Topic-icon Should ocean skis have a "spec"?

5 months 1 week ago #28104 by Scode
Just wondering what people think regarding should ocean skis for racing be made to a specification? With the ICF now getting involved in races do you think there will be a push to standardise skis? Or should manufactures be left to decide the direction of future designs based on what is fastest.

Personally I would like to see only a couple of specs introduced - Max length of 6 meters (so as to fit into a 20ft container) and minimum weight of 12kgs. I think there is still plenty of room for innovation unlike the "spec skis" in surf life saving which are very stringent with their requirements.

The growth in SUP competition has mainly been in the 14ft category and not the unlimited and if Im not mistaken all ICF categories have a spec they must meet to enter races. Would having a spec or class help drive increased participation into the future?

Just wondering what others think.

Cheers

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5 months 1 week ago #28105 by downwinda
My vote is for no specs.....any size any weight.

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5 months 1 week ago #28107 by supsherpa
The only thing the SUP classes pertain to length. Width and weight have no restrictions.

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5 months 1 week ago #28108 by RedBack
I'd vote no. Thin edge of the wedge.

Once a basic "spec" is mandated it invariably gets more prescriptive with future iterations and that only serves to stifle innovation.

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5 months 1 week ago #28109 by AR_convert
There's two schools of thought here.

1) By having a spec, you potentially even the playing field and reduce the cost of production of skis.

2) By not having a spec you have ongoing innovation, experimentation with design and materials used, but you run the risk of the lightest fastest boats only being in the hands of those who can afford them.

I've already seen some super lightweight skis provided to pro's for big events that are not available off the regular production line.

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Supersonic K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)

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5 months 1 week ago #28123 by downwinda
As someone who primarily paddles outrigger and occasionally paddles surfski, I can say that the outrigger market is really driven by weight. Lighter canoes mean more sales.

This has led to there only being one large (Kamanu) and a couple smaller (Kai Wa'a, Tiger Canoes) operations building boats in Hawaii. This number is down from over a half dozen a mere 5 or 6 years ago.

Most of the others manufacturers have outsourced to China (Outrigger Zone)where they have access to the refrigerated pre-preg that is needed to produce the ultra light canoes. At this time they are making canoes weighing (fully rigged) about 22 lbs that are selling in the US for $4,300. They just added a "pro model" weighing (fully rigged) 19 lbs for somewhere north of $5,000.

Furthermore, when I asked a manufacturer why they didn't put in adjustable footwells, they said it was a weight issue.

What does this all mean? To me it means that not having spec rules can go off in tangents, and in the case of outriggers, the tangent it took is weight driven! There are a lot of great shapes out there, but if you have a great canoe that weighs in at 26 plus pounds rigged, it won't sell in the Hawaii/US market.

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5 months 1 week ago #28125 by zachhandler
Specs seem like a bad idea and not at all needed. Skis have effectively already reached an unofficial spec of 21'x17". Longer gets slower and narrower wont fit an ass unless the seat is way high and then it is unstable. So there is no need for a dimensional spec.

I understand the weight argument, but this is not sprint racing where all variables are wiped away and 1/1000 of a second decides a race. It is also not the case that the lightest carbon skis in the world (raced by the pros) are falling apart in the waves, so it is not a safety thing.

One cool thing about ocean ski in comparison to other paddle sports is the complete lack of spec. Race whatever the hell you want. That means that we are getting downwind the fastest way possible under human power. Period. Spec adds complexity to boat design process, forces racers to buy new skis that fit spec, stiffles innovation, is a headache to enforce, and just detracts from the beautiful simplicity of the sport.

This is not an issue of economic equality either. A top carbon ski costs twice what the same ski in glass costs. That is nothing compared to other sports. This is not cycling where a top race bike costs 10-20x what an entry level one costs.

