Question about technique and lower back issues

In the past couple of months I've noticed that my lower back is starting to get sore when I paddle on my OC1. I don't have any issues with my lower back at any other time except from my OC1. I've been paddling for 11 years in OC6 and 3 years on my OC1 and never had this problem before. I am wondering if any of you have encountered the same problem and if there was something about your technique that you found needed to be corrected. Any advise or help you can offer is much appreciated.

Submitted by marisa on Fri, 08/15/2008 - 5:51am

my guess be that ye be doin' somethin' funky wi' yer technique. i be havin' a herniated disk an' 6 man paddlin' definitely bothers 't more than OC1. so much so that dasn't e'en paddle a 6 man any more.

#1 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 6:26am

Aloha Marisa,

are you doing any Yoga or streching to balance your training?
a flexible body is a strong healthy body........

just a feedback before even getting into techniques...

#2 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 7:32am

I'm pretty sure that's jc9 steering the orange and white Lightning, (to a 16 second victory) in this photo...

Photobucket big liar-head.

#3 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 7:34am

Hold on, goto...He did say he is not "paddling" 6-man anymore. From the looks of that picture, he doesn't look like he is "paddling", just poking! And I am not joking! The 16 second victory is impressive with all the poking!

Have Fun...Kicbacmaui!

#4 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 10:16am

Good point.

Side note: In this boat - goto, Jim and jc9_0. Wow! Team!

#5 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 7:53am

Nice one goto, you proved that jc9 is a giant LIAR.

Yeah and I know for a fact that jc9 pokes a lot. And likes it.

#6 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 8:03am

Yeah, he's definitely a lying poker.

#7 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 8:05am

or a poking liar

#8 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 8:09am

Im not the most limber guy in the world and I definately notice more stress on my lower back on OC1. I just recently modified a seat by adding 3" so as to have a more upright postion. Yeah, its a lil tippier, but I only use it on flat water. I notice it releives some of the pressure on my lower back and helps me get a better catch and stronger drive on the front end of the stroke........probably just cuz Im more comfortable.
The wierd thing is I can feel a specific disc clicking when I paddle OC1. It only does it on the left side too......go figure. If anything blows out Im pretty sure that'll be the one.

#9 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 8:36am


There are a lot of potential contributing factors to lower back pain on an OC1. But I think marianolarghi hit it right with flexibility.

If there on any PT's on here, they may be able to explain it better, but a lot of stress can be placed on the lumbar (lower back) if the pelvis is "tilted" funny (anterior or posterior pelvic tilt).

A very likely culprit is overly tight hamstrings, which in a seated position, particularly one where the knees are as high or higher than the hips (like on an OC1), will pull on the back of the pelvis causing tension on the low back muscles and may place pressure on the disks of the lumbar vertebrae.

Shortened hamstrings due to inflexibility will directly impede your range of motion which will in turn affect your performance and increase your chances for injury.

Flexibility is something that all paddlers should focus on. (That’s going to open a whole other round of comments from the guys.)

And remember, it most likely took a good amount of time and bad habits to get to this point of inflexibility. It may take some time being committed to flexibilty for you to see significant improvements. But you will see benefits, even if the above isn’t the exact source of your discomfort.

Hope this helps.

#10 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 10:32am

not really sure how that boat came in 1st. especially since nay one in th' boat be paddlin'!

as fer me bein' in th' picture, i say ye be th' liar mr goto. if i be actually in th' picture, id be wearin' a red hat. t' further destroy this web o' lies ye be havin' created, let me point ou' this be most definitely nay th' crew ye say won by 16 seconds. didna ye tell me ocps own 4layers be in seat two fer that race?

#11 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 11:04am

The crew in the picture lost, actually. Later the crew w/ Tom Aukai won the "1500" in a time of 6:43, but I think it was more like 1200 meters.

#12 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 12:32pm

And jc9's two turns in the 1500 were absolutely Foti-esque!

#13 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 12:33pm

There is a lot of lying going on today.

First off a canoe with Goto and Jim would not have lost.

Reason #1-Goto has a Pueo and millions of pictures of Pueo's all over his computer, walls, wallet, and other places. Also he has a direct Pipeline to the sweet heaven that is Kamanu Comp. If you have a Pueo you win,,,, and have big biceps.

Reason #2-Jim is from Lanikai and worships all things Foti and Lanikai. The power of Lanikai runs through his body. If he were to come in second, he would be dis-owned and he wouldn't allow that to happen.

