Knowing how to catch an eddy while boating is as fundamental a skill as knowing how to check your speed while skiing. It allows you to control your descent through whitewater, regroup with your buddies, pause to pick out your line, or simply to take a break.
As experienced Alder Creek kayak coach Paul Kuthe explains in the video above, the best place to enter most eddies is directly behind the feature that’s creating it. Just as in the cross-current ferry video, the acronym ATM (Angle, Tilt, Momentum) comes into play. Set your angle towards the eddy and paddle your way across the eddy line. As you move out of the river’s fast current and into the slack water of the eddy, make sure you tilt your boat upstream so the slow-moving eddy doesn’t catch your edge and flip you. Finally, let the momentum you built up in the current carry you through and turn your boat into the eddy (a draw stroke also helps at this point).
Whether you’re stopping to scout a rapid or pulling over to play on a killer surf wave, being able to pull smoothly into an eddy is going to be a huge help. Beginning kayakers will probably want to start in mellow eddies in slower moving current, but as you become more comfortable, try catching eddies on the fly. Keep challenging yourself by trying to pull into smaller and faster eddies with as few strokes as possible.
Once you’ve eddied out, take your bearings and you’re ready for the next step: PEELING OUT.
–Also, don’t miss Kuthe’s tips for CROSS-CURRENT FERRYING.
–Check out more Virtual Coach videos from C&K.