The performance advantage of a light ski is not that big. I did the math once with some formulas for rowing hulls, and calculated that in a flatwater race upgrading from black to red paint on an epic ski saves about 15 seconds an hour.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this is not a sport where faster equipment makes anyone paddle faster. Faster tippier boats make almost everyone but the pros paddle slower, because few of us mortals have the skills to handle them. The pros do not go faster because they paddle faster boats so much as they paddle faster boats because the have the skillset to handle them. So if you can gain an advantage in a faster tippier boat, then that is the opposite of an unfair advantage; it is a well earned advantage that is the result of many years of passionate training.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Steve Hansen

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5 months 1 week ago #28128 by Scode
All very good thoughts and the consensus would seem to be 'NO SPECS". I think it wont be long before the pros are turning up at races with multiple boats to suit the prevailing conditions.

Just regarding innovation and downwind paddling - how much do you think the top end boats (ie fastest boats) have come in the last 20 years? When you consider that the Molokai record is 20 years old this year and that the boat it was set on was 5.9m x 47cm and around 15kg I would say the advances in the faster end of the spectrum haven't been that great. Oscar said he set some of his fastest times on his old Chalupski.
Yes, I know conditions play a massive part in this sort of record but Im sure there have been crazy good conditions since and you would think this record would've been beaten by now.

Obviously the hull designs for the intermediate and beginners have changed and advanced for the betterment of the sport over this period.

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5 months 6 days ago #28145 by photofr
I remember having a lot of fun in the late 80's with "normal" ski lengths. Something happened and more skis came out in the 660cm length. I am not sure why, because to date, not a single person has been able to prove that longer skis are indeed faster in proper Open Water environment.

Basically: I am a partisan for "normal" length skis. I have once more totally fallen in love with Ocean paddling - since the arrival of the Nelo 560.

They are super fun, super fast, and I still manage my best time in rough conditions (32k course) and hands down faster on totally flat water (so easy to compare).

NO MATTER HOW MUCH I LOVE shorter skis, I never want to see the sport challenged with any sort of restrictions in length, weight, width, or anything else.

Those wanting restrictions: you may want to change sport and lean towards K1 Flat water, windsurfing, or SUP. As mentioned above, it's a sure way to put a stop to innovation and advancement.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)
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5 months 6 days ago #28155 by photofr
A blue sky made not always be "what it appears" - there could be a hidden storm waiting to hit.

A ski going straight isn't necessarily going to be a ski arriving at its final destination in pole position.

Speed 101 doesn't always take into account that a shorter and more maneuverable ski will stay on a wave a lot longer than the 8-meter long ski. You can paddle all you want, but there is no way you'll ever be faster than some dude surfing a wave. Basically, don't be fooled by "speed 101" because there are a lot of criteria involved in Open Ocean - and that's the beauty of making sure we try different things to prove ourselves right or wrong.

I just feel that true evolution cannot be achieved with limitations on specs.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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5 months 6 days ago #28156 by zachhandler
Yogaventure - you are talking about yaw when a boat pivots with each stroke. Longer boats yaw less, but yaw is only part of what governs the speed of a hull. I believe that wave generation and surface friction are the most important factors governing hull speed in surfski. With increases in length surface friction increases and wave generation decreases. At low speeds surface friction is the dominant force and at high speed wave generation is more important. Therefore at low speed a short boat is more efficient than a long one while at high speed a long boat is more efficient. Adding more weight to a hull, i.e. A heavier paddler, increases wave generation more than surface friction, so heavier paddlers do better in a longer hull, as longer hulls generate less waves.

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5 months 6 days ago #28157 by photofr
I beg to COMPLETELY differ.

Surfskis are primarily designed for Open Ocean paddling. This includes catching ocean waves (swells), and lab rats are still scratching their heads as to why "speed 101" isn't working as planned. Fact: a longer ski has some advantages, but those same advantages have a really hard time comparing with the HUGE advantages that a highly maneuverable ski offers in true downwind conditions.

