Should I stay or should I go? How big is too big?

1 month 4 weeks ago #39268 by mrcharly
I've paddled in some windy conditions here - 40knots being the strongest wind to date.

Forecast for Sat is 29 gusting 36knots.

Swell  . . . We've had a few days of strong wind, from the south, which is virtually unlimited fetch. Swell is big.

4-5 metres. 

I think that the largest I've been out in so far is 2m.

According to  www.surfline.com/surf-news/fast-swell-travel/87799  a swell with a period of 11s will be travelling at about 16 knots. That's about 29kilometres per hour!

I've never even seen (from land or boat) swell moving that fast. Inconceivable!

Stay on land or venture out to taste the wild?  I can set off in a sea loch and get a feel for milder conditions before reaching the sea swell.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 4 weeks ago #39269 by agooding2
Key question is can you rescue yourself if things go wrong? Sounds terrifying to me personally.

4-5 meters is a whole lot bigger and more powerful than 2 meters so unless you have a group of paddlers or a failsafe rescue I would skip it and paddle another day.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Streuer Fejna, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 4 weeks ago #39270 by mrcharly
I can't even imagine a 4m swell looks like from a surfski. 
The speed worries me; I have a slow ski (nelo 510) and on a 2m swell I found it challenging to get the boat speed up high enough to catch the swell. If I didn't match speed fast enough, then the tendency to broach is strong.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 4 weeks ago #39271 by agooding2
What would happen if you dumped? Driven into a rocky shore with waves crashing on you? Floating holding onto the surfski for dear life? Could you remount in those conditions? Could anyone help you?

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Streuer Fejna, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 4 weeks ago #39272 by MarineO6
If you decide to go, please use a GoPro or something to catch the action.
Assuming you make it back I would be interested to see what those conditions look like from a ski perspective.
 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 3 weeks ago #39273 by LaPerouseBay

If you decide to go, please use a GoPro or something to catch the action.
Assuming you make it back I would be interested to see what those conditions look like from a ski perspective.

 

Here you go.  Maliko run.  North shore of Maui.  10-12 foot seas, gusting to 50mph.  E wind, E swell.  Zero north swell.  Wind is a bit offshore, but not bad.  It was just about perfect for something that windy.  Things can get far more challenging. when wind or groundswells are a bit off.  I don't do Maliko on iffy days anymore.  Gotta be perfect directions, sunny.    

Every run has it's own rules.  I think it's best to be very cautious when it gets windy or a groundswell is running.
 

downwind dilettante
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rod Thomas

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 3 weeks ago #39274 by MarineO6
Nice, thanks for the vid.
Those are some pretty gnarly looking conditions, but at least in HI you won’t die from hypothermia!
How far offshore are you on that run?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 3 weeks ago #39275 by mrcharly
Well that was interesting.

Cold, wind initially dropped and swung from south to northerly. Snow.

Made a number of mistakes. I check windspeeds from readings at the local airport. That has consistently shown a wind direction from the south, so I assumed the swell would be from the south. 
My plan therefore was to paddle roughly south from where I live, across the mouth of two lochs, then duck behind a chain of small islands before pulling out onto the open water and riding the swell back north. 

Well, the swell wasn't from the south. It was from the east - so completely the wrong direction for me. Followed part 1 of the plan thinking that maybe the swell remnants in the loch had been refracted by the headlands. 

Nope, it was more of an ESE -> WNW running swell.

Picked up some of it at the headland, but realised that I was not fit enough to fight what was a building northerly, 15-20 knots, and a largish swell. A niggling shoulder strain was making itself known, which made me cautious. Sub-zero windchill with poor visibility and night coming add to my being cautious. So I just peeked out to look at the swell. 

Not huge, about 2m, but enough to make me cautious, since if I went around the headland, the shore was just 10-30m vertical cliffs.
    
So I followed part 2 of the plan, sneaking through the island chain in a blizzard of snow. A little communing with the resident seal pack, then home.

