SIDE CHOP

6 years 5 months ago #20459 by Abel
SIDE CHOP was created by Abel
I see a lot of video online for going downwind. I would love to see a video for the technique on handling strong broad side chop and/or strong wind.

The reason I ask is that one day I had to go broad side to the wind and waves with my V10 sport (old hull style) and I kept on tipping over. I figured out I had to lean myself into the strong side of the wave to stay upright. I figured that out because I kept on rolling over on the weak side of the of waves. I had to severely limit my hip/torso rotation to accomplish this.


I would like to see the proper technique for this. If not a video, at least can someone explain to me how to do this.

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6 years 5 months ago - 6 years 5 months ago #20460 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic SIDE CHOP
How? Practice ...

It depends on the wave shape, the ski stability, and your technique. Once you get in an unstable enough ski paddling parallel to steep enough wind chop, you will be destabilized enough that if you do nothing, you will fall off. This point comes early for new paddlers, later for more experienced ones with better balance. A more stable boat also lets you handle more side chop without the need to brace or waste part of your stroke on stability. But, you always reach this point of instability, no matter what, if you paddle in interesting conditions. This is the point where you have to do something or you flip. Here, your bracing ability will help you - if you can have power to spare and use some of it as a bracing component in your forward stroke, you will appear to the untrained eye from the side that you are just paddling. In reality, part of your effort will be to stabilize yourself with your stroke.

The previous gen V10 Sport felt great to me downwind, while across the same waves I felt unstable. I did not fall often from it, but I slowed down a lot. Practice improved that, but I never mastered it enough to enjoy it sideways in steep wind chop with white caps. A more stable ski or kayak makes it better.

I just try to take opportunities to paddle parallel to waves when I get a chance. Or go paddle in river currents (mild white water) with the ski. The unpredictability of moving water (waves and currents) are a good balance aid.

A class/lesson might help you develop your bracing stroke quicker.

I'm still ways off from being comfortable in side chop on my new Epic V10, so I just grab the Think Eze for days when I anticipate rougher conditions with short period steep wind waves - might as well enjoy the chop rather than struggle in it with the longer and less stable ski

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6 years 4 months ago #20473 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic SIDE CHOP
Practice in smaller side chop. I include intermittent figure of eights and/or side on legs in every paddle as a way of catching my breath and practicing balance.

I find leaning consistently upwind doesn't work for the whole leg because there is usually a wave with a steep back that passes you then tips you over upwind. So I lean upwind, but only sort of mostly.

Keep your hips as loose and wiggly as possible (doing a little hip shimmy to remind yourself of the feeling before you embark on the sideways bit helps, like practicing torso rotations) and concentrate on keeping your head stable. KEEP PADDLING. I used to try higher cadence to keep the paddle in contact with the water more frequently. The trouble with that was more "fresh air shots" which is an excellent way of falling in. Now I concentrate more on trying to keep some sort of rhythm while getting my blade on top of or over waves. If there is a trough where the next stroke is going, I try to get at least some paddle in the water to maintain rhythm and momentum.

Anyway, you will find what works for you by practicing in smaller stuff.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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6 years 4 months ago #20478 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic SIDE CHOP
Nothing but time in the seat and paddling in those conditions will help. Get out there and enjoy the ride!

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6 years 4 months ago #20479 by SteveT
Replied by SteveT on topic SIDE CHOP
6 months ago I was in the same situation and yes all the suggestions below worked, but I also found focusing on my technique in flat water made me much more stable in the chop. I was inclined to drop my hands and take short wide strokes in an effort to brace and all this did was make things worse, as my paddle often went past my hip and got caught behind me and this resulted in a swim every time.

I found keeping my hands shoulder height, driving with my legs, leaning forward a bit, spearing the paddle at my feet, rotating and allowing the paddle to follow its natural path out to the side, exiting before the hips gave me all the bracing I needed. That way if you need to lean on the paddle it provides a solid support without stopping your stroke.

After a while I found the boat just lifted up over the swell and I was'nt even thinking about it. Good luck and like the others say keep at it, it does get easier

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6 years 4 months ago #20510 by Cryder
Replied by Cryder on topic SIDE CHOP
Recommend some time on the Swiss ball... If you get a ball, practice sitting on top and find your CG in your hips, then lift your hands fore and aft with your heels barely touching the ground. As you do this more, slowly bring your feet higher. Sometimes a broomstick helps with the stroke sim. I do this with leg drive / hip rotation as well. The goal being to strengthen your core, and isolate your technique weak spots while building muscle memory so that you don't think about technique in condititions, you just do it.

One other tip I didn't see above; try to plant your paddle into the meat of the wave coming beam and use your core training to recenter the boat underneath you as you to take the stroke and use leg drive. Time your cadence to always find the peak of the waves (the "meaty" part) on either side of the boat. Do it enough and you'll get in the zone. You know you've been in the zone when you sit down and close your eyes after a hard session and your mind will feel the waves. Pretty addictive actually.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ric

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6 years 4 months ago #20520 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic SIDE CHOP

Cryder wrote: try to plant your paddle into the meat of the wave coming beam and use your core training to recenter the boat underneath you as you to take the stroke and use leg drive. Time your cadence to always find the peak of the waves (the "meaty" part) on either side of the boat. Do it enough and you'll get in the zone.


Cryder beat me to it - that was the advice I was going to give. It was the best tip I received 2yrs ago from my paddling group.

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