But even on flat water, where it's very easy to measure and compare: you can expect to be faster on a well designed shorter ski. I weigh "nothing" and have experienced an average of 9% increase in speed from a longer ski to a shorter ski. Others who weigh nearly twice as much as myself have experienced surprising differences as well - with a SHORTER ski.

Don't take my words for it: go for it!
Try a shorter ski, time yourself on flat water.
Take a longer ski, time yourself on the same body of water on the same day.
Repeat to ensure accuracy with fatigue.

You might be different, but the probability that you come up with something other than faster speeds with a well designed shorter ski are pretty slim (judging from the shear number of people who have actually tried that).

Your info is most likely based on US Naval studies conducted between 1950 and 1970. In the late 90's, couple of other studies were conducted, proving that a ski between 555 and 580cm would be nearly ideal for people between 60 kilos and 110 kilos. 580cm is a long LONG ways from 655cm, but okay: that's just theoretical studies.

Take that, apply it in real life and surfskis and you get:
A Molokai Channel race, with fewer longer skis making "record" speeds across 52km of Open Ocean Paddling.

Bottom line: I could be 100% wrong - but the beauty in all of this is that WITHOUT ANY RESTRICTION, you are now able to find a ski that would suit your imagination (nearly 7 meters long) and I will find a ski that will suit my needs (always less than 5.8 meters long).

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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5 months 5 days ago #28158 by zachhandler
Don't worry ludovic nobody is disparaging your nelo. I know it is the best thing since the epic v10GT;) I am just explaining to yogaventure, in general terms, the factors that govern hull speed. I am not listing any ideal boat lengths.

Yogaventure's point about yaw is actually very interesting though and rarely discussed. I don't think that the usual models of hullspeed likely account for the fact that the paddle is offset from the midline of the boat and therefore exerts a rotational force.

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5 months 4 days ago #28168 by zachhandler
Ha ha your ideas are plenty smart. More "V" and more rudder will both reduce yaw but the trade off is more drag because there is more surface are being dragged through the water.

I know nothing about boat wax but some swear by it.

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5 months 4 days ago #28176 by Uffilation
"what is wrong with you Europeans? I cant carry a kayak on top of a car. that law would last a week in usa. but you Europeans don't even try to get a variation exception to the law from your lawmakers? sales numbers of kayaks in europe must really suck do this regulation

Nope, big Kayak industry, some world leaders, many sales, many paddlers,
see here on your other alternative facts regarding kayak transport in Europe:

www.surfski.info/forum/1-general/18889-w...-ski-mean.html#28175

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5 months 4 days ago #28179 by photofr

yogavnture wrote: what is wrong with you Europeans? I cant carry a kayak on top of a car. that law would last a week in usa. but you Europeans don't even try to get a variation exception to the law from your lawmakers? sales numbers of kayaks in europe must really suck do this regulation


@YOGA:
I am sitting here, in France, laughing.

First, I agree that rules in Europe are (at best) sketchy (I know... there's a word we haven't seen in a while).

Second, I also agree that as a general rule, most European countries have laws that I don't particularly like - but I could sit here and tell you the same thing about American laws.

Third, we cannot always generalize - for instance, France is part of Europe, and France gives you a lot more freedom regarding surfski transport atop cars.

Here's a funny one:
Italy has some of the strictest laws I have ever seen, but at least people know the laws. The US, on the other hand, also has somewhat strict laws regarding transporting surfskis.

US LAWS
Don't be so quick at making fun of Europe, and please do not include ALL other European countries when referring to your difficulties with Italian laws.

Height:
Objects may not be more than 4.3 meters in height (from the ground).
France (a EU country has no limits on the height of your load).

Front:
Object cannot exceed 0.91 meter past the front bumper.

Rear:
Object cannot exceed 1.22 meter past the rear bumper.
If your car is a Toyota AYGO (3.5 meters in length), your max ski length will be 0.91+3.55+1.22 (or 5.68 meters long for the ski).

