Today a trip on Basingstoke Canal to test Iki Wa’a with a single blade paddle.
I took the seat out and loaded the canoe up with three yoga blocks and bits of camping mats. I have never learnt how to properly paddle with a single paddle and the paddle was a old cheap one that was an emergency paddle for dinghy sailing.
To begin with I would paddle a bit and then watch videos on how to actually paddle then practice, watch again etc.
I tried a number of seating positions
⁃ Two yoga blocks side by side, raised me up above the floor about 3inches. Left leg pointing forward and right leg folded and tucked under left. Easy position to paddle in but just couldn’t master the J stroke like this. Think I was too low in the canoe for this to work. This position caused pain in my right hip so could not be done for too long
⁃ Sitting in bottom, as above but was easy to relax and lazy paddle.
⁃ Two blocks on top of one another to create a saddle, raised up about 6 inches. Had the third yoga block under one ankle and rolled up camping mat under the other. Initially this felt really good and enabled good execution of the J stroke. This was my favourite position but became uncomfortable after about 15 minutes. With improvements to the padding and some work on flexibility this is certainly a good option.
⁃ Three blocks. At 9 inches above the bottom the was the most unstable position. Though rocking proved there was plenty of stability but perching on moveable blocks could lead to a swim. I think at this length of the paddle was too short and the J stroke became difficult.
So overall, when it went right it was a graceful and enjoyable way to paddle. With a bit of work I think it is the way forward :
– stretching to become allow the seating positions
– improving the kneeling seat
– investigating the correct paddle length