New to surfski- Sore butt, Lots of questions

3 years 5 months ago #31120 by d0uglass
Hi All,

I've been racing standup paddleboards for a few years. Recently a lot of my racer buddies have been buying sit-down paddlecraft like OC1s and Surfskis. I got on the bandwagon this weekend when I bought a used Epic v12 (the older fiberglass model with a black-tipped nose) for real cheap. Another friend gave me a paddle. I'm not sure the specs on the paddle, but it's a legit carbon surfski paddle with the scooped out blades that look like rabbit ears... just a bit dinged up.

Anyway, I've paddled it twice and I can tell I have a lot to learn. The balance is really tough, of course, but I'm actually doing OK. First session I had to flop in and out of it for about 15 minutes before it clicked and I could paddle it for minutes at a time without flipping. Second session I didn't pick up where I left off. Still had to flop in and out for 5 or 10 minutes before the balance clicked, but then I was able to paddle about 6 kph with just a few flips.

Here are some of the problems I'm having that I want advice on:

#1- My butt is killing me. Just south of the crack and north of the hole, where a two-knobbed bone of some kind is near the surface of my skin, I've got two bloody red welts. I'm not sure what the best strategy is to avoid that happening, or if a callous will develop eventually, or what.

#2- I have a sense that my stroke is shit, and I'm not sure where to go for the most extreme basic, slow-motion, simplified instructions for paddling. I have a pretty good SUP stroke, in which the shaft is totally vertical and the stroke is parallel to the boat, but it seems totally different with the two-bladed paddle where the shaft is less vertical and the stroke that sweeps away from the boat instead of staying parallel with it. Don't have any idea about what the entry or exit should look like, which joints should be bent at what times, or anything.

#3- I'm putting a lot of strain on my right wrist, especially. I'm using 0 degree offset because I read somewhere that offset isn't really that important. Maybe if I'm doing the stroke better that won't happen.

#4- Do you paddle with the cockpit drainer open all the time, or to you just flip it open briefly to drain the cockpit and then close it. Does it slow you down a lot to have it open? I noticed it was kind of a good speedometer, because I could hear it start to suck a lot when I got over 9 kph.

I'm sure I'll have more questions later, but that's it for now.

Thanks,
James

Stellar SEI 1g

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3 years 5 months ago #31123 by WingSuit
I will defer to some of the elite Paddlers on here, but your first post should have been, “I am getting into surfski, what kind of boat should I get?” The answer is not a expert boat as a starter. Get something fatter, v-8, V-8 Pro, maybe V-10 Sport, or their equivalent in a Fenn or some other brand. It is very difficult to develop any kind of correct technique in a super tippy boat, as a beginner, no matter what else you have paddled. SUP does not translate to a 17 inch wide ski. Secondly, get some basic instruction. Meanwhile, if all this is real, you tube Ivan Lawler or one of the other well know instructors.
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3 years 5 months ago #31125 by tve
+1 to what wingsuit wrote...

I got a seat pad (from Mocke) and that helped a lot. But I also noticed that I needed to adjust the foot rest distance so I didn't push myself into the back of the seat (no point adding rearward force!!).

WRT to your other questions, either get instruction from one of your knowledgeable friends or spend a couple of hours on youtube...
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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #31127 by robin.mousley
Hi James,

Where do you live/paddle (Bonita Springs, Florida)?

The other guys are correct, it's much, much easier to start on a more stable boat; the V12 is definitely in the elite category.

Having said that, if it's all you can get...

Re the chafing of your coccyx, once you have broken the skin, it's hard to get it healed and still paddle. Best take a few days off and grow some skin back over the area. To avoid it, you probably need a butt pad like this one.

mockepaddling.com/product/seat-pads/

NB: the pad should be placed with the notch towards the back of the boat; the notch is there to prevent contact between your coccyx and the seat.

I'm pretty sure there are surfski shops in Florida (if that is indeed where you live) but you can also get butt pads from Ocean Paddle Sports in CA: www.oceanpaddlesports.com/store/Accessor...r-your-Kit-c11430237

They're also really friendly people and will answer any questions you might have.

Technique is all important but, as mentioned, you need to be stable before you can focus on your stroke. Search for "forward stroke surfski" on google or Youtube.

Strain on the wrist... Well, I just wrote an article about that (and there was a long debate/discussion/thread here in the forum). I'm not sure that I agree with zero feather angle, and find that 67 degrees has been very comfortable over the years. You might want to try something smaller like 20-30 degrees and see if your wrist strain goes away. But I think at the moment you've probably got bigger issues just staying upright.

And finally - the cockpit drain won't make any noticeable difference until you start racing and paddling at 12kph or more, so I wouldn't worry about it. If it's an older boat without a rubber cover on the lever, you can fit a squash ball over it; buy a squash ball, make a small cut in it and squash it over the top of the lever. Then you can use your heel to open and close it.

But I really think, like the others, that you'll find life a lot more fun if you can locate a more stable boat!

