How to perform a blunt with your kayak

A blunt is a move done on a wave feature, usually a shoulder, that involves a 180-degree change in direction and is usually an ‘elevated’ move. a ‘flat’ blunt, one that doesn’t get above 70 degrees in elevation, is also called a ’roundhouse’. Blunts can be aerial, as well.

What is a blunt

A blunt is an elevated spin, done counter to the grain of the feature. That’s the textbook definition, and if you’re like me, it’s also kinda useless as far as learning how to do it goes. It’s a move that goes counter to the grain of the feature- generally, a spin on the corner of a wave goes towards the outside of the feature, because the wave is steeper on the inside and that’s where your stern rail is ‘free’ to come down the wave, and can thus switch with your bow.

How the blunt works

To know how a blunt works, we first want to talk about the way a regular spin works- and for our purposes, we’ll use the corner of a wave, where we spin toward the outside of the corner. as you sit on the shoulder, you’ll note that the wave is steeper towards the middle, and also that the water is moving faster towards the middle- meaning that the water is ‘harder’ (read: better to plane on) and, because it’s steeper, it will have the tendency to accelerate you down it faster- and if you’re in a sidesurf here, the natural tendency of the corner will be to turn you to the outside, as the end on the inside will accelerate down the wave faster than the end on the outside, while the end on the outside will be engaged in the shoulder.

In short, to spin on the shoulder, you find a way to release your stern towards the inside (by turning to the outside) and your stern will slide down the steep part of the wave while your bow (on a less steep part of the wave) will go back and up the wave. It’s the release of the stern edge that allows a wave spin to occur, and it’s also key to think about when blunting- but the difference is that when you’re blunting you’re going in the other direction.

How to blunt

The trick to a blunt is to approach the shoulder with enough lateral speed that when you hit the shoulder, you get enough lift to allow you to get your stern rail clear of the water on the outside for an instant… without carving or washing you off the wave on the shoulder. What it really means is that when you surf over to the shoulder, you hit the shoulder with enough speed to move upstream on it-(normally you’ll move downstream, as the shoulder tends not to be as steep as the rest of the wave) and in that instant where you’re moving upstream on the shoulder/lip/feature, you’ll find that you’ve got great speed and looseness- an opportunity to switch ends. As the name implies, you hit the feature you’re gonna blunt off of flat- mash into it in a way that gives you lift, and in your instant of lift, snap the boat around.

In order to free up your outside rail for a blunt, you need to come onto a feature (be it a ‘rib’ in the wave or it’s shoulder or whatever) with enough lateral speed that you generate some lift- enough to get your outside stern rail free on the outside for a moment. As the name suggests, you’re not carving up onto the feature- you’re splatting flat into it (in a ‘blunt’ manner) and using that moment of lift to spin the boat. (in this moment, the hull will be very loose.) Also important is the need to understand that if you carve into the feature, you won’t release your outside rail- instead you will slow down and move downstream on the shoulder.  If you hit the feature flat with your hull, you can use the elevated angle of the feature itself in order for it to work.

Blunt Step by step analysis

An important thing to think about is that unlike a spin, you’re not using the push of the water to initiate the rotation of the boat (although it can come into play if/when your end initiates into the greenwater)- you start it entirely with your own power. If you think about initiating your bow into the water, you’ll mush the move and wash off the wave. Think about spinning the boat and using the angle of the shoulder/blunting feature as the basis of your elevation.  Because this is a dynamic power move, it’s important to involve your body and weight aggressively in the process- and to do this, some dramatic articulation of your torso will be needed. As you ramp up on the feature, you should be leaning slightly downstream, and just before you reach that moment of lift, you want to begin to commit your weight aggressively upstream, towards where you will land when the boat comes around.  This weight shift, timed to occur at your moment of lift, along with a reverse sweep, is what it will take to pull this off.

…now it *is* possible to blunt without a shoulder or a feature- if you’re carving across a wave with speed and pull a strong cutback, you’ve in essence created a shoulder for yourself- the requisite is that you free up the outside stern rail, get some lift from the water under your hull, and in that instant of lift, swap the ends of the boat. If you don’t get that lift, you’ll likely bury the bow in the oncoming water and catch too much of it. Without a feature, elevating the blunt is difficult.

It should also be noted that if you can ollie your boat, (that is, hop the boat up and down using the oncoming water to bounce you clear of the water) you don’t need a shoulder either- just time a reverse sweep/smash stroke to occur just as your stern clears the water on your launch and wheel the boat in the air- this works on the same principle as the aerial blunt.

The aerial blunt

The aerial blunt is essentially the same move, only performed on a feature, like a rib in the wave or an exceptionally crisp shoulder, that allows you to get airborne.  Again, as your stern clears the edge, a sweep/smash stroke on the inside of the turn, along with an upstream weight commitment, will drive your rotation through.  (by the way, this move is fun! 😉

When blunting, keep in mind that the pivot point of the boat needs to be somewhere under your heels, or if it’s a backstab, behind your seat- this move will work much more reliably if you can commit your weight upstream, beyond your pivot point. Think of it as a dynamic spin on an elevated plane, rather than an end-initiation move… until you get it and can feel the difference- at which point, a blunt can be a great way to initiate into other vertical

TL:DR version

so… to do your blunt, start high on the pile or wave, cut down on the wave and into the trough to get speed, and splat into the shoulder in such a way that you hit it flat relative to it’s surface angle (you don’t want to engage edges into the feature, you’re after lift, not a carving turn) and with as much lateral speed as possible- you want to convert that lateral speed into a moment of lift, and do it in a way that this lift will clear your outside stern rail from the downflow of water. Use your moment of lift, along with a shift of your weight from downstream to upstream, to bring the boat around, and there you have it, blunting made easy. Also note tha blunts are not for the feint hearted, if you think you are not up to the task purchase some beach accessories and stay on the beach it will be much safer.