How to: Creeking Tips The Ricochet by Pat Keller
A move that can take your paddling up a level is the Ricochet: using rocks while working your way down the river. Rather than trying to dodge rocks or just boof over them, use them to your advantage to style a change in direction. Pat likes to Ricochet in two distinct ways.
The first Ricochet is the “Speed Scrub”, which is just what it sounds like. When you find a rock right in your path you use it to slow your speed, get a breath, and redirect your angle of attack. The keys are pretty simple. You learned the basics when you first started to paddle. Lean into the rock! You’ll want to make sure that you hit the pillow of water coming off the rock or the rock itself in a spot that will help send you where you want to go. Hit the pillow just to the side of the highest point towards the direction you want to go. The same is true for a rock, but you can also use different angles and shapes on the rocks to help change direction. Check your balance on the obstruction with either your hand or your elbow. Use that pause to recognize your new direction. The pillow off the rock will help you flow away. Next, use good positive strokes to take yourself where you want to go.
The Speed Ricochet is more like a boof, but rather than just going up and over you want to use the shape of the rock and water to help you attain a new direction. Find a spot on the rock in your path that has an angle that can help you to turn. For the directionally challenged: a rock that angles down to the left will help turn you left. This time, you will actually lean away from the rock to lift your edge up on to it. Make sure you have some speed or you know what will happen— yes a pin, or you might just flip over, which is embarrassing. Take a boof stroke on the side away from the rock to drive up on the rock, but not so strong a stroke to carry yourself over. Use that stroke to feel the resistance of the rock and allow the rock and pillow to turn your boat. Apply force to the stroke as needed to adjust the angle as you are coming off and heading in your new direction. It’s a lot like using a berm or ramp to bank off on a bike or board.
By: Shane Benedict & Pat Keller