Is surfski harder than it needs to be?

5 months 6 days ago #31309 by d0uglass
Mostly I do the mundane kind of losing my balance and rolling over, which I would call capsizing. But I believe I did experience a real broach or two in my flailing downwind attempt, including one that I was miraculously still upright after for a few seconds, until the next wave came and hit me on the side.

I don't understand what a huli is.

2009 Epic v12

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5 months 5 days ago #31310 by LakeMan
The hull is the bottom half of the ski (or any boat) and the deck is the top.

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

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5 months 5 days ago #31311 by PSwitzer
Douglass, I paddle an old school V12 in Hawaii, and I hear what you're saying about the rudder losing its grip and the boat wanting to spin out. When I was a newbie I had similar feelings. I learned/ raced several seasons on a mako millenium that I bought for $200, paddle included, that I shared with another guy, so I understand the need to go cheap. As long as you have access to flat water you will be able to learn and make progress. So all these guys are correct telling you it's easier with a beginner boat, but you paddle what you can get.

Here's the thing about the rudder and broaching- You've got to let go of the idea that the rudder saves you from spinning out. It doesn't, and shouldn't. Broaching a surfski and blaming the rudder is like pulling the ebrake on a hairpin turn then blaming the tires when you skid out.

If you surf down a wave at an angle and bury the bow, the boat will broach because no rudder can exert the same force on the tail that the wave does trying to fling the stern past the bow. But that's not the only reason to avoid stuffing into the trough. The main reason is that it's slow! If you're running the boat into walls of water you lose all your speed. Instead, you track left or right staying on the crest of the wave where the boat is fairly level, the bow is free, and slight touches on the rudder are all you need. So as you track left, eventually you'll see a nice trough opening up to the right, you let your bow fall down into the trough as you apply power and off you go on your next ride. Repeat.

You won't actually be able to do this for a while until your skills have improved. When you're sitting on the crest, the boat is less stable, it kind of feels like the boat is perched on a balance ball. So as a beginner you won't be able to stay in this zone for long.

The next time your rudder is stalling, hit the brakes hard with a low brace and let the boat drift back up the face of the wave. Take note of the spot where the bow releases and swings easily around. That is your happy place on the wave, try to stay there instead of sliding down too low. Good luck!
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5 months 5 days ago #31312 by rickbinbc
Hi D0uglass,

I think you indicated that you did not know what a "huli" is. A huli is a term more common to outrigger paddling when the boat flips over and the paddler falls out.

To be honest, I don't know if I've ever heard an experienced surfski paddler call it a "huli"; more often they just say that they "went for a swim".

Anyway, there you have it.

Enjoy the paddling/swimming.
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5 months 5 days ago #31313 by Wombat661

PSwitzer wrote: So as you track left, eventually you'll see a nice trough opening up to the right, you let your bow fall down into the trough as you apply power and off you go on your next ride. Repeat.


PSwitzer,
Thanks for the explanation.
Just want to confirm what you described. So unlike a beach break, do deep water waves eventually disappear as another one appear. Is that why you are constantly looking for another wave.

If you see a deep trough, do you go into it because while you are behind the wave, there will always be another one behind you.

Thanks

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5 months 5 days ago #31314 by SteveW
Is surfski harder than it needs to be?

I don't think so.

No one is a natural. You work hard to get good and work harder to get better.

I would rather be on the sea on my Blue Fin S, Legend Nessy or Fluid Nemesis.

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5 months 5 days ago #31315 by PSwitzer
Wombat- yes you are correct, the paddler looks for a "hole" opening up, this is the trough of the wave forming underneath you. The wave energies on open water are constantly folding into one another so you can't ride any one wave for very long, eventually your wave will get eaten by a bigger one, or a similar sized wave's trough will cancel your crest, etc. so sooner or later you have to find a new one. It's much easier to connect the dots when your position is high on the crest because 1. You can go any direction and 2. You can convert your positioning into speed by turning downhill if necessary.

Douglass's problems controlling the boat are totally normal new paddler issues, because everyone, on their first few downwinds, takes off straight down the face- Yippeee! then plows the boat into the back of the wave in front, floods the cockpit, and either broaches or gets totally swamped from behind, coming to a dead stop. In short interval steep chop, like what I imagine the gulf coast is like where he's at, it can be pretty difficult to keep the bow free on a 21 foot boat because the wavelength is so short you have to really angle across the swell to keep some space in front of the bow. If you go straight, you're constantly pushing through chop and straddling multiple wavelengths and the boat is hard to control.

