Gorge ski for me

5 months 1 week ago #30723 by mickeyA
Trying to figure out best ski to rent at this year’s Gorge race in Oregon. I did it last year in an Epic v8Pro. I paddle a v10Sport on mostly flat water and Fenn XT for surfing shore break and swells further out. Last year’s Gorge was my first true downwind paddling, which is why I opted for more stable v8Pro. While I did not ever fall in and felt stable, I did not fare very well, mainly due to lack of experience downwinding. I had to paddle extremely hard in spurts to catch waves, then ride for a bit (great fun), then stall and start over. Exhausting. I am 53 yrs old and 215 lbs (~100 kg). I wonder if I was too heavy for v8Pro. When waves would pass me, I would get totally swamped. The nose seemed to be submerged a lot, too. Surely a bad skillset, but I wonder if a different ski would do better for me. I am considering Nelo 520, but am concerned about it being too short, nose really burying, wet, swamp, etc. Anybody have an opinion on 520 for Gorge type waves? Also considering Huki S1-R, xt, v10 sport. Obviously I am not looking to beat Rice’s or Mocke’s, but just want to have fun surfing without exhausting myself. Any suggestions appreciated.

Epic v10Sport, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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5 months 1 week ago #30725 by Ranga
So you have already entered? If not the entry fee is very expensive for late entry.
As for a ski the shorter the better for a beginner, takes much more skill as the ski gets longer, a V8 or similar would be ideal. You are mentioning longer skis? Learn to do downwind first, get on a downwind clinic with Oscar, he should be at the Gorge.
There is a video of Oscar on a 520 in a downwind in Cape Town (Millars Run), make your mind up from that. Just a note, he is a similar age and weight!
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5 months 1 week ago #30726 by Canadasurfskiguy
I was dreaming of the Gorge today as I was doing upwind/downwind laps and freezing my ass off. I've been the last two years and can't wait for this summer.

I think being in a higher volume ski is probably a good idea. There was an article recently where the paddler talked about the 520 being a lot more prone to sinking the bow compared to his Evo which has a lot more volume. I think the video of Oscar with the 520 demonstrates that a heavy dude with exceptional dw skills will keep it above water. For the record, I'm not speaking from experience with the Nelo boats. I've scoured the internet for everything I could find on the 560m, but I've never actually paddled one yet.
I think the v8, v8pro or a think eze would all be good boats.

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5 months 1 week ago #30737 by Cryder
Laps at the Gorge? Yep. I'm right there in my mind... *le sigh* Acres of waves, and waves that are acres wide.

www.instagram.com/p/BWQ9SGQld0o/?taken-by=fasterfarther

About your ski; I've paddled tons and tons of different skis and currently alternate between the V12 and V14... and I actually think you have it right based on your description of how the V8 Pro treated you. If you were to make the move to the V10S, in open ocean I'd say "great choice"... but in the Gorge, the V8Pro's shorter length is a handsome advantage and works shockingly well in the short, steep, and often jumbled waves. I don't think a narrower ski would make you any faster until you are ready to master overgliding (using the wave you are on to jump two or three waves ahead) or sprinting the gaps between sets (a narrow ski crosses the gap faster... if you have the power and balance to make it do so).

In the meantime, there is no replacement for bucket time in water you admire.
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5 months 1 week ago #30738 by Fath2o
Yeah. What Cryder and Ranga said.

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5 months 6 days ago #30739 by mickeyA
Thanks for your thoughts. Cryder and Ranga say go with shorter ski. So longer ski is out, like v10Sport. Say I’m between the shorter v8pro and the much shorter 520. canadasurfskiguy mentioned 520 is “prone to sinking bow”, which is a concern since my v8pro’s bow spent significant time underwater last year. Shorter than 20-21’ skis is agreed upon, but is 520 too short for me? I’m leaning toward v8pro again but want to make sure you are NOT saying “since the 520 is shorter, it should surf better on Gorge waves than the v8pro for 100kg, less experienced paddlers.” Thanks again for your expert advice.

