Lamenting Flat Water

7 months 3 days ago #38660 by MCImes
Lamenting Flat Water was created by MCImes
We've been deprived of good downwind days in my area of Southern California for the last year or so. Normally our big days come ahead or behind storms and as you may have heard we're in a historic drought, so lots of (relatively) flat ocean and chasing sailboats and ferries.

Even when we have had wind the conditions aren't surfable by me much of the time. As I've been trying to get out at least 3x a week in preparation for The Gorge, I have been forcing myself to go out and get the miles in but honestly not looking forward to half the paddles - Flat Water is not fun to me!

Last night however was nearly perfect! Due West 21kt wind gusting to 25, Primary west groundswell 3-5ft, relatively short period like 6 seconds, plus 1ft west wind waves at ~3 seconds, plus 1-2ft NW wind waves at ~3 seconds, plus some small secondary swell coming from the SW and NW. I battled upwind about a mile WNW and turned around. The wind waves were perfectly surfable and boosted me onto the groundswell with relative ease. Lots of open water breakers as the swell intersected. I took 2 separate hits from breaking waves at neck level more than a half mile off shore. I like those days!

I wish I had brought my GoPro because the conditions looked like a washing machine but were actually very good (but highly technical too). The 45* intersection of the swell meant I'd pickup the wind swell heading SE then when I felt the boost of the groundswell turn due E for just a tad before turning SE again to pick up the wind swell. It required perfect timing, a lot of effort to catch the swell, and really good balance (if you stopped paddling for even a stroke or 2 at the wave crest I'd lose the wave. I've been living by the mantra 'paddle or capsize' lately, meaning I refuse to brace or stop paddling when cresting a wave. I'll either catch it or swim trying. As I've forced myself to do this, I've developed better balance at the wave crest which I think is key for catching fast swell, and I dont swim that often. I recommend this philosophy).

But man it was a good night. the combination of waves meant it was possible for me to jump groundswell waves, which is nearly impossible in our average conditions. I think my best run of the night I jumped over a full set of groundswell, 5 waves maybe, and outran the entire set. That never happens! I felt like Hercules or the Mockes or something. It was grand. Truly satisfying paddling.

I had more paddle-up surfing last night than I have in the last couple months and it reminded me why I love ski.

It also reminded me how good the Swordfish-S is in sloppy conditions. That boat just loves it. No slapping, good tracking, deep, reliable
secondary stability. Picks up the smallest waves. The only boat I lust
after now is a Vega or Vega Flex.

I know flat water has a place in training, but in my book its booooooooooooorrrrrring. Screw Flat water. I resent it (when im in my ski - other boats its fine). I almost forgot how much fun a perfect ripping day can be. These boats are made for waves. Double overhead. Open water breaking. A raging wind at my back. Jumping groundswell. Paddle up surfing. That's what living is in my book.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to The Gorge and its predictably great waves in a couple short weeks! Hope to see all the regulars there!

Cheers

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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7 months 2 days ago #38661 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Lamenting Flat Water
Feel the stoke Marcus! You will crush it at the gorge!

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

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7 months 1 day ago - 7 months 1 day ago #38669 by tve
Replied by tve on topic Lamenting Flat Water

We've been deprived of good downwind days in my area of Southern California for the last year or so. Normally our big days come ahead or behind storms and as you may have heard we're in a historic drought, so lots of (relatively) flat ocean and chasing sailboats and ferries.


Hmm, just half an hour drive west (Santa Barbara) we've been having pretty decent conditions. Just this week two DW that were basically perfect. Here's my speed in mph for tuesday (lots of rest periods, not trying to beat any records):

that's a lot of runs above 9mph... This is the chart for today:

The wind and waves were a bit lesser and I tried not to push quite as hard (but it's so addictive). Still, in that center section I was >8mph for most of 15 minutes (avg 8.8mph), that translates to a lot of fun in my book!
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7 months 5 hours ago #38676 by daisylui
Replied by daisylui on topic Lamenting Flat Water
"I know flat water has a place in training, but in my book its booooooooooooorrrrrring. Screw Flat water." 
Yes, skies are designed to surf but I don't find any time spent in a ski as boring. Where I paddle downwind moments are a treat that, like any other pleasures are rare and short lived. Plus I don't have the luxury of someone waiting for me to pick me up so downwind is a two way street for me and need to carefully measure my addiction to surfing knowing that there must be a come back too- upwind. Going upwind I look for any little help I can get from changing currents or boat wakes, choosing the easiest path rather than the shortest one. 

Most of the time is just tidal currents and wind [which usually goes against the current], and the occasional boat wake to surf on back and forth. 'Training' is my constant experience- well, I'm not training for anything, just paddling; looking for the perfect stroke that pushes the boat gliding with minimum effort. I enjoy the effort and also enjoy the rare and swift occasions of surfing [don't think I've surfed more that 10 seconds on a wave so far...] Also, flat is seldom flat- most often there's some irregular texture on the water created by currents and wind, that keeps me focused and challenged. I enjoy that too. 

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