Doing great until suddenly not

2 years 9 months ago #31630 by d0uglass
Have any of you experienced this phenomenon?

You're paddling in conditions that challenge you, but you're doing well, several km with no capsizes... until suddenly you just can't keep it together anymore. You capsize, realize you're stiff and crampy, and then capsize many more times in short succession until you get back to shore or flat water. It has happened to me a time or two now. I feel like it's a combination of body and nervous system fatigue. lt's kind of scary.

Stellar SEI 1g

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2 years 9 months ago #31632 by Fath2o
I think it has something to do with loosing your Mojo when you fall out.

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2 years 9 months ago #31633 by rickbinbc
From my somewhat novice perspective, I would suggest that your core muscles are experiencing fatigue. You mention that the conditions are challenging you but you are managing for several km's (during this time your core muscles are able to fire in a coordinated fashion to maintain your balance). Then you hit a point where you flip/fall in/huli; and after that it's a challenge to stay upright. This seems to indicate that those same core muscles have fatigued and are now less effective.

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2 years 9 months ago #31634 by rickbinbc
Oh - and you are correct - it can be a combination of muscular fatigue AND neural fatigue.

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2 years 9 months ago #31635 by LakeMan
It's definitely fatigue. It happens to all of us at time. Try a plate of pasta before going out next time. You need fuel. If you're not exercising regularly you need to start.

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

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2 years 9 months ago #31636 by manta
When I started paddling I started in a K1 with lessons etc. just to make sure I was paddling correctly.

Although I came from a SUP background and thought I was strong, my core was rubbish in a kayak. Over a few lessons it improved a lot. What I did notice though was that it was my core that was the limiting factor to how long I could paddle.

When you stand on a SUP to balance there is a lot more body to assist with balance. Sitting in the boat changes the dynamic considerably. When I bought my ski I bought a stable boat and was immediately able to paddle longer as it was more stable than the K1.

I can now paddle for over two hours in rough water without my core giving up. It just takes practice. With you being in an unstable boat for your ability, your core should get strong very fast and each session should be a bit better.

M

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2 years 9 months ago #31640 by Hardy
And never underestimate the factor coldness. After the first capsize you'll be significantly colder, weakening your muscles within minutes. And if you were already a little tired before, it can easily add up to a sudden loss of power. That's why I always dress a little warmer when going out for longer tours.

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2 years 9 months ago #31641 by d0uglass
Thanks for the advice y'all. You're probably right that it's some flavor of core fatigue. I didn't really feel it in my abs that time, but I did feel it in my hips/groin and lower back.

I'm eager to get more time in the boat to build my skills and core endurance, but right now primary limiting factor is stupid butt chafing, which was especially bad after the ~70 minute paddle that prompted this post. It takes me multiple days to heal from that, especially if I have to do other stuff in the water on the in-between days, like wear a wetsuit for my marine biology fieldwork.

I got some of those "funky pants" double-layered spandex paddling shorts. They have helped stop chafing on my sides, but not in the mid-upper bum crack where it's acute. Next thing to try is rip out my home-made seat pad, then try with an Epic seat pad.

Stellar SEI 1g

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2 years 9 months ago #31643 by Slimey
Yesterday I was paddling on a smaller lake, about 3 miles long. Wind was 20 mph straight down the length of the lake. There was a very short wave action, waves about 2 feet ( tiny ) very close together seeming to come from all directions, no consistency or predictability at all.
I cannot tell you how many times I flipped, I lost count. My boat was corkscrewing and bucking all over the place, re-entries were a challenge as I'd just get my butt in the boat and a wave , ( pinnacle waves when I was close to shore ) would hit me from the opposite direction.
It was a really humbling experience telling me I am no where near as solid in my boat as I thought, I actually started to laugh at myself and my inability to deal with these conditions, the lake has lots of shallow areas so I was able to stop and take breathers and I was in no danger at all, a bigger body of water and I'd have been in the doo doo, but I doubt I would find these conditions on more open water.
I shall be heading to this lake whenever we get a strong southerly as I'm determined to master these conditions, but I have to say it really educated me.

Steve

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2 years 9 months ago #31658 by robin.mousley
Hey Steve,

I was chatting to Oscar Chalupsky a few days ago and he was commenting how often he comes across people who haven't mastered the art of bracing. "The brace is the single most important technique," he said in fact.

