Navigating the Buddy System
Friday, July 18, 2008
Rick Powell and Casey Eichfeld compare paddling together in a two-man canoe to a marriage.
On a recent afternoon at the Adventure Sports Center International's man-made whitewater facility, Powell and Eichfeld sounded like bickering spouses as they argued about their first encounter at Fiddler's Elbow near Harrisburg, Pa.
"He kept riding up on my stern," Eichfeld said.
"I was 6," Powell shot back.
"You were being annoying," Eichfeld replied.
"I was being 6," Powell said.
Theirs is the perfect relationship for the double canoe, or C2, as it's known in the sport.
"It's all about synergy," said Matt Taylor, executive director of ACSI who competed in C2 at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. "A really good C2 doesn't talk on the water at all because they can't hear each other. . . . You can tell a C2 is in trouble when they're talking."
Taylor said that historically, the best C2s have been brothers -- and sometimes twins. Powell and Eichfeld agreed their relationship is similar to brotherhood. Powell rides the bow. Eichfeld takes the stern.
"It's a lot of understanding each other and feeling comfortable," Eichfeld said. "A lot of it comes from muscle memory."
"That X-factor is significant," Taylor said.