I guess that's it for now.

2 months 3 weeks ago #37079 by SpaceSputnik
So, I sold the last one of my skis this saturday after spending solid two years trying to approach the level of skill and performance implied by the surfski community. Taken instruction, worked on technique and fitness but at this point I have to throw the proverbial towel in. It's just somehow never materialized for me despite decent balance and fitness.
So, sticking with sea kayaks for the time being. Not necessarily swearing off skis in the future, but since the promise of speed and efficiency never really panned out, it'd have to be done differently somehow. 

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37080 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic I guess that's it for now.
What was it that you did not find in surfski that you get from sea kayak? I think the Epic 18x hull is actually the same as the V8 if I remember correctly? I guess in that case you're only trading a SOT for a SINK with storage

Is it a physical benefit/drawback or was it expectations? (speed, efficiency, etc)

Sorry to see you go!

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37081 by Epicpaddler
Kind of surprised to hear that. I too started out as a sea kayaker. I have a beautiful full carbon fiber Necky Chatham 17 hanging in my garage that hasn't seen the water in 2 years. I originally got into surfski paddling to race, but realized that my Epic v8pro did everything the sea kayak did, only better. It's lighter, easier to carry, faster, safer, and can handle just as big ocean conditions that the Necky could handle. I keep telling myself the sea kayak will be used in the winter when it's snowy and icy, but this past season I paddled year round in the Epic.

If you're paddling an Epic 18 like McImes said, you're really just paddling an enclosed v8. I could understand if you were in a really tippy elite ski, but something like a v8 with it's amazing stability and carry handles seems like win/win. Good luck with whatever paddle craft you stick with. The important thing is getting out on the water and enjoying yourself.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37082 by SpaceSputnik
I just got fed up with all "do this and you will get faster". I just wasn't despite all the hard work. A little maybe but still sluggish compared to most of you guys here. So at some point I just didn't want to play a game at which I felt being at a disadvantage. A bit of a broken promise feeling here to be honest.
I really don't want to make it about sea-kayak vs a ski, it is not about that. Currently, I do find that learning sea-kayak specific skills is a lot of fun and I seem to be progressing reasonably well rolling and all that, but it's besides the point.

"If you're paddling an Epic 18 like McImes said, you're really just paddling an enclosed v8"

It's definitely way more than that in terms of how you interact with your boat, but again, I don't want to make it into A vs B discussion.
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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #37083 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic I guess that's it for now.
That's interesting. Why did you get into surfski to begin with?

If the answer is something besides "Chasing waves" or "safety from SOT style boats", then I will concede there is little benefit to skis. Wing paddle stroke is hard to master. Going faster than a FSK class sea kayak takes a lot of conditioning. if you were expecting top fuel dragster speed just from changing boats that is never the case.

For me personally, I was hooked from the first time ZachHandler took me out for my first ski experience, a V10 Double. We were in Minnesota on the big party lake leaving a marina in the rich part of town. We chased down a huge 40' cabin cruiser and they stopped to ask what we were doing. Said "drafting your wake". They asked if we wanted a ride and graciously took hand signals for faster or slower until we were crusing behind them at just below-plane speed throwing up a massive wake. We cruised behind them at 12-13mph (per gps) for a couple miles out to the island.

Riding that wake is like what I imagine crack to be like. I was hooked. From that moment on I knew I was a skiier. Now im on the west coast and have the ocean at my disposal. a perfect downwind is like that original ride x3 crack factor. we dont get many 'perfect' downwinds where I am, but when we do its all worth it.

If you never had a "crack" moment, ski is just another boat

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37084 by SpaceSputnik
I primarily derive my kicks from learning things and stepping up on the next level. The ski seemed like perfect for that, except the stepping up never happened despite hard work.
If anything, doing this  serves a better kick compared to what I have experienced in a ski:



So did being able to cover 57k in one day on the 18x. Those things feel like a decent result per effort.
In a ski such result would be maintaining decent average speed over certain distance which just didn't happen despite doing all the "right" things.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37085 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic I guess that's it for now.
Wow, how many skis did you have? Sorry you did not get to the level you wanted. Sea kayaking skills that require good control of edging, blade, body position, etc will be fun to learn, and I think there is no end to the learning. Especially in an area with complex tidal currents, like where I used to live,

I am happy to ditch sprayskirts, though! Kinda tired of the clammy enclosure. Really, it was renting a plastic SOT way back when that got me interested in kayaking at all, but those are so darned wide. I did not even know surf skis existed.