Epic v10Sport, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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5 months 6 days ago #30744 by Fath2o
Looking at the Gorge race website there will be other surfskis brands available besides Nelo and Epic to rent.
Fenn XT, Bluefinn. Stellar SR, S18S. Think Zen, Ace, Eze.
Huki S1R. I think these would all be good skis to consider. All these skis (at various degrees) may have a tendency to nose dive or get swamped, but that's ok. Go with the flow. More experience will help with the swamping issue.
The S1R is a particularly good downwind boat, but yes, has a more of a tendency to nose dive with heavier paddlers.

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5 months 6 days ago #30748 by zachhandler
What would Boyan say?

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5 months 5 days ago #30752 by SurfskiEstonia
My bet is Boyan would say V5 Ultra :P

Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Mid, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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5 months 5 days ago #30754 by davgdavg
Sounds like a Swordfish might fit the bill as the best compromise between stability, length and speed. Should be enough volume for sure.

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5 months 4 days ago #30758 by Newbflat
Imho .... grab a nice stable ski and focus on downwind skills. If you don’t have reasonable downwind skills in the gorge, a faster ski won’t help you go any faster. A few years ago there was a guy I was talking with he went from a V10 he normally paddled to a V10 sport to a V8 over the week...he was fastest and had the most fun in the V8. It really is a wonderful place to learn, but make sure you have a ski you are totally stable in the rough with, or you’re wasting an excellent learning opportunity, especially if it gets big. Grab a fat ski, take a class with a pro and go be aggressive and care free... you will learn much more.


Stellar SR excel (gen2)
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fath2o

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5 months 4 days ago - 5 months 4 days ago #30760 by Newbflat
Re reading your post I realized I didn’t really address your question. It sounds to me nearly all of the issues you mentioned aren’t ski issues but technique issues. Frequent swamping and wallowing are almost entirely technique issues. When I was starting to Downwind I had all kinds of flooding issues but they disappeared as I got better, even in the same boat. Things like trying to catch waves I should let pass always got me in trouble. Instead of letting it pass I would busting a nut trying to catch it, fail and sinking into the top of the wave, flooding and wallowing. Trying to get back up to speed again is exhausting. It’s really punishing when this happens and you lose a lot of time or distance on someone. Plus it really takes it out of you trying to get back up to speed. Do this a few times quickly and you are spent. Being conservative about only catching waves that you’re positive you can catch helps a lot here. But keep paddling, don’t loose even more speed dropping down the back side of the wave not paddling. Burying your bow all the time could mean a number of things. You are either over catching the wave instead of just barely catching the wave and flying down the wave burying your bow in the wave in front of you. Or you’re not bearing off one way or another when you catch the wave giving yourself a longer wavelength to work with, but instead of burying directly in front of you. All or most of your energy spent catching a wave should be done on the backside of the wave when your bow is up. So that by the time your boat is heading nose down 90% of the work should be done and you should glide onto the wave easley and somewhat slowly. The trick is to only just barely catch the wave and not spend any extra energy over catching it unless you have somewhere specific you are going. That gives you a little more time to decide which direction to break, and you’re not flying down the face of the wave and quickly burying your bow. The better you get the better you learn to maintain your speed between waves as well and this is critical. The higher the speed you can maintain between surfing waves will make you catching the waves that build under you that much easier. Since I’m not a particularly strong paddler and really just a mid pack hack, my biggest gains in speed have been learning to keep my speed up between waves, following every little contour of the water, every tiny little bump and driving the boat forward steadily using these features to keep my overall speed up and nose down as much of the time as I can. When I’m in the groove everything seems to flow so smoothly the ski almost seems to catch the bigger waves by itself, very little grunt work is needed. Also being picky and choose and not being greedy trying to catch waves you shouldn’t. Sometimes those midsize waves in a set will give you a much longer run than that big one that you really have to work hard to catch, it’s just something you need to feel out overtime. Get greedy and miss a big one, flood, wollow and spend a LOT of energy getting back up to speed is punishment enough to avoid them like the plegue. It’s easy to spend a LOT of energy and not really go any faster. I constantly need to remind myself to relax, only work when I need to and no more, use the water to move you, chose waves wisely, look up and not at your bow, look ahead for where to go. It easy to get stuck only paying attention to the wave you are on rather than the next wave. You need to plan for the next wave ahead while it’s still a wave away.. if you are stuck focusing on the wave you are on there is a good chance you will miss the next. These are things that work for me but what do I know... I’m sure some people will have issues with what I said. Definitely get some proper lessons from a pro in the gorge or at least get someone who is a solid downwind paddler to give you some pointers on the water.. Grab a fat ski and working on technique will make you a LOT faster than any skinner ski will.


