I guess that's it for now.

3 months 3 weeks ago #37106 by SpaceSputnik
Length-wise, yes long doesn't really help at lower speeds, but more advanced boats are also narrower and seem easier to push through water. That was quite noticeable with the SES and I liked that part, but it came with a huge cost in other areas and I would still cap out somewhere under 6mph sustained effort, so it didn't seem worth continuing. Besides, I lost a bit of weight and as a result became sensitive to butt bones rubbing against the hard bucket, so I called it.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37107 by Epicpaddler
Zach is right about the speed differential. Last week when I demoed the v10 and v12 they felt almost identical to my v8pro below 6mph. I was a little disappointed at first. I can cruise comfortably around 5.5-6mph in my v8pro in most sea conditions (except maybe a crushing headwind). For me to get to 7mph I have to go all all out and can't sustain it for more than about 5k. The v10 and v12 were able to hold speed above 6mph with the same amount of work. I could (maybe) go all out in a v10 in decent conditions and hold 7mph for 10k. The v12 is faster, but as I run out of steam my technique goes to hell and stability becomes a major issue.

I get where the OP is coming from. Surfski paddling is a unique take on kayaking. It takes a lot of technical skill and effort to be a successful competitor. It's amazing to me how some of the guys I race with can paddle a 10k at an 8mph pace. I don't think with any degree of training I'll get to that level.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37108 by zachhandler
You did pretty well as a beginner if you could keep a SES upright!

i have experienced the same thing with weight loss. Buckets become less comfortable and boats become tippier. 
The following user(s) said Thank You: SpaceSputnik

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37109 by SpaceSputnik
I went V7-Evo-SES. Somewhere along the way I test paddled a V10L 1st gen I believe. Didn't swim.
Keeping upright is only a part of the story. We have plenty of challenging waters around Toronto. In a somewhat tippy 18x I do ok there, especially with a carbon Greenland paddle. It was pretty close to a no go zone for me in the Evo or SES. Never really swam but it was not fun.
But given some progress speed-wise I'd stay with these boats but that just wasn't happening so at some point I had to ask myself what exactly I am doing here?

zachhandler wrote: You did pretty well as a beginner if you could keep a SES upright!

i have experienced the same thing with weight loss. Buckets become less comfortable and boats become tippier. 

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37110 by zachhandler
This is not a critique of you SpaceSputnik, but of surfski culture as a whole. I think that the urge to progress rapidly to more and more tippy boats is very unfortunate. I understand where it comes from and I succumb to it too. I would be a better paddler if both my ski and my K1 were a bit more stable. But it is hard to resist. By our very nature we are all competitive (with ourselves if nothing else) and like to achieve and accomplish.  The people I have personally seen progress quickly through skis never mange to progress as a paddler. Just as they start to get to the point of comfort in a ski where they can start to improve technique, they get a tipper ski and they are back to square one. They never improve. When people are considering a v8 as a first ski, but wonder if they should get something "faster", I always say "you never outgrow a v8". It is true. Look at what boyan does in a v8 in Tarifa . Believe me I am not criticizing you at all. It is a problem with the culture of the sport as a whole and most of us (myself included) succumb to it. 

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #37124 by Paddlehead
I always thought the point was to have fun. If it's not fun, don't do it. If paddling a v5 floats your boat, that's cool. If you like the challenge of paddling something way too tippy, that's also cool. That's the beauty of this sport. 2 years in this sport is nothing. Unless you're a paddling prodigy, 2 years is still beginner stage. I've done this for 18 years and I'm still crap.....but I can't wait to get up and paddle most days, because it's fun

Current: NK Storm 61, Kayak Centre Zeplin.

Past: Epic gen3 V10, Fenn Elite carbon, Fenn Elite Vac glass, Fenn Elite SL, Gen 1 Stellar SEL ultra, Epic V10 gen 2, Carbonology Vault, Fenn Swordfish, Red7 pro 70, Think Legend, Red7 60, Fenn Xt.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37125 by Epicpaddler
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.

