Learning to Hydroplane (Kate Charbonneau)

Coach Kate Charbonneau explains and demonstrates how to learn to hydroplane. Sometimes a hydroplane is referred to as a hydroblade, and this skill is a “fun show trick” that isn’t particularly difficult but requires practice. Kate begins by explaining how she performs a hydroblade on a left back inside edge with the body down and the right leg raised off the ice. To begin learning this skill, Kate uses a “high” position where the hips are well away from the ice and the hands are down on the ice. She enters from back crossovers and she says, “When you enter the hydoplane you’re going to take one really long, really deep crossover and just let that cross under be really exaggerated.” She demonstrates this initial version.

As a skater becomes more comfortable with this position, it’s natural to push the hips lower and lower. At this point, the upper body often becomes the limiting factor, so Kate recommends using two cones, one in each hand, to keep the hands well off the ice. She says, “I find trying to bring your chest so close to the ice can be very intimidating and having the cones there can really help you support yourself and get the hips lower.” The cones are also a great way to build awareness of the required upper body position. For Kate this means keeping the right shoulder well back, and keeping the right side open and checked.

Moving to the full hydroplane, Kate notes that it takes practice to master the position and build the necessary trust. After demonstrating the full hydroplane, she discusses a number of helpful details, including arm variations, free foot and leg position with contact points, upper body position and strength, and finger tip usage (similar to yoga crow pose).  Kate acknowledges that most skaters need to experiment a bit to get comfortable with this skill, and she recommends using video to provide feedback.


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