Lessons learnt

Don't depend on wind direction shown at one place (windfinder.com). Go and observe.
Don't depend on the wave directions shown on websites. Windy.com is claiming the swell is running north-south. Erm, no, it is ESE -> WNW
Bring gloves for portage home. I was fine when paddling, but my hands froze in the 15 min it took to get boat on trolley and trudge home. Bring gloves.
Paddle more often to maintain fitness.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 3 weeks ago #39276 by LaPerouseBay

... at least in HI you won’t die from hypothermia!
How far offshore are you on that run?

Water temp is about 78 degrees all year.  Sounds warm, but it's enough to get you, it just takes more time.
              
Distance offshore:  The ruler in that last picture is 1.24 miles.
    
Local knowledge of the shallow areas on that reef are important.  Those numbers are in fathoms, 6 feet.  So, I'm floating along in 150 to 50 feet or so in the video.  But it gets pretty shallow just a stone's throw to my left.   I prefer to skirt that reef if the swell is approaching 10 feet. 

That other paddler is super strong, he windsurfs 60 foot faces at Jaws.  He's relatively new in Oc-1 and downwinding.  I kept us within view of the leash breaking, boat smashing blue zone.  But we were just nibbling around the edges.  He got knocked out of the boat 3 times.  He was very relaxed and calm throughout the run.  He regularly plays in bigger scarier stuff over at Hookipa and Kanaha.

Another super strong guy did the run just behind us and we drove him back up to Maliko.  He's a born and raised - very experienced - true waterman.  He's also very, very fast in his Oc-1.  He said it was on his all time top 5 scariest Maliko runs.  He of course, shot thru that blue section, running for his life ahead of unforgiving, breaking waves.  He said the scary part was the knowledge of how bad it was going to be if he got separated from his boat. 

It's tough swimming in big wind/swells.  Please be extra careful, everyone.  And for heaven's sake, carry a PLB, not just a phone.  If it gets ugly, you can call 911.  Tell them you are going to activate your PLB if necessary and they will coordinate with SAR.  The coast guard may not launch, but they damn sure will know where you are with that powerful GPS signal blasting up to their satellites.  Don't trust your life to a shitty little device designed to work on land.  And wear a PFD and bright colors.  If not for yourself, for your paddling partners.  It helps. 

That little camera icon is where the video starts and stops.  The red line is from the garmin on my wrist, dropped into Google Earth Pro (free).  I also downloaded the chart from the web and overlayed it into Google Earth.  Pretty handy for a south shore guy that got tired of getting beat down on the north shore.  Visual cues are important to stay safe when Maliko gets big.  Distance from shore, water color, etc. are important.  Video and Google Earth has been very helpful.  I can rewatch and remember the good spots and not so good spots and be ready for next time, even if I'm away for weeks and months.  

   
 
      

downwind dilettante
Attachments:
The following user(s) said Thank You: MarineO6

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 month 3 weeks ago - 1 month 3 weeks ago #39280 by mrcharly
Well that was interesting.
Cold, wind initially dropped and swung from south to northerly. Snow.
Made a number of mistakes. I check windspeeds from readings at the local airport. That has consistently shown a wind direction from the south, so I assumed the swell would be from the south.
My plan therefore was to paddle roughly south from where I live, across the mouth of two lochs, then duck behind a chain of small islands before pulling out onto the open water and riding the swell back north.
Well, the swell wasn't from the south. It was from the east - so completely the wrong direction for me. Followed part 1 of the plan thinking that maybe the swell remnants in the loch had been refracted by the headlands.
Nope, it was more of an ESE -> WNW running swell.
Picked up some of it at the headland, but realised that I was not fit enough to fight what was a building northerly, 15-20 knots, and a largish swell. So I just peeked out to look at it.
Not huge, about 2m, but enough to make me cautious, since if I went around the headland, the shore was just 10-30m vertical cliffs. A very inhospitable lee shore.
So I followed part 2 of the plan, sneaking through the island chain in a blizzard of snow and back again. A little communing with the resident seal pack, then home.
Lessons learnt

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Epic rudder conduit repair (1 Posts)

9 hours 25 minutes ago

General questions on repairing an EPIC Elite. (3 Posts)

3 days 10 hours ago
Goldschmidt's Avatar

What's new in surfskis for 2022? (3 Posts)

3 days 17 hours ago
Protected by R Antispam