Essential Surf Ski Skills - The Remount

Saturday, 02 June 2007 15:47 | Written by  Rob Mousley/Alain Jaques
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ImageRemounting your ski is an essential skill.  Fall off in cold water offshore - you need to get back on that ski immediately before you get cold.  Fall off in the surf zone - you need to get back on fast before the next set comes in.

And yet, how to remount is one of the commonest questions - especially from beginners.  What's the "straddle" method?  How does it differ from the "sidesaddle" method? 

Here are some answers...

Straddle

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The straddle remount is generally faster - which is good when you're going out through surf and a 6ft set is forming in front of you; it's also easier with some skis (especially those with narrow, deep buckets like the Fenn Millennium).

How to do it. 

Important: Turn the ski so that it's pointing into the wind and waves.  (This is almost impossible in strong wind though.  Just make sure you're upwind of the ski.)

Grip your paddle and the foot strap with one hand; the far rail of the cockpit with the other.

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Boost yourself out of the water onto the ski and swivel yourself so that you're lying face down diagonally across the cockpit.

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Now swing your leg across the ski 

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And push your upper body up, swiveling your butt into the seat as you do so.  This is the most critical point and where you're most likely to fall off again. 

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Grab the paddle with both hands.  Now you're stable - you can take your time before bringing your legs into the cockpit.

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Pull your legs in - you're controlling your balance with your paddle. 

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And you're off.  With practice, this takes a matter of seconds.

Sidesaddle

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In extreme conditions the wind tends to blow the ski sideways - and if you can't hold its nose into the wind, the straddle method can become very difficult.

In this situation, the sidesaddle method can be much easier. 

How do to it.

Let the ski drift sideways at right-angles to the wind. 

Important: Move to the upwind side of the ski. 

Grab the footstrap and paddle with one hand; the far rail of the cockpit with the other.  Boost yourself up onto the ski. 

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In contrast to the straddle method, as you get onto the ski, swivel your butt into the seat, leaving both feet hanging over the windward side of the ski. 

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Now you're in a good situation - the ski is moving sideways downwind, dragging your feet in the water on the windward side.  You're completely stable and you can sit there as long as you like. 

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Now bring your feet in - this is trickiest part because you're generally sitting to one side of the ski and you need to get your butt into the center of the seat.

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Both feet in... and away you go. 

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Some people also find the sidesaddle method easier with single-footwell skis.

Practise

Both methods have their place - but neither is easy unless you practise.  Find some warm water and practise both methods until you're confident that you've mastered the techniques. 

It's also important to practise while wearing the gear that you use in extreme conditions, like your PFD fully loaded with cell phones/radios and whatever else you take.

 

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