Did that yesterday. Since I we rarely have good downwind conditions, this is the closest I get. Definitely a "a-ha" moment. almost got swamped by a massive cabin cruiser, but then hopped on his wake and shot off like a rocket. Loved the feeling of being on the edge of control and cruising faster than I could ever paddle. Glanced at my gps and was doing 10-11mph! Never felt safe doing that in my sea kayak. This is where the surfski shines. Racing is fun and challenging, but I can see how legit downwind paddling/surfsking can be addictive.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37126 by SpaceSputnik
In these two years I caught exactly one run by an accident.
That was nice but generally around Toronto it's not easy to find suitable conditions. Some people find runs somewhere but I am still not sure where and how.
These are certainly challenging waters but more in a confused mess kind of way. More people do break surfing in sea kayaks than surfski runs. The kind of thing where you surf short period waves sideways. That's certainly sea kayak territory since bit requires crazy amount of leaning and heavy bracing.
Places like Toronto harbor on a sunny summer day are also kayak territory. It gets churned up almost like a washing machine.

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #37127 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic I guess that's it for now
Riding to shore while broached and edging hard to avoid capsizing is part of but not really the intent of surfing a sea kayak. I’ve heard it referred to, somewhat derisively, as bongo-riding. Cuz it can be a very bouncy ride.

A good thing with a sea kayak is to come in facing forward or slightly angled off and then do a 180 pivot when the hull is perfectly placed on a wave (heips to have a lot of rocker). It’s hard to time perfectly and, yeah, you had better have your skills down. (Sound familiar?) The motivation to get it right is that then you don’t need to yank the skirt, jump out, and then go through the launching-in-surf work again, including skirting in without getting swamped right away, or broached before you restart. If you miss the pivot or capsize in deep enough water, you can either turn around and paddle HARD to get going again, or roll  up first etc but often it is too shallow already.

I got lucky when a sandbar parallel to shore bounced an incoming wave right back toward me, so those are helpful because you are looking right toward the rebound coming at you and can pivot on the OUTGOING wave. Gives a good boost of speed before having to paddle harder through the incoming ones.

Short-kayak surfers also consider long-boat surfing mostly straight in to be not really surfing. Watch them work a wave a long ways by coming in NOT straight, like toying with  the wave and teasing it; it is like watching board surfers.

If people are surfing sea kayaks in your area, try to meet them and ask what conditions they consider good for that spot. Wave ski paddlers will like different waves than longboat paddlers will, though it depends on the kind of wave ski they use. If the surf there is not so good, do you have other things to play with? Where I used to live, we had interesting and strong tidal currents in many places, not much surf. I could access this without even having to drive (portaged my SK on a cart).

Here, no such thing. But I was correct one day so far about assessing wind direction, speed, and fetch at one reservoir, to allow chasing small bumps. Have had no such luck yet in the other reservoir I routinely paddle at. But I have no doubt it’ll be much less than two years before another such good day. The first place also has sailing classes, and possibly the instructors would know more about typical wind patterns there. At the latter, it is mostly powerboats, and frankly many of them are totally clueless.

Maybe you can get wind beta from windsurfers or kiteboarders in your area.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #37128 by SpaceSputnik
I certainly know the people who kayak surf. These conditions also require a bit of chasing as well, but seem generally more attainable than the swell.

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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #37150 by zachhandler
 Maybe a moot point now space sputnik but here is what I have learned about finding downwind conditions, based on 10 years of almost exclusively freshwater wave chasing. Any time there are white caps the waves are surfable. Anytime there are not whitecaps it is not surfable. There are some conditions that are surfable without whitecaps, but those conditions require much more speed and power and are not really pertinent to this discussion. Basically if you see white, you can downwind.  Realistically it probably requires 18” wave height to really feel the wave in full length surfski, and in my experience that requires  as little as 1/2 or as much as 2 miles of fetch depending on wind strength. Anytime the wind is 15 mph or more these conditions will exist.  If setting up a point to point DW is not possible, then out and back runs of a mile or so is what most people do.  

Also you do not really surf swell.  You surf wind waves. If there happens to be swell going roughly the same direction as the wind, and you are skilled and fast enough, you might be able to ride swell, but even in those cases you need to surf the wind waves to catch the swell. So just ignore swell and only pay attention to the wind waves.  At least that is my take on wind waves vs swell as an intermediate DW paddler. Surf ninjas out there feel free to correct me. 

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3 months 1 week ago #37166 by XLV
Replied by XLV on topic I guess that's it for now.

zachhandler wrote: Basically if you see white, you can downwind.


As a beginner, looking for the whitecaps is the only way I've been able to reliably find downwind runs in Southern California. The NOAA forecast, and even windy.com, aren't precise enough to tell me if the conditions are good at any given moment. What I've found is that I can sometimes get a run in even though the NOAA reports is only showing ~1ft wind waves (and in reality it's more like 2-3 ft)

I'm lucky that there's live camera feed of my local beaches (surfline) - basically, if there's white, I'm going out preparing for a downwind run.