It is nice to see a picture of the OCP Mafia better known as the "Cult of the Tight Shirt One"

#14 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 1:16pm


If the search function worked, you could probably get most of your answers in previous posts. The back problem issue has been discussed in depth several times.

I think Keizo is probably busy making sweet canoes or taking the pictures of the Pueo that Goto demands every ten minutes or so., so he might not have time to fix it soon, or maybe it is just my computer that is getting search errors.

#15 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 1:25pm

Kona J-I was disowned along time ago! Still a big fan, though.

#16 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 2:02pm

I have found back pain, if it's not any major spinal issue, can be helped by strengthening your abs. There's some fact that 80% of people probably have some spinal problem but goes undiagnosed and anyway there's nothing you can do unless you want surgery but you don't want that.

My doctor told me to either quit paddling, grow a higher pain tolerance, or get crazy strong abs. He put it in great perspective. I got somewhat stronger abs and my backs been better.

Now, if you say "I do abs, they are strong", then they are not. Try going to a good pilates class or physical therapist and you will find your previously thought of strong abs are a pile of mush.

#17 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 2:03pm

Cannot poo-poo Poo Poo on that comment. I think most 'back' problems are realted to weakness in the abs. I cannot figure out why you would have a problem now (after 3 years OC1) unless, something is different in kanu, paddle, type of water working on..or a change in your other training?
The bitch is when you get older is that if you stop or slow down training...then your/my 'back' problems show up, (way more on OC1 than OC6); get back into core/Pilates/lower back works on Nautilus machine and the pain stops, after only a few works. ...amazing.

#18 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 2:34pm

Hey Marisa
Really surprised that nobody brings up Pilates! I`am convinced that Piilates and getting a stronger "Powerhouse" and strong lower stomachmuscles (nothing to do with a so called "sixpack") is the key to get rid of your problem. And yes its like "Poopoopaddler" allready said, if you think you got strong abs try Pilates you will be will be a feeling like you have no lower stomach muscles at all!
Its extremely important though that you get a good instructor, otherwise it may result in more problems......I had massive lower backproblems for years and totally solved through Pilates.
Good luck...

#19 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 9:28pm

marisa, if ye be interested i can refer ye t' a great pilates instructor in honolulu. however, i warn ye now that pilates lessons be expensive. but like others say, well worth 't. before pilates i be nay longer surfin' or paddlin' on accoun' o' o' me aft. now i can do both again. drop me a PM an' i`ll give ye th' contact info.

#20 Fri, 08/15/2008 - 11:06pm

Cant agree more.......tis expensive but DONT try to cut corners in getting a good! Instructor. Same here, couldnt hardly do anything in the and cause of my lower back pain and now a can do whatever i want. Dont feel my back at all.....comes all out of the middle..think it helps a lot for keeping a good posture, balance and just keeping everything more centered (like an OC1)...
Boring as...but well worth it. :-) Pilates

#21 Sat, 08/16/2008 - 12:02am

Hey Aquafiend65,

I found I had more back pain when I went from my hurricane to my new pegasus. I believe it is because the pegasus is lower. I'd like to raise the seat an inch or two, and see what that does. How did you raise your seat? using foam?

#22 Sat, 08/16/2008 - 2:09am

#23 Sat, 08/16/2008 - 4:16am

Mahalo for all the great feedback everyone!! It helps alot and will take it all into consideration to make improvements.

#24 Sat, 08/16/2008 - 10:57am

I used a couple slabs of 6 man seat foam and glue them together with super77, which may not hole up to the moisture. I was just tryin it out. If you want something permanent you should probably use a good contact cement.

#25 Sun, 08/17/2008 - 8:23pm

Being a bit over 40, and w/ a back that usually nags most of the time, I experienced the opposite when I went from a hurricane, and huki to a pegasus. I had a guy tell me that more support under the backs of my legs (hamstrings, calves) would alleviate some of the back problem. The Peg seat seems to extend under the back of my legs more (supporting them), and I usually adjust my seat where my calves rest in the footwells. I've found that wheras before, my back and legs would start aching at about 45 minutes or so....I can now go about 2 hours before the aching starts. I've tried my peg seat in other boats and have found that it has a similar affect (improvement) as well. I also do little micro-adjustments of my 'okole during a paddle to alleviate pressure/pull on the same spot. I agree 100% w/ what the others had to say about stretching, core work, and strong abs!

#26 Mon, 08/18/2008 - 3:18am

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