Author Topic: Is paddling in our DNA?  (Read 3068 times)

blueplanetsurf

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Is paddling in our DNA?
« on: November 30, 2012, 06:53:43 AM »
I have been thinking about how easily paddling comes to many and how calming and natural it feels to  propel yourself along with a paddle.   If you think about it, humans have been paddling for a long time, a crude paddle is probably one of the first tools used by humans.  So, perhaps paddling is such an engrained human behavior that it has become part of our DNA.   Maybe we know how to paddle in the way that migratory birds instinctively know not just how to fly but when it is time to fly south for the winter, where to go, what altitude to fly at, where to stop to rest, how to fly in formation and work as a group to get to the destination.  Some of it is learned behavior but it is also engrained in their DNA and they know what to do without being taught.
Paddling is certainly engrained in Polynesian culture, the paddle was basically used to populate the vast Pacific.  Humans have used paddles for thousands of years in all cultures and in many forms.
As an instructor who coaches people on stroke technique, I sometimes wonder if paddling is something everyone already knows how to do instinctively, you just have to help them discover something they already know how to do.  Maybe thats why it feel it so natural and soothing to paddle.

Paddle on!
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
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raf

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 08:44:06 AM »
Cool idea.  I've thought about this myself a little.  It is a wonder that SUP is perhaps the latest evolution of water sports, as we are almost tailor made to do this sport.  Our legs and torso are designed to keep us upright, our arms are made to manipulate tools.  I don't think humans have a "paddling instinct", but we are perfectly made for it.  

pdxmike

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 11:57:36 AM »
That's a nice way to put it--that the instructor is there to help you discover what your body already knows how to do--and it does seem true.

Plus, we do have proof that even cavemen paddled:

http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=18369.msg175129#msg175129
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 11:59:07 AM by pdxmike »

pdxmike

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 01:07:45 PM »
blueplanet--I think you're onto something.   I wonder if you'd get any insights about paddling technique if you think, how would you paddle if nobody taught you?  What would be the "natural" way?  It makes me think of advice in everything from nutrition to technique in other sports--it seems you usually are better off ignoring advice that seems unnatural, and doing what feels more normal.   

For instance, it wasn't that long ago athletes were told to eat a steak before a game, and never drink water while exercising.   Swimmers get told not to breath going into or coming out of turns, yet unless you're elite, you lose more time from being short of oxygen than you lose from taking the breath. 

So it makes me want to think of stroke advice and reconsider anything that doesn't seem like a natural movement.

Weasels wake

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 03:10:32 PM »
Well we were born with paddles, well, kinda, sorta.

It takes a quiver to do that.

juandoe

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 03:24:55 PM »
I don't know if the paddling is innate but I think there is something to activating the cerebellum and the balance that is inherently appealing.  I think when we left the trees, walking on the flat ground left something to be desired.   

Of course, if you believe the world was created in 7 days, then this theory is bunk.

lucabrasi

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 04:34:00 PM »
That's a nice way to put it--that the instructor is there to help you discover what your body already knows how to do--and it does seem true.
Plus, we do have proof that even cavemen paddled:
http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=18369.msg175129#msg175129
That's funny.
A good thread DJ started there too with his usual good camera work and quality entertainment value to it. Quite the deal that Merimbula seems to be.
Paddling seems so natural and calming (or insert other adjective) it just has to be ingrained somehow.
"The ultimate expression of freedom." I will always credit Warren Miller with that quote but I am sure many of us were skiing or wave riding or just cruising around and thought that very thing.
Some guy jumped on a log and with a stick in his hand to get around sometime ago. Probably made the stick better before he worked on making the log better (hmmmm).
He was probably wanting to get someplace on that log which is why he thought about it rather than having fun but he probably thought........"hey, this is pretty cool."

Weasels wake

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Re: Is paddling in our DNA?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 05:16:07 PM »
I don't know if the paddling is innate but I think there is something to activating the cerebellum and the balance that is inherently appealing.  I think when we left the trees, walking on the flat ground left something to be desired.    

Of course, if you believe the world was created in 7 days, then this theory is bunk.

"Left the trees"?  Don't really like the sound of that.
I always thought we left the water, and went into caves, only to find a nice surfing type board in there, giving us the chance to get back into the water w/o getting our furs so wet.

But what do I know, I wasn't there.  :-\
It takes a quiver to do that.