You’re making too many eddies
When I get in my car and hit the motorway. I don’t decide to pull over at every single service station to check to see if the motorway is clear to the next one. It would take me ages. I like to crack on with it! Eddies are the same. They are a feature of the river just like stoppers, waves and boils. We don’t have to use every single one.
Eddies are safe (To a point)
Hitting eddies are safe you can’t argue with that. It gives you time to look around that bend. Chat to your chummies and mull it over. It creates time for us to process the next move.
However if you ask a beginner whitewater paddler the last 5 swims they took. I bet 3 of them will be on an eddyline. Eddies complicate things. Can the group fit in the eddy ? Did they understand the communication needed to which eddy? What happens if they miss it? All of this can cause a bit of a stress. Which is less fun.
Eddy to eddy is it safer?
Moving eddy to eddy certainly breaks up the journey on the river. So much so that it can slow the group dynamics right down causing the group to make painful progress down the river. Hitting eddies also require a certain amount of skill. The more advanced water, the less (perfect) uniform eddies you will find.
Are you reading eddy to eddy?
Another consideration to make is how it effects the rest of the groups mood. A common example. Is with the group in one eddy. Whilst the ‘leader’ is in an eddy further downstream peering around the next bend. As this takes some time whilst the leader is looking and making his/her decision for the group. The members in the group naturally paint a picture of fear or anxiety. With questions in our head such as “ Why’s he/she taking so long?” or “ Maybe he doesn’t think I can run it.” Generally if we don’t have an image in front of us. We paint a picture much worse in our heads.
Hitting Eddies is exhausting
Eddies require a lot of physical work. Getting in them, out again. Keeping an eye on your buddies. Checking is it big enough? Or those annoying times where you drift out the back because it’s a bit of squeeze. Even worse is when you hit that rock and bump out! You spend more time stressing about the eddy that actually the use of the eddy loses it’s value.
As you creak your neck, glance at your group give the thumbs up or whichever hand gesture best describes the next line. Why not do all that in the flow? And keep it moving.
Hands up if you’ve been sat in a eddy in mid January in the cold waiting for a thumbs up from your leader who is sat in an eddy ahead? I think we’ve all been there. Keep the flow, alternate roles and keep the fun in the descent of the river! Hey if you like it you can smash another lap!
Eddies are like any other feature just like everything else we discover on the river. We can use them but not every single one.
Tune in for Part 2 – ‘How To use Less eddies’ Out next Wednesday!
I know, I know. You get it it Ross isn’t so keen on eddies. But how about telling us how to use less?