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A freewheele is one of my personal favorite parts about whitewater kayaking. It can be done regular or switch but regular is easier. A freewheele is when you come off a waterfall and as you come off you plant a stroke that turns you so you land backwards. I am going to be walking you through on what I focus on to make sure to get a quick rotation and land with speed away from the hole.

First things first before you ever try a freewheele on a waterfall you should at least understand the concept of a simple double-pump/cartwheele on flatwater in a playboat, as the movement is ALMOST identical. I say at least understand it because although I reccomend knowing how to do flatwater cartwheels helps, I have seen people throw nice freewheels off falls without being able to do much flatwater playboating at all. And of course you should always just run something before throwing freestyle. A double-pump is when you take a forward stroke but without actually trying to move forward, rather just to lift the bow out of the water to generate potential energy then in one motion with the same blade taking a back stoke to slam the bow underwater and focusing on getting your body up over the bow and almost standing up on the bow. If you you do it right the stern should swing over and you will be facing the complete other direction. Practicing this maneuver off a wave is called a wavewheele and is also one step closer to a freewheele but just as fun. A freewheele is different because you are actually falling at least some height-whether you freewheele an actual waterfall or just a small boof-.For a freewheele there is 4 main parts I focus on:
1. Speed toward the lip
2. Paddle plant
3. Rotation
4. The landing
Each part is just as crutial as the next and must be linked together smoothly to work. Speed into a freewheele is very important because sometimes you need as much momentum as you can get to clear the hole. I like to think about the speed i would shoot for if i was just boofing then try to go just a bit faster then that. The last stroke you take before the paddle plant should be on the same side. Just as your bow gets to the lip you take that stoke for a little extra kick. As you finish the last forward stroke you can turn that directly into the Paddle Plant. When planting your paddle you want to lean that way and get on edge as much as possible, transferring your weight onto the blade. In one motion, once you lean as far onto that blade as you can, it should feel like a push up while taking that back stroke, keeping your core and hips tight and sending your boat into rotation. As your boat is now rotating keep finishing the stroke until you run out of water to push on. As you do this you want to be leaning foreward to reach more water and set your body up for a soft landing. Once this happens swing your upper body back to being in line with your boat, still leaning forward and waiting for your boat to hit ,seeing if you angled right to come straight out. If you do not rotate enough or if you rotate too much you will land on edge and possibly be spun into the hole rather than plaining out backwards. If you feel confident to try a freewheele keep these tips in mind and you should stomp it!

– Tommy Piros