USK's Featured Skill

The purpose of this page is to educate and motivate. If you have never seen the featured skill before then you will be learning something new. Even if you have seen it before perhaps there may be a different twist or variation in the way it is being presented. Even after I think I have mastered a skill I see a student try it in a new way and I am again reminded that one is always learning if they stay opened to new possibilities.

As an educator and motivator I challenge those who know the "Featured Skill" to get out and try it again. In fact, I ask you to take out a paddler who doesn't and try to teach it to them in controlled conditions. At the very least, you and your regular paddling partners should get out and spend a morning or afternoon playing with the "Featured Skill" and see the many ways you can improve your efficiency in the skill.

Imagine if you were to go out once a month and practice one of the featured skills and/or teach it to others. Over time, which I find goes by very quickly, you will have practiced and improved a number of techniques. The overall skill level of you and your paddling partners will have improved more than you will initially realize.

How often does one get out to practice their skills? Most paddles, once they have taken classes (if they ever have taken classes), spend their time paddling. Unless there is a club where active paddles run training and review sessions it is not common for the average paddler to go out specifically to practice skills. Please do not misunderstand me about going out for a paddle. I love getting out for a an hour, day, or week of paddling. However, the high percentage of my touring is spent doing the forward stroke unless the conditions are challenging. I don't believe most of us take the time to polish up some of our lesser used kayaking skills. If the day comes when you need to use one of those less practiced skills will you be able to perform them? If some of those skills can keep you alive then I suggest you get out and practice them BEFORE you need to depend upon them. See USK article, "The Transient Nature Of Skills."

I can say some of my greatest days of kayaking occurred doing multi-hour practice sessions while not paddling anywhere. I just stayed in the harbor or right outside of the surf zone working on my skills. As my skill level improved so did my self confidence and more importantly my understanding of the small nuances involved in skill development.

I would feel very gratified if a nation wide "Featured Skill" club evolved. Not an official club, but groups of paddlers who would regularly go out and practice the featured skill and hopefully many others while out there. If you do go out and find effective variations please e-mail them to us and we will try to get them on the web site. Perhaps starting a local network to practice the "Featured Skill" could help motivate one another to get out regularly for practice sessions.

Featured Skill:

August 2012 - "Paddle Swim" Updated

April 2011 - "Wet re-entry with an Eskimo bow assist" Updated

July 2010 - Your Paddling Engine"

March 2009 - "Using Ranges"

February 2009 - "Stern High Brace Turn"

January 2009 - "Wet Entry"

December 2008 - "Wet Exit"

November 2008 - "Bow Slide"

October 2008 - "Side Scramble Recovery"

September 2008 - "Leg Hook Re-entry After A Capsize"

August 2008 - "Back Deck Entry After A Capsize"

July 2008 - "Contact Towing

June 2008 - "Approaching A Panicked Swimmmer"

May 2008 - "The Hip Snap"

April 2008 - "Mermaid's Walk - Launching A Kayak From Shore"

March 2008 - "Surf A Wave And Get Off"

February 2008 - "T-Recovery For A Tandem Kayak"

January 2008 - "Side Hit In The Surf Zone"

December 2007 - "Scoop Rescue"

November 2007 - "High Brace and Low Brace Blade Mechanics"

October 2007 - "Double (Tandem) Kayak Paddle Float Re-Enter and Roll"

September 2006 - "Switch And Swim Surf Zone Landing"

August 2006 - "Using a Deck Sling"

July 2006 - "Clipping In For A Tow"

June 2006 - "One Towing Two"

May 2006 - "Riding A Wave And Side Surf Combo" (late posting)

April 2006 - "Double Scoop Rescue/Recovery"

March 2006 - "How To Punch Through Surf"

February 2006 - Capsize T-Recovery Combo

January 2006 - "Extended Paddle High Sculling Brace"

December 2005 - "Sit-On-Top Scramble Recovery"

November 2005 - "Stabilizing At The Cockpit"

October 2005 - "Shore Spin For The Surf Zone"

September 2005 - "Standing In A Kayak"

August 2005 - "Shoulder Safety"

July 2005 - "Paddling a Flooded Sea Kayak"

June 2005 - "Supportive Forward Sweep Stroke"

May 2005 - "Low Brace Turn"

April 2005 - "My Immersion Ensemble"

March 2005 - Back In Surf Landing

February 2005 - In Out Surf Landing

January 2005 - Between the Kayaks Re-entry

December 2004 - Double Kayak Paddle Float Recovery

November 2004 - Re-enter and Pump Assisted Recovery

October 2004 - Dual Wet Re-entry and Eskimo Recoveries (All-in Recovery variation)

September 2004 - Sea Wings Recoveries & Uses

August 2004 - Side Surfing Control

July 2004 - Double Re-enter and Pump Recovery

June 2004 - Sit-On-Top BBF Recovery

May 2004 - Paddle Float Stirrup Recovery

April 2004 - Hand of God Rescue/Recovery

March 2004 - Re-enter & roll

February 2004 - Swim With A Kayak

January 2004 - TX-Recovery

December 2003 - Eskimo Paddle Recovery

November 2003 - Eskimo Bow Recovery

October 2003 - Answering Nature's Call

September 2003 - Launching A Kayak Through Surf

August 2003 - Paddle & Arm Signals

July 2003 - In Water Draining Methods

June 2003 - Sculling

May 2003 - Extended Paddle Forward Sweep Stroke

April 2003 - Paddle Swim

March 2003 - Supportive Reverse Sweep Stroke

February 2003 - Carrying A Kayak Alone

January 2003 - Stirrup Recoveries (assisted)

December 2002 - All In Recovery (Traditional)

November 2002 - Solo Paddle Float Recovery

October 2002 - HI-Recovery

September 2002 - Back-Up Recovery

August 2002 - Scramble Recovery

July 2002 - Cleopatra's Needle & Curl Recovery

June 2002 - "Swimmer Assists"

May 2002 - "Extended Paddle Roll"

April 2002 - "On Water Kayak Repair"

March 2002 - "T-Recovery"

February 2002 - "Utilizing The Group During Capsize Recoveries"

January 2002 - "Wet re-entry with an Eskimo bow assist"

December 2001 - "Walking a kayak"

November 2001 - "Wet re-entry and roll up with a paddle float"



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