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3 months 1 week ago #37171 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic I guess that's it for now.
Yes on seeing whitecaps. Sustained whitecaps. I’ve been skunked by quickly-shifting winds or intermittent gusts. Seems that moderate, steady, constant wind will generate enough to have fun with. Anything less still adds a bit of speed downwind but not that feeling.

Gonna recon a long, narrow reservoir known for being windy. It’s a long drive but might be worth checking out.

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3 months 1 week ago #37172 by Paddlehead
Down wind paddling doesn't necessarily need white caps. It makes it easier,simply because there is more wind and that makes you faster. I suspect this is where boat choice is a factor. 
I paddle in a large bay (Geographe Bay}. Our downwinds tend to be
very organised, with little swell and bounce back. Consequently. most of the time you can paddle a tippy boat, if you choose your days. A Fenn Elite or Elite S or V12 will catch every bump on the water and just hold them. A couple of strokes, bang, off you go. A V8 won't. My V10 won't. That is just a fact of life. The v10 is a brilliant boat but it doesn't catch runs the same way my Elite did. It requires more effort and speed to get the boat running. The Epic range catch runs differently to the Fenn range. My Zeplin gets on to runs and holds them better than my v10, simply because of the rocker. A wider, low rocker boat will struggle to catch small bumps. That;s the challenge of surfski paddling. Stability v speed. Where I live I prefer a more difficult ski and I pick the days I use it. 

Current: NK Storm 61, Kayak Centre Zeplin.

Past: Epic gen3 V10, Fenn Elite carbon, Fenn Elite Vac glass, Fenn Elite SL, Gen 1 Stellar SEL ultra, Epic V10 gen 2, Carbonology Vault, Fenn Swordfish, Red7 pro 70, Think Legend, Red7 60, Fenn Xt.

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3 months 1 week ago #37174 by Epicpaddler
Paddlehead,

So surprised to hear your v10g3 doesn't catch runs well. I recently paddled a v10g2 and a v12g2. I assumed the v1og3 would be the same fit, but better for surfing cause of to the increased rocker. I'd love to try the v12 again in decent downwind conditions. 

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3 months 1 week ago #37177 by tve
Replied by tve on topic I guess that's it for now.
I'm also surprised by the V10g3 mention. I alternate paddling a V10g3 Ultra and a V12g2 Elite in the ocean and while it feels like the V12 catches small waves just a tad better I'd be hard pressed to show it. To me the V10 is a V12 with much more stability and easy remount, leaving just a little smidge of advantage to the V12 for the elite racers (I still miss the occasional stroke on the V12, which means I'm almost certainly faster in the V10 overall).

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3 months 1 week ago #37181 by manta
Replied by manta on topic I guess that's it for now.
To the OP

Dude, I feel for you.

I live in what is most likely the most competitive surf ski area in the world. Fishhoek Cape Town South Africa, home of the legendary Miller's run. The level of competition here is simply next level. 

I have been paddling my Fenn BlueFin for three years. If I kill myself speed wise I can get 9.5 - 9.8km/h. Where I paddle that means I am dead last in every race and every paddle. There was one girl I could beat but she doesn't paddle anymore so I am last again :) 

I used to be a national champion in mixed martial arts (MMA) so know how to compete at a high level. All the years of MMA led to injuries especially in my shoulders so I cannot paddle like other people. I have had to make peace with my speed. I may be able to eek out another 1km/h if I get a skinny boat but the lack of stability would most likely keep me where I am speed wise. It used to piss me off no end that everyone was faster than me no matter how hard I paddled or trained.

One day I realised I don't paddle my ski for those fast guys. They paddle to be fast and to beat other people's times. Who cares, really, unless you are in line to be a national or other champion it is just a measuring competition. It means nothing. I paddle because I love being on the ocean. I love to paddle a ski because a ski allows me to go into rough water and if I fall in I can remount with ease. I paddle a ski because occasionally I can catch a run and the occasional run makes it all worth while. I paddle a ski because I can surf it at my local surf break and it is super fun.

So you need to identify why you paddle a ski. If I paddled for speed or to be competitive I would have quit years ago. I actually came close to quitting but realised it was trying to be competitive that was making me negative. So I just let that competitive thing go. 

I will never be an elite paddler and will most likely always be a back marker. Who cares, my ego can handle it. Think about why you want  to paddle a ski. Once you have your true motivation sorted you may find yourself back in a ski and loving it for you and not for other people or their expectations.