Markings:
The end of your load must be marked with a yellow or red flag / cloth - measuring at least 450mm x 450mm - during the day.
At night, lighting must be used, visible from at least 200 meters!!!!!

Federal Level:
To my knowledge, a single norm doesn't exist, so you have to know your state's law.

Who knows?
Good luck - because finding US Laws on "Rear overhanging from your vehicle" is at best, a crazy task.


THE UK
In the UK, if your surfski exceeds more than 3 meters of the total length of your car, you must:
- Give 2-working days notice to the Police
- Have an attendant
- Marker boards are required

Basically, even in the UK, if you are driving a Toyota AYGO and have a surfski measuring 6.55 meters, you will need to call the Police before going on your next downwind run.

FRANCE
To the best of my knowledge, France is only super strict with "nothing should go in front of your front bumper".

Length:
Objects can overhang by no more than 3 meters from the rear of your rear bumper.

Signage:
Reflectors at the rear and lights for night driving.

Example:
If your car is a Toyota AYGO (3.5 meters in length), your max ski length will be 3.5+3 (or 6.5 meters long for the ski).

I can attest that French aren't too picky - just as long as you do not have anything overhanging up front!!!

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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5 months 4 days ago - 5 months 4 days ago #28181 by Uffilation
US-law
"Object cannot exceed 1.22 meter past the rear bumper."
Well "depending on state" lol, it could with a special permission or red flag at the rear?

Anyway, is that with or without an opened beverage container on the back seat and can one do a mile above 55mph for each inch one saves on that length?

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5 months 3 days ago - 5 months 3 days ago #28201 by Uffilation

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5 months 3 days ago #28205 by Spacehopper
Crikey, that all went a bit off-piste...

Back to the original thread - specs work in just about every other kit sport, and just about every other kit sport is both more popular and more innovative than kayaking...

It been a repeated pattern in sailing that those classes with minimal rules quickly get driven into the expensive, difficult to handle, breakable and just generally unpopular corner. And once the class drops in popularity, then those running it end up a self-selecting group of people who like the elitism of their little corner...

Most motorsports and cycling have restrictive rule sets, and they manage plenty of innovation.

With no weight limit it's almost impossible for a home-builder to build down to the weights achieved by the big manufacturers. It also increases price, reduces safety and durability, and makes boats relatively harder to handle. Ironically if boats were built more heavily and simply then there would be more chance of innovation.

My starting point would be:

- Min weight 12-13kg
- A Max length (with an eye to fitting in with laws on car-topping and garage size - quite hard to find a 18ft+ long garage in the UK...)
- Minimum waterline beam at 2 points on the hull (eg 1/3rd and 2/3rds of overall length).
- Everything on the boat should be accessible without tools (mostly thinking the steering system here).

The above would not stifle innovation and it's not as if the rules can't be amended as new technologies become available (if there is sensible governance of the sport...oh I forgot, this is surfski... ;) ) - however any rule changes should always be viewed through the prism of:

- does it make things cheaper/more expensive
- does it make things easier/harder to use
- does a new technology improve the experience/desirability so much that it is worth it being more expensive/harder (very rare...)

Arguably the only measurably successful innovation in surski in recent years has been the advent of the entry level boats and the increase in participation they bring (perhaps almost singlehandedly down to Oscar?).

In terms of elite competition, there are so few elite ski paddlers that the results probably have more to do with differences between the paddlers than the boats.

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5 months 2 days ago #28221 by Impala
In sailing or motorsports, specs make sense because the objects are way higher powered than a kayak with this pitily weak human being inside, and also there is no limit to the power because it is external (wind or motor).

In kayaking, by contrast, and particularly in surfski, extremely delicate constructions simply do not pay off. Because human power is the limiting factor. It is similar with biking which also does not need lots of regulations re constuction.

I enjoy the freedom you have in surfski construction to find an optimal solution for more and more skill levels. I design skis myself ... but in case they would introduce classes, I would stop to do so.

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