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #37086 by SpaceSputnik
I went through 3 skis, but most I kept at the same time was two.
I want to say it again, I am not really swearing off skis. My problem lies more with the mindset and coaching approach that never worked for me. I could make do with a stable ski, just not in a rush at the moment since I am concentrating on kayak skills right now.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37087 by Epicpaddler
I get the technical challenge of learning a new sport. I never mastered the roll. Very impressive rolling the Epic kayak with a wing paddle! I was most successful rolling with a Greenland stick. Learning the wing paddle stroke is like the perfect golf swing. It's a perpetual evolution. I thought I'd be able to jump from paddling my sea kayak at a steady 5 miles per hour to 7mph just by paddling a surfski. It was quite humbling when it took a long time just to bump my speed up to 6mph. I can sprint to 8mph, but can't hold it long. My race pace is about 6.5mph, so I'm usually not at the front of the pack. Just like sea kayaking, I enjoy longer "recreational" paddles. I circumnavigated two islands and paddled 21 miles yesterday. It's still fun to paddle and explore, it's just a little more efficient "For me" in a surfski. 
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2 months 3 weeks ago #37088 by waverider
major differences are the way you can manoeuvre a sea kayak with paddle strokes and edging, which is a whole skill set, and a whole lot fun, in itself.  The lack of locked in braced feeling in a ski can be off putting for some and you dont really start to get the speed and power until you master the whole hip rotation and leg drive, along with getting all the bracing and power from the catch, which is completely different to how you paddle a sit in. It took me learning in a tippy k1 to finally "get" that. So even if your sea kayak and ski have similar hulls the whole way you paddle them is different, so different folks can benefit differently

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37089 by waverider

MCImes wrote: If you never had a "crack" moment, ski is just another boat


I get this, its not until you get to pick up waves that you feel like you are doing what you are supposed to. This takes time to learn, and you feel like you havent  quite qualified until you have, no matter what sort of speeds you can get on flat/calm water. The acceleration of catching the wave is the OMG adrenaline pumper. Flatwater is for K1s and waves are for surf skis despite the crossover capabilities of skis

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37091 by SpaceSputnik
I came to believe that the "locked-in" feeling in a sea kayak is an over-simplification. There are different ways it's being taught and some of those ways teach nothing less than leg/hip drive. When you dig into it, the lines are beginning to blur in most fascinating ways such as you start seeing similarities in Oscars drills and moves Greenland paddlers use. It really looks like a very interesting continuum.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37096 by zachhandler
We are all doing this for fun. If it is not fun then drop it and find something that is.  In my view all boats can give us joy and it is great to try different types. I grew up canoe camping and rowing Adirondack guideboats. I was once a sea kayak instructor. I messed around a little in white water boats.  I dedicated a year to just marathon canoe racing. I dedicated another year to SUP. I enjoyed them all, but at some point l moved on to do something that seemed even more fun to me at the time. (I guess I left SUP because it blew out my elbows).  I think you just have to go with the flow and do whatever gives you joy or sparks your passion at that point in your life. And of course at some point health issues or life circumstances will intervene anyway, and you will have to go with the flow once again.  Sounds like you gave ski a few good years and it is still not doing it for you. I would move on too. No shame in that. We are all chasing the same thing, and we are not all going to find it in the same place. 
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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #37098 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic I guess that's it for now.

waverider wrote: The lack of locked in braced feeling in a ski can be off putting for some and you dont really start to get the speed and power until you master the whole hip rotation and leg drive, along with getting all the bracing and power from the catch, which is completely different to how you paddle a sit in.


The lack of thigh braces felt...naked...at first. Vulnerable. It also feels freer. It is just plain easier to rotate more on a ski, since the legs are not splayed out and the seating is a little higher relative to feet. Rotating torso when legs are far apart is more strain. Sit on a stool (or on the toilet) and rotate with and without splayed legs, to feel the difference.

I’m trying to pay extra attention to the catch, because it really does seem to determine how well the rest of the stroke goes. Not sufficient in itself, but necessary to get a strong start to the blade-in-water phase. It’s not that it doesn’t matter with flat blades, it just seems to make or break the stroke with the wing blade.

