroker, sets the speed for the whole canoe and has good technique so all the other paddlers behind also have good form. They need to have a good stroke in order to help all the other seats keep power in the boat.

“You have to maintain good form,” said Kainoa Taitano, a freshman who just started paddling about four weeks ago.

Seat two copies seat one in order to keep the timing in the canoe. They encourage seat one when they’re doubting themselves during a race.

Seat three and four are the powerhouses. Ideally, the two strongest paddlers sit in these seats. They are the engine.

“You have to use a lot of power,” Zach Nakama said.

Seat five is part of the powerhouse, but they’re also a backup steersman. If seat six drops their paddle, seat five is there to steer the canoe.

Seat six is the steersman. They keep the canoe from going in circles. They put their paddle in the water and hold it a certain way to turn the boat in the direction they want it to go

“You know there’s a lot of factors, the wind and the way people paddle. You always gotta be watching out for things. It’s a very difficult position in the boat,” said Yasutake, a stroker filling in as steersman while the normal steersman is off-island.

“I’d totally recommend paddling to other people because you get to be outdoors and get to socialize with people,” Zach Nakama added.