Stellar SR excel (gen2)
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ronbo

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5 months 3 days ago #30761 by zachhandler
Newbflat’s post is good. The problem is not the boat but your technique. You have obviously learned to catch waves and not feel tippy doing so. That is a huge accomplishment. The next step is to learn NOT to surf down the face of wave you just caught. If you surf down a wave you will wallow and flood the bucket, at least any time there is a sizeable wave in front of you. There is a magic zone on the wave where it is just steep enough to keep you from sliding off the back but not so steep that you slide forward either. Find that spot and do what it takes (paddle, brace steer) to stay on it. That is how you get a long ride without wallowing. Very easy to say. Much harder to do in my own experience.

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5 months 1 day ago #30767 by mickeyA
Great technique tips newbflat and Zach. I really appreciate it and will certainly take them to heart when practicing downwind. As for boat, I never was considering a skinny ski. I paddle a v10Sport and XT in rough conditions at home, but I dropped back to v8pro last year for Gorge. I will prob drop back again with 520 or v8 this year just to try something different. I never came close to falling out of v8pro, just wondered if it was the best choice for 95-100kg guy. Clearly I lack downwind technique and need help. At Gorge last year, I was a bit disappointed with the lack of coaching available. I’m sure it was my fault for not arranging ahead of time. Everything was so hectic early in the week, the pros and very experienced paddlers had their own sponsor vans so kind of kept to themselves, paddling-wise. I do not blame them, they are looking to have fun and practice for the race. I could never hook up with anybody who could give me a lesson (for a fee), so I just tried to figure it out on my own, to no avail (and exhausted). Not looking for the same on-land speeches I’ve heard a dozen times (rotate, spear, leg drive, take out at hip...), but on the water tutoring: “paddle hard now, stop paddling, go left, slow down, what happened back there was...”. And not a “watch me...” lesson. “I know it is easy for you, you look great, but it doesn’t help me just to watch.” I also tried to go on a double to see and feel exactly what is proper, but the 1 or 2 folks willing to ride with me could not borrow a double (chaotic). The mocke bros offer rides in brother vs brother double race, but very expensive and not really the lesson I’m looking for. I don’t need the top pros, just someone that knows how to surf Gorge waves and can relay their knowledge and are willing to paddle with me (double and/or single). I think riding along with someone in a double may be most beneficial to start with, then a ride together in singles for critiquing. Then maybe I can be on my own. Does anyone do this ~Monday at Gorge? Thanks for your help.

Epic v10Sport, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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5 months 1 day ago #30771 by Fath2o
Don't know if this helps much, but, I relate downwind paddling and catching runs to looking for holes ahead of you to drop into. I have paddled with new paddlers with surfing experience. They tend to look backwards looking for waves to catch. This technique only works in the surf zone. Newbflat gave some good advice here. Especially about trying to paddle over the wave in front of you. It is a good way to get swamped and tired (unless you are already hauling ass). So, my suggestion, is to look for those "Pot holes" to drop into in front of you and then, as mentioned before, veer off at a bit of an angle to reduce nose diving and get a longer run. All the while be looking ahead for the next hole to drop into. Link those runs!
I guess what I am suggesting here is to concentrate more on the troughs than the waves when downwind paddling. That's my experience anyway. Good luck!