But... a hearty welcome - it's a fantastic sport! Let us know how you get along!

(Oh one last thing - while you're remounting a lot, you may as well get that technique right too... If you search for "surfski remount" on youtube, you'll see a bunch of videos - but the "correct" technique that has served me well even in gale-force conditions - and especially in gale-force conditions - is this one:



Good luck!)

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
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3 years 5 months ago #31129 by davgdavg
Be thankful that its that part of your butt that hurts and not dead legs. I would say with a pair of paddling shorts (tights) the problem will likely go away. A seat pad is not going to help for that rubbing; I think other people heard "butt pain," and instinctively thought you were talking about the dread dead legs.
Yes, your techinique is probably horrible (like everyone when they start)

Paddling technique:

vimeo.com/151520592
vimeo.com/161988842
vimeo.com/164598699

Really good:


Great to watch in slow mo:




There is a never-ending debate about feather and stroke, I agree with Barton's take on it. You can look for the debate here.
Open and close the bailer unless you are in a really wet downwind.
Like everyone has said and will say, a more stable boat will make learning a little faster. That said, if you're determined, above average athleticism, and have access to flat water, you can learn regardless. If you're in a really unstable boat on the open ocean, then yes, it can be pretty much impossible to learn, but otherwise skinny boat or not, there isn't any substitute for time on the water.
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3 years 5 months ago #31130 by Jef58
Hello, if you are in Bonita Springs, you may want to look up Paddlesports of Naples for a resource. As far as instruction goes, Sharkbite Challenge up in Dunedin/Honeymoon Island State Park will be April 13th-15th. They usually have a good amount of paddlers there along with clinics with pro paddlers.

It may be worth your while to take the drive up and check it out...
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3 years 5 months ago #31132 by d0uglass
Thanks TVE. I think the foot rest distance and my pushing myself into the back of the seat for the feeling of bracing or stability was part of the sore rear problem. Another question I have about the foot rest is what angle the toe pedals should be at. Right now they're cocked back towards me at maybe 30 degrees off from the rest of the foot pad, and it seems like it's too easy to push them when I don't mean to.

Stellar SEI 1g

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3 years 5 months ago #31133 by d0uglass
Thank you Robin. Yes, I paddle in Bonita Springs / Naples, FL in the flat water of the Imperial River and on the Gulf of Mexico. The guy I got the boat from is an experienced paddler from South Africa who has offered to help me out with some real-life coaching.

That Mocke pad looks like it will help. I'm away at a conference for a few days, so that ought to force me to stay dry while the coccyx sores heal. I'm also speculating that a different sitting posture, not rounding my lower back as much, might help me keep my weight on my natural padding and not slouching onto my coccyx.

I think I'll stick with the 0 degree feather for now and maybe try something different when I have better balance.

To isolate my paddle stroke from my balance struggles I might try using the surfski paddle while sitting on my 23" wide SUP board.

Stellar SEI 1g

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3 years 5 months ago #31134 by d0uglass
Thanks Jef. I'm planning to do Sharkbite on SUP this year. Maybe next year I'll do one of the pro surfski clinics.

Stellar SEI 1g

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3 years 5 months ago #31136 by Atlas
Now you know why the ski was going cheap.

Current skis:
Epic V10L Ultra, Carbonology Sport Boost LV, Carbonology Sport Boost LV X, Fenn Bluefin, Nelo 510, Fenn XT double

Previous skis
Spirit PRS, Fenn Swordfish, Fenn XT, Fenn Swordfish S, Think Zen, Epic V10L Club, Epic V9 Ultra
Most with DK rudders.

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3 years 5 months ago #31137 by LakeMan
When starting out cheap is good even when it's an elite ski. Learn to paddle it, what works and what doesn't and then if it's a sport you decide to continue with buy yourself a ski that fits you and your needs better.

I put a foam pad on the back end of my bucket to stop lower back pain and it worked great. It was either that or start eating ice cream so I created my own padding. I opted for the healthier choice.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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3 years 5 months ago #31138 by Ranga
Worst advice I have ever heard, start out cheap even on an elite ski? I have been paddling for over 40 years and see it time and again. Person get the fastest most unstable ski gives it a few months and it all gets too hard and gives up, another one bites the dust with another cheap unstable ski on the market!
It is IMPOSSIBLE to learn correct stroke on an unstable platform.
Your wrists are sore from hanging onto your paddle for dear life, expecting it will help you stay upright, nothing to do with feather angle. The higher the angle the worse it will get and the harder to paddle, no brainer!
As for your butt, there is no way on earth that you are rotating causing chaffing, you do not have enough stability to rotate in a V12, most intermediate paddlers who have been paddling for many years cannot rotate on a V12.
There are a multitude of reasons your butt is hurting, foot plate position could be too close, bending your legs too high decreasing the contact point to the seat hence point loading on your butt, also making the ski very unstable. Try lengthening the footplate so your calf touches the ski on full stroke. This will lower your legs increasing the contact patch of your butt.
As for a butt pad? some advice? You can not sit in it now adding a pad will only make it MUCH worse!
Ever thought to get proper paddling shorts, ones that work for you. Most paddlers use thin cycling type shorts, smooth so you can rotate without seams that aids chaffing, some even go commando without budgie smugglers, but you do need the goods to pull that one off!
My suggestion which has been mentioned before, get help. Borrow a ski or get a demo ski from your local agent, like a Epic V8, V7, V5 or Fenn Blue Fin or Think Eze, anyone of the beginner skis out there. You will not look back.

