The Gray Zone. And no, we don't mean some sort of X-Files spin-off where Mulder finally finds out what happened to his long-lost sister while he investigates a conspiracy involving secret government organizations and an extraterrestrial invasion. Instead, we mean the gray zone in a kayak, the space between being upside right, and rightside down.
Louise and I headed to the pool for The Gray Zone course put on by the fine folks at Ocean River Sports.
During the course we brushed up on our edging, and our low and high braces, and our sculling (that's sculling, not Scully). Here, Louise practices her braces while the instructor stands behind her trying to flip her.
Then we tried the balance brace (that's when you and your kayak lie on the side and float, also called a static brace in some circles) and sculling for support, which is when you scull to support yourself in the balance brace position. This will take further practice as accomplishing this move requires you to turn body into a pretzel, and my body is more like a cupcake. Mmmmm, cupcake. Sorry, where were we?
We also practiced our sculling brace, and used it in a simulated situation when you may need to rescue someone by carrying them on the back of your kayak. I always thought that when someone was climbing onto your kayak, the proper procedure was to either whack them on the head with your paddle while laughing maniacally, or to attempt to bargain with them: "Throw me the idol, I'll throw you the tow rope! No time to argue!"
But it turns out that by using the sculling brace you can support your kayak while the rescuee scrambles onto to and off of the stern of your kayak, a technique known as the seal carry. Here's Louise trying to carry a fellow student.
We had a great time, but the thing we learned the most is that we need to practice more!