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5 months 1 day ago #30773 by mickeyA
Great advice, thanks. As for a ski, I was about to side with the 520, but then watched a video on this website showing Oscar on a millers run on a 520. The commentary that follows the video said the 520 is stable but tricky and wet. Not the “oh it so revolutionary it practically surfs itself, perfect for less experienced downwinders” I would love to hear. So v8 or v8 pro. Maybe v8 is better for heavier guys. Does weight of ski matter a ton on the water at Gorge? Other than carrying around. If not obviously better for lighter red tip, maybe I go for more durable black tip. Any advice on who can teach me on water, ideally a run on a double, then a run on singles, for a fee, let me know. I’m not a beginner to surfskis, just need to figure out how to catch and link runs and not exhaust myself or stay swamped. Thanks.

Epic v10Sport, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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5 months 1 day ago - 5 months 1 day ago #30774 by Newbflat
Not sure where you live but if you can arrive as early as you can I can paddle with you. I try and carve out 10 or so days there including the event. There are quite a few people around the week before paddling various runs and the Viento to hood river event run. I’m not sure if I’m bringing my double or not. It’s fun but only if it’s snorting out. If you are around before the event I’m happy to go for a paddle with you for the hefty price of an adult malted beverage after. During the event I’m pretty busy trying to learn myself, taking clinics and such so it’s not a great time. All that noted, I’m no downwind pro.. I can give you a Downwind 101 but that’s it. Then take a class from people that actually know what they’re doing... in the mean time work on your stoke and aerobic fitness, it’s everything! ....(Makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about)

Learning just a few things like how to catch a wave easily, recognizing "the window" and using it and following the small stuff to keep your speed up will keep you more that busy enough all week.


Stellar SR excel (gen2)
FENN Swordfish S carbon hybrid
Stellar SEL excel (gen 2)
Lot and lots of DK rudders.


Had:
Stellar S18s g1 (excel)
Epic V10 Double (performance)
Stellar SR (gen 1)
V10 sport (gen 2)
V10 (Gen 2)
Beater SEL (gen 1)

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5 months 22 hours ago #30775 by Fath2o
mickeyA, IMO a lighter ski is so much more enjoyable to paddle and to transport.
I am under the impression that pretty much all the new generation surf skis are "Good" skis. You say you paddle an XT, so you are already used to a "wet ski". By the way I think the XT fitted with a 9" to 10" elliptical rudder would be a great choice for the gorge. I may try and make it up there myself. The wife says she's onboard! My two boat choices are a beat up old XT with a 10" rudder and and a nice light EVO with a 9" rudder. I'm confident either one of these skis would give me all the enjoyment I can tolerate.

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4 months 3 weeks ago #30785 by mickeyA
I don’t think my reply went through so I’ll try again. Hopefully this is only going to you to spare the others. I am flying cross country and since ski rentals and shuttles start Monday, I arrive in Portland Sunday midday. This is probably what happened to me last year, once Monday rolls around, everyone is focused on their own situation, which is understandable. Plus it gets very hectic. I don’t know this crowd well enough to borrow skis and get shuttle rides prior to Monday. I would love to get a “downwind 101” lesson and paddle a run with you, but fully understand if Monday is too late. Thanks for your advice, every little bit helps.

Epic v10Sport, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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4 months 3 weeks ago #30786 by mickeyA
Oh well. My last post was intended for newbflat and was intended to go just to him. How do you reply just to one person? I used “quick reply” under his post and it looked like I was sending only to him. Is it even possible to just reply to one person? Thanks

Epic v10Sport, Stellar SE, Fenn XT, Twogood Chalupski, Findeisen Stinger spec, Huki S1-X, Burton wedge2, Fenn Tarpon

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