I'm no elite pro or anything but my advice to any novice downwinders would be to follow this progression: First try to do a 5 minute piece without stuffing the bow and flooding the cockpit. Once you can do this, work on only taking off on waves you are positive you can catch. Don't be a hero. Nothing wrecks the flow like missing a wave, falling off the back, and swamping. Next, work on keeping the boat pointed perpendicular to direction of wave travel when you're in between runners. As you start to lose the wave, turn off so you're going sideways to the direction of wave travel. If you are always pointing downwind the tail and bow get submerged by passing swells and it's really hard to build up speed.

If you can do all of these things for a whole session, it will be amazing. The first time you finish a piece without swamping the cockpit, broaching, or missing a wave, you feel like a magician. Surfski is exactly as hard as it needs to be, which is why it's awesome.
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5 months 5 days ago #31317 by davgdavg

rickbinbc wrote: Hi D0uglass,

I think you indicated that you did not know what a "huli" is. A huli is a term more common to outrigger paddling when the boat flips over and the paddler falls out.

To be honest, I don't know if I've ever heard an experienced surfski paddler call it a "huli"; more often they just say that they "went for a swim".

Anyway, there you have it.

Enjoy the paddling/swimming.


Well, you heard it hear first.

Actually here in Hawaii it's the word everyone uses, outrigger or not. It's a Hawaiian word that means, "to flip over" or something along those lines. Not sure what "experience" has to do with anything...?

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5 months 4 days ago #31318 by rickbinbc
Hi Davgdavg,

Yes - point taken. Experience has nothing to do with it. It was late at night and my hands were typing "short-hand" on what my brain was thinking clearly.

What I meant to say was that I couldn't recall ever hearing the term "huli" used in the International surfski community (in print, on videos, or in my limited personal interaction with paddlers from a variety of countries). Having done some outrigger paddling, I was aware of the meaning of the term - just wasn't sure if the term was used globally.

As you have clarified, in Hawaii it covers "flipping over", regardless of boat.

Now I'm curious - can anyone enlighten me as to the term most commonly used in South Africa? In Australia? In various parts of Europe?

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5 months 4 days ago #31320 by manta
I am still a total noob after 7 months of paddling.

I also come from a SUP background. I hurt my shoulder and the SUP paddle stroke continued to hurt it. I love being on the water so I tried a surfski - big mistake! I am now totally hooked and hardly paddle my SUP anymore. I find the proper surfski stroke very easy on the body.

My first boat is a Fenn Bluefinn. I was able to get out onto the ocean on the first day and paddle it quite well. I have fallen out a total of about 7 times, 5 of those were on my first downwind run. I am very slow still only able to average about 8.5km/h over 10km but I know that is not the boats fault. I am sure my stroke is still terrible and my muscles have not yet all switched onto the stroke so I am sure I waste a lot of potential.

It can be very tempting to try and paddle as fast as the guys that have been paddling a while but it is a trap that leads to poor stroke development. I am not a natural athlete or very good at physical stuff so for me progress is always going to be slow but having a stable boat that I can rely on has been a good way to build my meagre skills.

I bought my boat 2nd hand in the heaviest construction knowing I would hit it with the paddle, drop it etc. so it needed to be strong. So far it has help up perfectly well.

So there is my experience. Surfski is a lot of fun but very humbling, especially if you paddle with seasoned paddlers that can effortlessly hold 10km\h+ all day. I hope to get there some day.

Peace
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5 months 4 days ago #31326 by Fath2o
Just have to say, I don't much agree with what PSwitzer's has to say about broaching, rudders,
downwind paddling etc. Just my opinion. Guess things are different in Hawaii.

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5 months 3 days ago - 5 months 3 days ago #31328 by MK
Does volume have anything to do with anything?

My high volume high seat spec ski, which I would put on a similar stability level to some of the 42cm craft, I find easier to surf those close period wind chop - so at 55cm does the V8 owe some of it's surfing and keeping the nose up ability to volume?

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5 months 2 days ago #31340 by mickeyA
You mentioned more rocker and blunter nose. Spec skis do just that. The more common ocean ski like v12 does not. Both are technically surfskis. Spec skis are meant for going in and out of surfbreak and surf those short steep waves better, imo. Spec skis are basically all 19" wide, but since seat is usually set high, spec skis are usually tippy to beginners. I would guess typical spec ski is more stable than old v12, though. Probably easier to learn on. Where do you live? I have an old spec ski on the Gulf (panhandle of FL) you can try.

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 #31341 by d0uglass
Thanks Mickey. I'm all the way down near Naples so we probably won't cross paths for a while, but it would definitely be interesting to try a spec ski.

2009 Epic v12

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5 months 1 day ago #31344 by MK
Douglass
Try a Fenn swordfish if you can. You might find its more about volume in the right places than stability (particularly after a few more months)

My carbonology atom is more manageable to me than some of the skinnier skis with "stability features" because my body can precisely predict the roll rate

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