× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

Topic-icon Not quite straight

1 week 2 days ago #28990 by Heald
Hi all. Looking for some advice. I have recently started paddling, moving from cycling, and have moved from an entry level multisport kayak to a Stellar SEI Advantage. I am 180cm and 105 kg. I mainly paddle in flat water, but often with some small wind chop. Once I get the reount mastered, I will venture a litttle more offfshore and get a bit more adventurous.

I am getting used to the skinny boat, but I am struggling to paddle it so that it sits truly vertical in the water. I almost always have the top of the boat at about 3 minutes to 12 o'clock,off to the left, as though I am sitting heavier on my left side heavier than my right. Although I am Right handed, I feel much more natural paddle stroke is on my left side.

If I suck my guts in, and sit up and forward, I can get the ski to sit vertical at 12 o'clock, but struggle to lean it to the right.

So, should I try and put a bit of padding around me to pack the ski to the "correct" position, or is it a flexibility issue.

Ross

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1 week 2 days ago #28991 by Rod Thomas
You'll probably get lots of good advice. I had the same problem as you when I started and it is a very uncomfortable sensation. Think of your paddle in the water as a support, like a walking stick. Don't pull your hand back, push it down and rotate your body around it

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1 week 2 days ago #28993 by kwolfe
i wouldn't think being comfortable with your left hand is that unusual because remember, your hands are working in tandem. You might like having you top (right) hand lead as your left hand does the grunt work.
As for the imbalance, it might be that your blades don't track equally on either side of the ski which would throw the boat off center. Try to work on getting your stroke even and symmetrical at the catch and exit. That might really help. It's funny but I think so much of learning any sport is self awareness. If you can get a good mental picture of what you body is doing, that is a great first step.

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1 week 2 days ago #28995 by wesley
Have someone take a 30 second video of you from the side, Back and front so you can see what you are doing. Nothing is more helpful than video. Then have a knowledgeable paddler critique it. Better yet take lesson with instructor and have them video you. The 90 seconds will decrease your learning curve. You may/may not be able to get the perfect stroke but atleast you will know what you should be doing. Then check out a top paddlers stroke: Sean Rice, Michele Eray who have a very symmetrical stroke and others to get that visual imagine of a great stroke. Watch that video over and over of them. So at least when have a visual imagine to work on. Time in bucket, instruction are key and then you may still have an imperfect stroke but you will at least have a better stroke! Video, Video!!

Wesley Echols
Former Stellar Kayaks and Surfskis, Performance Director, USA ,
SurfskiRacing.com, #1 in Surfski Reviews.
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1 week 2 days ago #28996 by Fath2o
Heald, congradulations on getting into surfskis and your new boat. I have to say, at the risk of being rude. IMO the SEI is probably to advanced for you. That being said, you may want to take a real close look at your ski.
I purchased a new Fenn elite and had the same problem. At first I thought is was me. I placed the ski in calm water and saw it had a distinct list to one side. The ski was absolutely defective. I tried, unsuccessfully, to counter balance the opposite side. I know some one else that had the same problem with a Mako 6.
Anyway, good luck with your journey
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1 week 2 days ago #28999 by WingSuit
If you mount a Go Pro or similar camera on your boat (facing you, of course) you'll learn a lot about asymetrics. Or try a Motionize.

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1 week 2 days ago #29000 by LakeMan
As a newbee to skis and paddling an elite version I find looking at a distant object instead of the ski works wonders. It's better to go by feeling the boat instead of by looking at it.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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1 week 2 days ago #29001 by Kiwi Dave
Plenty of good advice already to mull over but don't neglect the pressure your heels / feet have on the foot plate. This can absolutely alter your 'roly poly centre' <--- technical term
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1 week 2 days ago #29002 by Ranga
Stability, stability and more stability. As mentioned before, learn to paddle before you try to race, like crawling before walking.
Well you say you are not racing! Then why have a racing elite ski?
All you are going to do is learn bad habits that you will find impossible to undo later, or more end up giving up because it is all too hard.

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1 week 2 days ago #29003 by coastbouy
perhaps the issue is your body, most likely your hips? We are not entirely perfectly even!. By the way how do you figure that you are 3 minutes from 12.00?

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1 week 2 days ago #29004 by nell
My guess - and you gave it away in your comments by saying that you have a weaker stroke on your right - is that you have a weaker brace on your right side, too. This has caused you to list to the left in your tippy ski so that if and when you fall out, you'll fall out to the side where your brace is better.

Try to lean the ski way to the right and find that point where it almost tips over. Then learn to paddle for 10, 20, 50 etc strokes with the ski leaning hard to the right. Work on your right side braces, too. Before long, your brain will allow you to bring that ski back upright.
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1 week 2 days ago #29005 by RedBack
Hi Heald, - welcome to the paddling fraternity!

From what you've described, I suspect you may have a small degree of spinal curvature, - probably in your lumbar region.

The fact that your boat rights itself when you sit up and lean forward, indicates that recruiting your core corrects the problem, so it sounds like something that could be fixed easily with the advice of a physio and a few exercises.

Something as small as slightly tight hamstring on one side, can pull your spine out of alignment when seated in a ski.

Remember that when you're seated in the ski, your back should be straight, but you should lean forward from the hips at 5 - 10 degrees.

Many cyclists who transition to surf skis find they need to do quite a lot of hamstring stretches to get their posture correct in the boat.

As Wesley said, get an experienced coach to have a look at your technique and posture. They should be able to identify the issue within a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
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