Sunday, February 09, 2020

Pool Play

My luck with pool sessions this season has been pretty bad. Nearly everyone has fallen on the same day as a gymnastics competition.
Don't get me wrong, I love watching my daughter and her friends compete; they are amazing athletes.
Still a little bit of water time does have a certain restorative power that sitting in a gym cannot match.
Fortunately, this weekend the rolling session and the competition fell on different days!!! Saturday was spent doing gymnastics stuff (competitions can be an all day affair despite the fact the each kid only spends a couple of minutes doing stuff). Sunday got to be pool party time!!!
It was also the first time I was going to get to see how rolling with the new Kalleq. It was a very exciting time.
I started off just getting a feel for the paddle by maneuvering around the pool, doing some sculling draws, and some sculling for support. Then I took the plunge... It wasn't the prettiest roll, but I ended right side up. The Kalleq has a surprising amount of power when rolling - more than any of the wooden sticks I've used - yet feels very light. I can usually feel it in my shoulders when I power my way through a roll, but with the Kalleq.
I did get some very good pointers about watching my paddle tip while rolling. I also got reminded to keep my head down. Once I started doing that, things went much smoother.
Once upon a time, I was a pretty balanced roller. Once upon a time, I paddled three times a week. Now I definitely have a strong side and a weak side. Fortunately, all the practice that I used to do means that I can stay relatively calm under water and switch sides in a pinch.
The Kalleq even made me confident enough to try rolling without extending the blade like a Euro paddler. It was surprisingly effective. I think I got like 95% of the rolls I tried. It was a little weird because I could feel the back side of the paddle bumping against the hull.
Tim M. tried out the Kalleq for awhile as well. He seemed OK with it.
While he used the Kalleq, I tried to do some rolls with my trusty Lendal.... It was far less rewarding then I had hoped... I struggled to get the angle of the blade correct. I did manage a few rolls, but none that made me feel confident that I could do it in the wild. (It is a good thing I didn't consider that I may not be able to roll with the Lendal during the Gales....)
I also did some re-entry and rolls which are always a good thing to have in the back pocket.
Watching some of the regulars did make me a little jealous. The Tims and Gary have bombproof rolls that mostly look effortless. One of the Tims was even doing rolls with half a paddle after doing a rat swim to get the paddle.
Then I remembered why I don't paddle three times a week anymore; I have an awesome wife and kid at home. The bombproof roll can wait until the kid turns into a teenager who is too embarrassed to hang out with her dad.
After the pool Tim M. and I grabbed coffee. It was nice to catch up and unwind.
I returned home energized and looking forward to summer.