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There are four kinds of hops worth discussing. The first is the delicious female flower, also known as the seed cone or if your Peter Cundel, “The Strobites of the Humulus Lupulus species.”
This type of hops is the one that gives the 18 and older people amongst us a tangy bitterness they enjoy when indulging at the pub with a beer. Interestingly this first type of the hops will only increase the likely hood of failing on the other three hops and the fact is that it’s better to just use this hops when embellishing a story one tells their friends about their other hops.
The second type of hops is for when you are little and are inventing new means of movement and is perhaps the least useful means of travel next to skipping though it’s fun to watch my niece and nephew try and it’s worth noting that even this hop is very hard after the hips discussed previously
Lastly, as a barefooter we come to the only two forms of hops worth discussing at length and wonder why we wasted so much time on the above. The “backwards” and “forwards” hops. Both easy enough in their own right but both come with a chance of a real mind-bending head whack. So I must caution, start small and if at any stage you feel a crash is imminent, let go. The boat crew will think your soft but you won/t have the headache that comes after a good session on the hops.
The Forward Hops.
The first of the hops and the by far the easier of the two, is best learnt on a bar and with flat water. Keep your regular speed and aim to jump very small at first and work your way up.
The Back Hop
Similar to the first with more of a backwards element to its direction, the back hop is both harder to do, and for the barefoot tournament competitors out there, harder to get paid for. A lesson I learnt at 1996 nationals when my back hop was knocked because I didn’t clear the water enough when I jumped. Twice.
Well there you go, have fun with these two. They are fun, impressive and you can throw them in your run for some quick points. Just remember to start small. For your first attempt try to jump a lego block, then work your way up to a matchbox car and eventually a tonka truck (maybe I have spent too much time with my niece and nephew) because if you go too hard too early you will end up no different if you go too hard too early on the first type of hops, a big mess with a headache. So be patient and be sure to enjoy your hops, No doubt you’ve earned them.