M
The following user(s) said Thank You: zachhandler, leolinha

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3 months 2 days ago #37213 by CrabStick
Many wise words for you there, Sputnik. You've done really well in your relatively short paddling career and sounds like it's just time for a break. It can't be easy getting motivated to get out in those cold conditions especially if you're not getting wave catching opportunities.
Hopefully there will come a time when you can discover some fun in the sport and not be too concerned with speed or how advanced your boat is. Everyone is prone to this and there is great satisfaction in feeling what an elite boat is capable of and how it responds to good technique and a nice wave. There is more fun though in being relaxed in a boat you are comfortable in and really enjoying the conditions.
What next? If travel was possible you could look out for a surfski holiday or lessons in nice conditions. Highly recommend Tarifa with Boyan. Until then you could find yourself a glassy lake up north and just cruise through the amazing scenery and feel that glide through the water. You might be able to get close to nature which is another joy of surfski for me here in Western Australia. I'm lucky to have close encounters with dolphins, pelicans and ospreys and have even had a few surprise visits from flying fish! Have been hit on arm and face and had one land in my cockpit! Have even seen Sunfish and up (respectfully) close with Humpback mum and calf. There must be an Ontario equivalent....,your next challenge could be to go over a beaver, under a moose, and around a Loon in one weekend!
Anyway, I'm sure many others have appreciated your enthusiasm on this forum and look forward to future installments from your paddling  journey.

CrabStick

Current Boats: BlueFin S, Swordfish S, Fenn Spark S
Previous: Think Eze, Stellar SR, Carbonology Boost LV

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3 months 1 day ago #37223 by SpaceSputnik
Thank you so much for writing this, I really appreciate it.
My paddling career is definitely not over :) I have been having a blast in my kayaks, the 18x and recently acquired Zegul Arrow Play. I am chewing in miles and learning new skills. 
I love extra long exhausting hauls. About a month ago I did self-propelled 58 km with only a couple of stops in the 18x and certainly want a repeat of that haul. So performance is still a pretty big thing for me, I just don't do well in 1-2-3 hour higher energy stints that seem typical for people on skis, but going slow and steady seems to be working for me.
I appear to do equally well in the 18x knees up with a wing paddle as in the skegged Zegul with a greenland paddle. There's basically no appreciable speed difference. I can put whatever modest hammer I have down with a GP just the same as with any of my wing paddles. I am beginning to think there is more than one way to skin the cat and whatever works better for a particular body can vary greatly. I have seen sea kayakers and canoe paddlers (not an OC, I am talking Kruger canoes)  basically perform at the same level as what you would expect from an average Joe in a V8. While Big O (whom I love dearly) and others preach this one particular gospel, it just perhaps not quite right to expect that one single way of paddling will make everyone their fastest. 

CrabStick wrote: Many wise words for you there, Sputnik. You've done really well in your relatively short paddling career and sounds like it's just time for a break. It can't be easy getting motivated to get out in those cold conditions especially if you're not getting wave catching opportunities.
Hopefully there will come a time when you can discover some fun in the sport and not be too concerned with speed or how advanced your boat is. Everyone is prone to this and there is great satisfaction in feeling what an elite boat is capable of and how it responds to good technique and a nice wave. There is more fun though in being relaxed in a boat you are comfortable in and really enjoying the conditions.
What next? If travel was possible you could look out for a surfski holiday or lessons in nice conditions. Highly recommend Tarifa with Boyan. Until then you could find yourself a glassy lake up north and just cruise through the amazing scenery and feel that glide through the water. You might be able to get close to nature which is another joy of surfski for me here in Western Australia. I'm lucky to have close encounters with dolphins, pelicans and ospreys and have even had a few surprise visits from flying fish! Have been hit on arm and face and had one land in my cockpit! Have even seen Sunfish and up (respectfully) close with Humpback mum and calf. There must be an Ontario equivalent....,your next challenge could be to go over a beaver, under a moose, and around a Loon in one weekend!
Anyway, I'm sure many others have appreciated your enthusiasm on this forum and look forward to future installments from your paddling  journey.

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3 months 1 day ago #37227 by Arcturus
Replied by Arcturus on topic I guess that's it for now.
I just don't do well in 1-2-3 hour higher energy stints that seem typical for people on skis, but going slow and steady seems to be working for me.


This is also part of doing what works best for your body. I loved longer bike rides while touring, but for racing I did best at medium distances. And even just touring more than 80 miles in a day wasn’t as fun for me as fewer miles than that.

Paddling isn’t my or your job or a chore. You might as well pick what you enjoy the most.

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