I always feel at a disadvantage in sports, other than climbing, due to small size. Add in older female to this. So being as technically good and efficient as I can get is always a goal. Not absolute numbers or specific accomplishments, but funny how often those happened as by-products of the process. I never expected to do most of the things I did with sea kayaking. They just grew out from my early idea of having fun in a self-propelled boat. So enjoy yourself and see what comes naturally from that.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #37099 by SpaceSputnik

It is just plain easier to rotate more on a ski

Interestingly the promise of a free rotation never quite materialized for me. Even with a low hump SES it was "sort of free" at best, but not as free as it gets on my flat-seat ergo. In the 18x there is no hump, I can drop my leg completely flat (don't always do that though) which feels better. There's a small amount of resistance coming from the skirt so it's pretty much a wash between these two boats.
Splayed out with some gap between knees and braces works just as well for me. It allows for a shorter, strong stab-like hip action. Legs up is not making me faster, so I am doing less of that now.
I think a lot has a lot to do with individual anatomy. I could never replicate this free whole body swing I see taller/slenderer surfskiers go. I mean I can mimic it but it's not making it more efficient for me. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago #37101 by kwolfe
Replied by kwolfe on topic I guess that's it for now.
It seems like folks are really putting some high expectations on skis these days. There are plenty of people here that just paddle for fun. They don’t spend ever stroke analyzing each component to improve.  The issue is, is the go getters who post more on this forum. 

Also you mentioned speed. A 2mph gain is big in this world.  Just like running.  6-7mph is a very different pace on the road. My workout pace is around 7mph. Over 5-6miles. To take that up .5mph requires significantly more effort. I think your expectations might have been skewed a bit. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago #37102 by mrcharly
Replied by mrcharly on topic I guess that's it for now.
What kwolfe said.

If I wanted to just mess around at sea, catch an occasional wave, I'd buy a sea kayak. Probably paddle it with euro (not wing) blades as well.

If I want to go fast out at sea, I'd buy a surf ski.

If I wanted to noodle around on a quiet river, I'd get a canoe. 

He's correct about speed as well. On flat water (in a K1) I can cruise at 10kph (6.25mph) for several hours. Ask me to up that to 11kph (6.875mph) and I can only sustain that for about 10km and that is pushing myself. 12kph? I can sustain that for a couple of km.

A very small speed increase requiring a lot more power. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago #37103 by DrA5
Replied by DrA5 on topic I guess that's it for now.
Not to threadjack, but I feel for the OP.  I am in the same boat, no pun intended.  I was a sea kayaker until several skis started showing up at our weekly paddle nights.  I enjoyed competition, just getting off two decades of racing road bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross, and motorcycles. I wanted to race something safer since racing motorcycles cost me a year of work following a huge crash and subsequent surgeries.  I started with a V10 Sport, first-gen.  Too much for me. Sold that and went to a V8.  I liked the fact all you needed was a PFD, paddle and leash and that was it.  Easier to get into, no need for a skirt and pump, etc.  I also cannot roll a sea kayak and I think I need that skill to be doing anything but inland lake paddling.; So, it made paddling a surfski more desirable, as its just one way to get back in, versus roll/paddle float/scramble, etc.  But I never got comfortable in the chop that is the Great Lakes. Little to no swell, just short duration chop.  I never got to experience "downwind".  Then, the races started drying up around here.  I put on more weight.   I was crammed in the ski cockpit and unable to settle in. That affected balance.  However canted my hips were when I got in was how I was destined to be until next time. Reentries were difficult as my hips didn't slide into place level and re-adjusting usually meant another swim.  I went out twice this year in the V8, didn't have fun, even fighting for balance in ski boat waves, and parked it up, bringing back out the sea kayak.  I am thinking of selling the V8, work hard on dropping the weight and maybe get back into it later.  We'll see.  But it was the one thing I was looking forward to.  Paddling the big water in everything but nasty conditions. Racing. Fitness. Speed.  Ease of prep (load the few things and go....). Lighter weight.   But it never materialized and I echo the disappointment that the OP has with the sport. It was a lot of build-up in my mind that didn't pay off. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #37104 by SpaceSputnik

kwolfe wrote: They don’t spend ever stroke analyzing each component to improve


I did exactly that diligently for 2 years and it didn't pan out. Could never really get sustained speeds to over 5 mp/h no matter what boat, which is not much different that what I get in a sea kayak. 
EDIT: well, ok, I about 1 km/h faster in the Evo than in a kayak, but with a huge trade off in where and when I can paddle. 

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #37105 by zachhandler
My understanding of the physics of hull design is that at lower speeds there is little to no advantage to a longer skinner hull. I don't know the exact speeds but I think it pans out roughly like this: At very low speeds, maybe 3-4 mph, a V5 is more efficient than a v14.  As speeds increase the faster hulls start to catch up. In the 5-6 mph range all hulls are probably about the same speed.  Starting at around 7 mph the speed advantage of the faster designs is quite noticeable and as speed goes up from there it becomes increasingly large. At the 8.5-9 mph marathon pace of the elites it is huge.  This is another reason why beginner boats are good for beginners. At those lower seeds the fast boats aren't really much faster, even if balance were not an issue. And of course for beginners balance is THE issue. 

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