What we thought was going to be a normal day in Pucon, turned out to end with a big surprise. After classes got out, we were informed that not only would we be running one of the best creeks in the area, but we would also be guest coached by one of the best creek boaters in the world! After a brief tutorial on how to brown claw from Evan Garcia, we loaded up and headed to the Rio Nevado, a classic Pucon run that has just about every type of rapid; from big slides, to waterfalls. The first rapid on the Rio Nevado is a long slide, with several different lines. The cleanest line is to start left and work your way right, to miss a big kicker flake in the center. Or, if you want some airtime, you can purposely go center to get launched by the kicker. But whichever line you decide to take, you have to have some basic fundamental skills to hit your line.
This is where guest coach Evan Garcia came in. When asked for some advice on how to hit your line on a slide, Evan had some good tips for us. The main thing to realize about slides, Evan says, is that “You’re not actually paddling on water, so it’s important on a slide, to get momentum before the move you actually want to make”. Evan is pointing out, that once you are on the slide, you can’t actually pull on water with your strokes, so if there is a line that you have to make, you have to make up for the lack of strokes by getting enough speed going into the slide to make your line part way down. Giving a specific example on the Rio Nevado, Evan says, “So if you want to make a move left to right like you do on this slide, you actually want to start at the top of it, and finish the move you start at the top, all the way at the bottom, because once you’re on that slide, you have a centimeter of water, and you can’t paddle off of it.”
Some addition tips that Evan gave were, “Basically you just want to be really smooth, and loose in the hips on slides, because you are going to be hitting little flake rocks, and as long as you absorb those hits, and don’t over correct one way, you are going to stay up right, and pointing downstream.”
These are some awesome tips from a great paddler, and hopefully we can all use this advice to improve our lines on the river!