1. Angle = 45 degrees relative to the downstream current or current inside the eddy. When we have the right angle we expose just the right
amount of our kayak to the current which, in turn, does the work of
turning our kayak for us so we don't have to.
2. Edge = Lifting our upstream edge when we're peeling out and lifting our downstream edge when we're performing an eddy turn.
Lifting the correct edge allows the water to hit the bottom or our boat
so that we don't flip while performing this skill and allows the
current to turn out boat.
4. Look where you want to go. Self explanatory!
As a kayak instructor I drill people on these skills on the water all the time. Practicing them helps to create better reading water
skills, balance, effortlessness and control. Plus, good eddy turns and
peel outs are a lot of fun! Almost anyone can paddle straight down a
class II and III river, but they're missing out on a lot of fun and are
not learning to paddle to their potential. Beginners often resist eddy
and ferry practice because it can feel unstable and challenging, but if
they stick with it, the benefits are awesome.
Interestingly enough I've realized that the components of eddy turns and peels are just as relevant off the water as they are on the water.
Take the peel out for example... We've all experienced times in our
lives when we've felt stuck. Perhaps we feel uninspired or maybe we've
been repeating habits and patterns that make us unhappy. In these
times remembering the elements of a good peel out can help us get
1. Set your angle = Pay attention and set your intention. Ask yourself: "What do I want to look different in my life?" Allow
yourself some quiet time so that the answer bubbles up from inside of
you. You know what's best for you so trust yourself and set the
intention that you want for your life, or for this year or this month
or just for today. It can be as simple as: "Today my intention is to
find 3 things to be grateful for."
2. Find your Edge = Find your balance. Take time out in your day to find
your center, your balance point. Sit quietly or go for a walk or bike
ride or paddle! Instead of constantly sending your energy out to
everyone else, save some for yourself. You can only take care of
others if you take care of yourself first. Going a step further, you
can find your balance on edge -- don't be afraid to challenge yourself,
to push your limits just a little. Step outside of your comfort zone
and hang out there for a bit and you'll find that what you were so
afraid of isn't so bad after all.
3. Speed = Start moving and move in a different way, in a different direction. If you're on the river and you get stuck in an eddy you
don't say to yourself: "Oh, I'm stuck, I guess I'll just have to stay
here all day." If you said that you would never get off the river!
Somehow you find the courage, strength and determination to paddle out
of that eddy back into the current. You may not be sure of how you'll
end up at the bottom of the rapid, but you take initiative and you go
for it. Same thing when you feel stuck in life. Big projects start
with one little baby step, and then another and then another.... You
don't have to paddle like crazy, just start taking some strokes and the
momentum will build on itself.
4. Look where you want to go = It's important that when you have a goal that you're reaching for that you don't sabotage yourself by telling yourself stories about how you can't do it. I love the
quote that says something like: "Whether you believe you can or you
can't you're probably right." Keep your focus on where you want to go,
on what you want to create in your life. When you hear yourself
starting to doubt, coming up with excuses or being negative you can
simply say: "That isn't true for me anymore." This is a very powerful
statement! Just because something went one way in the past doesn't
mean that it has to repeat itself. We all have the power to choose
where our attention is focused. Using affirmations can help with
this. Find an affirmation that is believable to you and say it over
and over. Stick it on the fridge or somewhere you can see it. It can
be as simple as: "Everything I do I do with ease." Keep it simple and
keep looking where you want to go.
Eddy turns can be important to. Maybe you need to catch an eddy to take a break, rejuvenate and find your balance. Stopping to take stock of what's going on in your life is important.
As I mentioned, I drill my students on the water on this stuff and it take some practice to refine peel outs and eddy turns so that they
feel effortless. If I had given up on kayaking after my first trip
down the river because I couldn't eddy turn or peel out or stay upright
I wouldn't be where I am or who I am today. On the river I'm sure that
you get out there and practice as much as you can, even if you don't
feel like you're getting it right all of the time. The same thing goes
when applying this stuff to life. Don't give up the first time that
something doesn't work out the way you want it to. Keep going back to
the basic steps mentioned above and recognize the lesson. Being open
to the learning will help you do it differently next time. With
practice peel outs and eddy turns become effortless both on and off the