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3 years 5 months ago #31139 by Davidw
I've got to disagree on the butt pad issue. On almost every ski I've owned that two-knobbed bone, as you described it, gets rubbed raw.

I always pad either the back corner of the seat well or use a butt pad. Position the pad so that it sits just a little below the bone, lifting the chafing parts away from the back of the seat.

But it will be made much worse if your foot plate is too close. And definitely get proper paddling shorts. Worn commando.
If its caused by you trying to rotate, which is unlikely as Ranga said, remember that rotation means exactly that. It doesn't mean pushing yourself against the back of the seat.

It is likely that your instability is causing you to try wedge yourself tighter into the seat and to grip the paddle too tightly as Ranga said. It will get better.

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3 years 5 months ago #31141 by LakeMan
Ranga, I can't begin to tell you how many people I've known buy wide slow kayaks and after a short time give up and thing ends up collecting dust before being sold on the secondhand market. Quiting has nothing to do with the difficulty of the ski. There's a lot of people who give up anything easily, quickly move from one thing to another or find out that sports like this actually takes physical effort. It's not a Gatorade commercial. Good things don't come easy.
I've also been paddling for over 4 decades and when I went to a elite surfski it was difficult even though my previous kayak was an HPK. I CHOSE not to give up and I made it. DOglass will do the same. Just takes hard work before the rewards come.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
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3 years 5 months ago #31142 by Jef58
Most people on this forum paddle in open water, so the advice for a stable boat is sound... If the OP is in southwest Florida, he will most likely will be in open water with varying conditions. Even the inlets and Intercoastal Waterway can get very hectic with sloppy conditions.

I have a "stable" Genius CLK and it's still a huge difference than paddling a wide, slow kayak or SUP in similar conditions to where the OP is. I think the advice for a more stable boat is prudent, but that is up to the OP to decide. Speed is a relative thing and a V8 type of boat will not disappoint him as far as speed and efficiency goes.

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3 years 5 months ago #31146 by robin.mousley
(Just noticed that your last replies hadn't been moderated... sorry, my bad. From now on they don't require moderation.)

As you can see there's plenty of opinion on this forum, which is great...!

Let us know how you go - and which advice has worked best for you, haha!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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3 years 5 months ago #31148 by Jef58
Now that DOuglass' reply has appeared, it sounds like he will have good instruction. The west coast of Florida has all sorts of calm waters to paddle in too. It wouldn't be hard to acquire a used stable boat if he decides he needs to go that route. Good luck..!!

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3 years 5 months ago #31149 by SurfskiEstonia
I have to support the unpopular opinion of LakeMan here. It was the case with me, I got an elite surfski and went to a flat water kayak paddling club for lessons.

There is something enchanting about paddling an unstable boat on flat water. When you get better on the flat, it's time to start trying the boat on the beach, but close to shore. That exhilarating feeling of being able to paddle through or down small waves in an unstable boat, each wave making you feel like a hero :D

If the beginner buys an elite boat to immediately do some hardcore downwinds, then it's a definite fail, but other than that it can be a very exciting and even an addictive thing to do. If that beginner lives in places with crazy downwind possibilities, it is clearly better to go for the lightest stable boat he can afford, but in case of relatively average conditions, I would also not discourage people from buying unstable boats - if they love it, they will learn it :)

Current: Carbonology Boost double, Jantex Gamma Mid
Previous: Nelo Ocean Ski L, Jantex Gamma Rio Large Minus

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3 years 5 months ago #31151 by Fath2o
Lakeman, I think there is factor regarding stability (and elite boats) that is often not addressed here. An elite skinny surf ski, like an Uno, is going to be DRAMATICALLY more stable in freshwater than salt. Simply due to the difference between the density of the two. This is born out of science and my personal experience. Everyone's experience is different and may well depend on where you paddle.

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3 years 5 months ago #31153 by LakeMan
I don't doubt you but the difference is not drastic, unless you fall out and get salt water up your nose. Now there's a big difference there.
I lived 3 decades on the west coast of Florida. I'm very familiar with paddling the waters in the bays intercoastals and open ocean. The V12 will do fine because there is plenty of smooth water. However he will probably want something wider for those days when the big swells come in, which is not the norm. Because of the heat most of the year paddlers tend to get out very early in the morning when the water is calm.
Maybe we'll hear back from the one who started this post and see what his opinions are.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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