Throughout the stand up paddling community the number of paddling clinics on offer has seemingly proliferated at a pace mirroring that of paddle manufacturers themselves. With options abound, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and properly evaluate the value of the services and products on offer in the current market. My advice to paddlers interested in taking a paddling clinic is to evaluate the credentials of the instructor in the same manner as you would approach interviewing a candidate for a job by considering the depth of their knowledge, background and practical experience. When evaluating these attributes, the number of options quickly becomes a short list of a handful of household names among which lies Jim Terrell, founder of Quickblade Paddles and designer of the one of a kind Quickblade Flume.
Although his easygoing Midwestern roots at times disguise his life’s accomplishments, Jim is a four-time Olympic canoeist who has coached numerous top athletes since retiring from competition in the late 1990s. His knowledge of how and why a paddle performs the way it does in different positions is unrivaled and serves as the foundation behind why Quickblade produces the best performing paddles in the industry.
About the Quickblade Flume
At first one might wonder why paddle indoors? Certainly it would be more valuable to be outside on the water. Or is it? In many regards one would be correct, however, when it comes to breaking down the phases of a paddling stroke to become a more proficient paddler there is no substitute available to the unique environment offered by the Quickblade Flume. The advantage of the flume lies in its ability to bring a paddler into a controlled training environment where external variables such as the wind, waves and the need to balance are removed from the equation. At the flume, paddlers have the opportunity to focus 100% of their attention on their paddling stroke.
In order to mimic the water movement of paddling outdoors, a small electric propeller generates a circular current through the flume. In the center of the flume is a paddling deck large enough to accommodate up to four paddlers at a time. Each participant in a flume session is afforded an ample amount of one-on-one time with Jim during which he patiently provides expert feedback to help paddlers perfect their form and maximize their body’s efficiencies throughout all phases of the paddling stroke.
What to Expect During Your Session
Taco Tuesdays at the Quickblade Flume are co-hosted by Performance Paddling, a Dana Point-based paddling program run by esteemed Southern California waterman Anthony Vela. Each session is designed to accommodate 12 paddlers. After introductions and an explanation of basic paddling principles, participants are divided into three squads. One enters the flume and begins their first of two sessions with Jim. A second is led through a series of balance exercises with Anthony who makes creative use of an Indo Board as a balance training tool. The third squad is allowed to network while enjoying the Quickblade family hospitality of a homemade salsa spread and cold beverages.
A complete Taco Tuesday session runs for approximately two hours and is capped off with homemade tacos prepared on site by the Quickblade staff. The good vibes were flowing during my recent visit and visitors were treated to a private tour of the Quickblade factory to receive a behind the scenes look at the facility where the paddles are produced.
A visit to the Quickblade Flume proved to be a valuable experience for everyone. “I really liked that you can see yourself from every angle. You can look forward and also see your back and your side. It’s cool!” said Elijah Schoenig of San Clemente, one of the Paddle Academy’s up and coming young prospects. “I’d definitely recommend taking a flume session,” he told me during a break in the activity.
Other participants make a visit to the flume a regular part of their spring training each year, using the facility to dust off the cobwebs and get back in paddling form after the winter. No matter if it is your first visit or your fourth, dedicated paddlers never stop learning.
How to Register
Taco Tuesdays at the Quickblade Flume are currently hosted on a monthly basis. Check the SUP Examiner Calendar for upcoming sessions and monitor the social media feeds for Performance Paddling and Quickblade Paddles to stay informed about updates on Taco Tuesday and additional training opportunities. To register for a Taco Tuesday session, visit Performancepaddling.com. Space is limited at each session and I recommend signing up as soon as possible after the future dates are announced.