How solid is your brace stroke? Have you ever been taught to brace?

Please don't take the questions the wrong way - it's just that it hadn't occurred to me until recently just how much one takes the brace stroke for granted once when you've been paddling for a while.

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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2 years 9 months ago #31662 by LakeMan
Hey Steve,

You were not paddling waves, you were paddling chop which is much more difficult. There's no pattern to follow. It's like throwing a popcycle stick into an agitating clothes washer. While I agree with Robin about the brace, sometimes if you can't get your speed up due to the heavy chop the brace doesn't do much good.
When a storm pops up and the chop gets unbearable I find a boat to follow and ride their wake back to the docks. It beats swimming over and over.

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

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2 years 9 months ago #31664 by Slimey
Rob and Lakeman, thanks very much for your comments.
I was actually bracing so often it sounded like a Ginger Baker drum solo, both sides of the boat and so often in made forward momentum tough.
I'm a white water paddler and sea kayaker so I can lay fully immersed using a sculling brace or certainly more dynamic braces than used down winding in a sufski. The boat was being tossed so much that the need to hold the brace often caused the paddle to break the water tension and dive below the surface, once below, I find it very hard to work the paddle back to the top of the water again, wing paddles don't seem to like being sculled like a paddle with a small curvature.
Any tips about the best way to stop the paddle diving?

Steve

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2 years 9 months ago #31674 by zachhandler
Hey steve - we have all been in your situation before, struggling to keep a boat upright in confused waves. With your kayak background I imagine your brace is generally ok. The brace oscar teaches is basically the low brace you would use while gliding on a wave. It is something we can all use practice at. But in the scenario you describe, it sounds like the main problem was not that you couldn’t brace, but that you HAD to brace so much. In otherwords the boat was too tippy for the given conditions and your current level of balance. I think you have the right attitute to just keep charging after it until you can do it. Your brain has to learn a new level of balance relative to what you needed in a sea kayak or WW boat. If you seldom get those choppy conditions, you can still challenge your balance on flat water by raising your center of gravity with several seat pads. Keep after it!

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2 years 9 months ago #31676 by robin.mousley
Haha, well it sounds as though you were simply in horrendous conditions!

Not much to offer in terms of the paddle diving...

But it does sound like a superb place to practise balance...!

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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2 years 9 months ago #31683 by Rookie
Hi, I often paddle doubles and this problem is compounded when there are two of you in the boat. Our usual practice if we find ourselves falling out in short succession is stop. ie dont just jump back in the boat and try and paddle on. Take 3 deep breathes and relax your bum muscles so that you 'sit' in the bucket again. take the time to get properly comfortable. Take shallow gentle strokes to get the boat momentum up again. Try not to pull hard - you tend to overbalance yourself. lastly remember that 95% of us have these days if we are prepared to challenge ourselves. Core exercises certainly do help if you can find the time to do them. There used to be a great photo on this site of Barry Lewin sitting on an exercise ball practicing his paddling. That sort of exercise does wonders for your reflexes

Focus, Apex 2, Zeplin

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2 years 9 months ago #31686 by Slimey
Thank you all for your advise on my bouncy day paddling.
My plan is to go back to that lake when the conditions are similar and keep working on it. I think you're all right in saying balance and bracing obviously still need work, Zach's comment about the boat not being ideal for those conditions is very accurate, but when it's the one you have , needs must.
I like the idea of raising myself in the seat to further add to the punishment to my ego, what a super method for improving stability.
Thanks!!

Steve

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2 years 9 months ago - 2 years 9 months ago #31723 by cogdoc
What are you paddling on for that long, just plain water? Do you sweat a lot? Do you even take water ( a lot of old school types I paddle with don't! ) I'd guess a lack of electrolytes could be part of the problem, try drinking or eating some sort of drink / gel / food that has Magnesium in it - most name brands don't, even eating a bananna half way would probably be a huge help. I load my camelback with a suitable sports drink for races, definately helps when you are pushing it, and I use my camelback all the time just to get used to it for racing. As already stated all the sports gels in the world won't help if you aren't fit enough!

Now: Stellar SEL Gen 2

Prior: Ozflyte R21, Competition Kayaks Fireblade K1, MaxKayak Clever X K1, numerous SLSC Spec Ski's.

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