Surfski Innovation

6 years 3 months ago - 6 years 3 months ago #24407 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Surfski Innovation
The other area of improvement not mentioned in this thread is the actual manufacturing processes.

This will continue to evolve along with some hull design changes. Quality manufacturing is constant focus within the Stellar brand that is evident in our finished surfskis, K'1s, sea kayaks and rec kayaks. Wesley Echols, Stellar Performance Director, USA.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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6 years 3 months ago #24408 by Spacehopper
Replied by Spacehopper on topic Surfski Innovation
Whoah Ric,

you seem to be imagining I'm suggesting some 'one world government' of surfski, mandating the destruction of all skinny skis, burning copies of 'surfski with the pros' in the street and banning all mention of boats with a beam of less than 50cm... :evil:

The idea that there would/can only be one set of rules is a curious view (and a particularly kayaking one I suspect). In sailing or motorsport each class/division/whatever has its own building rules, completely different to the rules that actually govern conduct on the course.

I'm simply suggesting that either one design or a 'stable ski class' that would be additional to the present skinny boats. Rather than being seen only as a transition step to a 'proper' ski, they could be an end in themselves. Which, for many without the skills, the time to practice, enough money to justify a pure raceboat or easy access to the sea, might just be an appealing prospect.

I completely agree with you that the top guys will come out on top whatever, it's the same in any sport, the athlete provides the 'added value'. That's equally an argument for using matched kit - it doesn't matter either way. I'd also agree that this matched kit can often seem more 'agricultural', however it's usually more than fun enough for most. Lasers (the original one-design factory produced dinghy) are widely reviled for their crude rudder/sails/masts etc., but 200,000 built and still going strong suggests they still give a lot of people a good time.

As for it being bad for the sport, well it depends how you measure success. If you see it only as some 'worthiness' exercise for a small in-crowd then maybe.

I'd propose that increasing participation at all levels by making what is a great sport more accessible would be a better measure of success.

And it's here I think that the alarm bells should start ringing...

I'd be surprised if surfski tops 10, maybe 20'000 participants worldwide (and the significant growth has, probably, only come since the advent of the stable boats). Consider that sailing in the US attracts well over 1 million (and used to closer to 7 million in the '80s) or that there are individual races in the UK that draw 16000+. Surfski in it's present form hardly looks like a participation success.

And yet...

Anyone who can sit in a kayak is theoretically a potential kayak racer.

And yet...

Kayaking as a recreational activity has never been more popular.

Surfski is pushing at an open door (the boats sell themselves and most people experience kayaking first through a sit-on-top) if it could just grasp the opportunity. That might mean letting go of the Run DMC defence: "It's like that and that's the way it is..."
Maybe there's something in that accessible equipment idea. :blink:
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ric

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6 years 3 months ago - 6 years 3 months ago #24409 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Surfski Innovation
Aha! I understand.

Interestingly our local Sea Dog races recently introduced a short class for boats under a certain length.

Spec skis allowed, XTs etc, Knysna Genius CLK, V8...

1st place in that category gets a prize, even though they are often way down the order.

(so we already have your suggestion in play, and yet I still somehow managed to misunderstand and argue against it?!? :S )

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6 years 3 months ago #24410 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic Surfski Innovation
Flat water paddling races typically have several class divisions to encourage paddlers of different skill levels/boat types to compete. This generally works pretty well, with the added advantage of knowing that those competing in Sea Kayak classes (typically V8/S18S type skis included) aren't competing against former Olympians like they would be in K1 Open/Unlimited classes (which allow essentially any boat). Unless you write in specific boats, though, you'll still have those who try to find loopholes in the rules (like running ICF trainers in "sea kayak" classes because they can fit in the dimensional specs). Open water racing is probably a bit more "self policing" in that an ICF trainer isn't going to work well against V8's and S18S's in big waves! At any rate, an open-water class for stable skis sounds like a good addition to those races that don't already have separate classes.

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6 years 3 months ago #24411 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Surfski Innovation
Can't remember the last time I raced, just paddle for fun.
Of my three surfski's, my old XT gets the most use. Just too much fun
for downwinds and in the surf. Especially when water temps up (wet boat).
No doubt I'm faster in intermediate ski on bumpy ocean than elite ski.
Have to agree that too much emphasis seems to get placed on speed and race results than just having fun and getting exercise. But, that being said, there sure are a lot of great new beginner/intermediate skis out there. Nice to see!
And yeah, love the idea of lighter and stronger.
There's always room for a little improvement, but, is it really necessary? Today's surfski's are "PRETTY RAD DUDES".

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6 years 3 months ago #24413 by Spacehopper
Replied by Spacehopper on topic Surfski Innovation

Flat water paddling races typically have several class divisions to encourage paddlers of different skill levels/boat types to compete.


Yeah, I really like what you guys seem to do in the US. Though as you say, there are always 'bandits'!

At present we largely just run age/sex divisions for the 'official' UK series, but with the addition of OC1 & 6 classes at some events. However, quite a number of new independent events have sprung up and these have skis and sea kayaks racing together.

This underlines the confusion that surfski has about where it fits in. Officially surfski is administered by ICF (last ski news update on their website...2005...) but, in the UK, we're still governed by Surf Life Saving rather than British Canoeing (or whatever it's called this week...).

The point about not having to compete against ex (or present) Olympians is interesting. Sailing has it's 'curse of the Olympics' where any class that becomes an Olympic event sees a huge fall in participation. While it's cool to race head to head with the top guys occasionally, getting your backside kicked, week in week out, by funded, full time athletes gets old for most people pretty quickly.

Allowing people to be a big fish in a small (if not that important) pond helps in motivating people to come to events.

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6 years 3 months ago #24516 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic Surfski Innovation
Back in the days (30 years ago to be exact), surfskis were in fact simpler:
No bungies
No adjustable footwell
No handles
No bailers
Yeah, I know… I'll be the first to admit that the new bailer is pretty nice - and even works really well, but my point is that I didn't need any bailer when my footwell wasn't adjustable. Of course, being adjustable allows everyone else to try my ski, so there lies a catch 22.

In the same way, the steering is pretty smooth these days - but I see someone coming up with (yet) another little gismo that will allow remote control steering (the boat will go where your Google Glasses will).

Those mega improvements and innovations are really fantastic and well thought-out, but they weren't always mandatory to paddle faster. We'd all be better off spending our money on technique, clinics, and trips to enjoy the sport.

We should also be more careful at what we wish for though… because more stable can also mean: "let me lower that seat bucket, until your legs go numb"… "your boat will be so stable then"…"you will then be able to paddle the top-elite boat…"

You can get a faster boat to try to go faster, but even if you can stand upright, you will only have a slight increase in speed.

You can take a 4-day clinic, and then spend 3 months working on technique to improve your paddling… and you will have a huge increase in speed - with the same "slower boat".

Of course we want or would like to get more kayakers into surfskis, but I don't think adding a fishing rod holder to an elite surfski will automatically convince the novice.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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6 years 3 months ago #24548 by Spacehopper
Replied by Spacehopper on topic Surfski Innovation

Of course we want or would like to get more kayakers into surfskis, but I don't think adding a fishing rod holder to an elite surfski will automatically convince the novice.


Oh I don't know Ludovic, racing fishing boats seems quite popular around the world... ;)









And of course there's the racing in Greenland kayaks, alongside all the harpooning and rolling malarkey: www.qajaqusa.org/QK/competition_faq2/competition_faq2.html

Racing in multi-purpose boats?!? It'll never catch on... :lol: :silly:

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