I’m spending a bit of time at the end of each training session playing with balance exercises before I get stuck into self rescue and rolling drills. Last Sunday I shot a bit of footage using my iPhone which I thought I would share.

The balance exercises are great for increasing confidence and stability in the boat and as a useful aid to moving onto self rescue techniques with beginners. Done with a group they are superb fun and always good for a laugh and some interesting photos. Underlying this, however, they provide a nice route into getting students comfortable with the concept of climbing around on the boat and develop key balance skills which are important when using a straddle self rescue.

The video only shows a couple of balance exercises before showing a couple of self rescues, however there a numerous different balance exercises that you could try. Ideally, build some form of progression of difficulty into the different tasks you set yourself or others as well as move from calm water to rougher conditions. A few possibilities could be:

  1. Sit On Back Deck – feet in boat
  2. Sit on back deck – feet in water (keep legs stretched out like ‘outriggers’)
  3. Do a seated 360 spin on back deck (in video)
  4. Lie on front of boat and ‘kiss’ the bow
  5. Stand up on seat and back to seated position (on video)
  6. Standing 360 on seat
  7. Lie across back deck and roll away from cockpit and return

As you can see from the couple of efforts in my footage I’m still quite tentative with some of the exercises and need more work to become smooth with the drills. If you want to see a master at work it is worth checking out the Balance Exercises section of the new Gordon Brown DVD – Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown Vol 2 to see a master at work. Gordon has phenomenal balance, particularly in rough water!