In this post I’m going to be following on from two of my previous tutorials (https://patrickyak.blog/2020/05/08/how-to-double-pump/ and https://patrickyak.blog/2020/07/02/how-to-bow-stall/) and will explain how to loop on flatwater. Once you can confidently double pump and bow stall, learning to flatwater loop isn’t particularly difficult and could be learned within a few hours if you really put your mind to it. For those who don’t know or aren’t sure, a loop is officially defined as a “front flip initiated and finished between a horizontal angle of -20° and +20°,” the latter half of which means that it has to finish straight; it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to accomplish this initially (and unless you’re competing it’s not that important) but once you can front flip reliably, finishing within -20° and +20° will become easier and easier.
To begin with lets assume that you’re holding a double pump – your chin is up and the paddle is well away from your boat forming a triangle between your head and the bow. From this position you want to start bouncing, a single bounce would do but the more bounces you can get and the higher they are the easier it’ll be to loop. This is perhaps the most difficult part of the whole trick because balancing while bouncing takes a bit of getting used to. The idea is to follow the same steps as when holding a bow stall except that you push and pull with your arms and body:
- Step 1 – rotate your wrists towards you. This will allow the paddle to slice into the water more easily.
- Step 2 – push out and down with your paddle blades while crunching forward slightly. This should push the boat up out of the water while submerging your paddle as you intiate a scooping motion.
- Step 3 – rotate you wrists away from you so that the paddle blade is parallel to the surface. This gives the blades maximum pulling power in the next step.
- Step 4 – pull your paddle blades back up and towards you completing the scooping motion while also standing up at the same time. The bow of the boat will be pulled under the water by your paddle and helped along by gravity.
- Step 5 – I would advise skipping this step unless you feel that you could confidently bounce more than once (I learned how to loop with only one bounce first, then went back and practised balancing for longer) however, if you think you can then keep bouncing. Each subsequent bounce try and push down further with more power and pull up more quickly – this should mean that you bounce higher each time and your paddle may leave the water at the start of each cycle.
- Step 6 – if you can bounce at least once most of the time you should now try to front flip. When you complete Steps 1 through to 4 (with Step 5 being optional) you’ll finish with the bow of the boat well underwater and your paddle near the surface. To break the surface tension and release the blades from the water, over-rotate your wrists so that the paddle can slice out more easily.
- Step 7 – now that the paddle has been released reach up as high as you can and jump, make sure to look up as well. The boat will pop out of the water following your lead.
- Step 8 – just before you reach the top of the movement (standing up), throw all your weight as far forwards as you can. This will direct the boat’s momentum forwards as well as up.
- Step 9 – when you’ve crunched all the way forwards immediately throw all of your weight back again. Your paddle and body will have caught on the water (acting like an anchor) meaning that this motion will kick the boat over your head.
- Step 10 – use your onside paddle blade to push the boat flat. The boat is more likely to finish between -20° and +20° the straighter you kick in Step 9 and the more firmly you push back with this blade. Congratulations, you’ve just flatwater looped for the first time!
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