Windy Squares

This was a training session we paddled at Broadford on the Isle of Skye as we waited for a gap in the weather for my Skye Circumnav attempt in 2021.

As the wind was determined not to give us a break, we thought we might as well get into the spirit of things – it was time for Scottish (Windy) Squares.

I like this session, it brings extra facets into a simple session:

Physical – it’s an interval session after all.

Technical – holding the lines in open water and making accurate turns throughout the wind.

Technique – matching the stroke rate and stroke technique to each of the different legs and keeping the boat ‘free’ across wind. As the wind varies though 4 different angles.

Awareness – watching the drift and keeping the lines ‘square-on’ (ish)
And all with free coaching from the wind throughout.


The Intervals were 2′ hard – 3′ easy – broken into 1′ sides i.e. a 90 degree turn every minute.
If you work to an odd number of sides per rep, each hard effort is exposed to all different angles of the wind by sess end.


This was a ‘trailing squares’ sess – working directly ‘across sea’ to expose the boat square-on across the conditions. Hence each square will fall downwind.
Static Squares puts a ‘wind ferry angle’ in so the squares stay roughly in the same area – you can play with a little jiggery-pokery on side lengths too to get it completely static if you want a little more thinking.
You can also rotate the square through 45 degrees to work with the sea from each quarter instead.

Windy Squares – turning a slog into a bit of technical fun.

John Willacy