× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

How to get faster - Technique or fitness or both

2 months 1 week ago #33737 by manta

Dicko wrote: Buy a Zeplin if you’re in SA. Half a k faster straight away. Goes like the clappers downwind. If you’ve been paddling 18 months and can’t paddle that you should probably buy a bike instead.


Never heard of this ski and quite sure I have never seen one on the water either.

I am looking hard at the new Fenn XT - S. 

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2 months 1 week ago #33738 by manta

Henning DK wrote: Since you are actually quite fast and strong, but "My balance is not good enough for a true intermediate boat" I would certainly recommend working on your technique with focus on stability. 


I can paddle a much tippier ski in flatter conditions but as I always paddle on the ocean, conditions change rapidly. A good example would be I paddled in Hout Bay the other day and it was flat in the bay but when I went out the bay it was like a washing machine. My mate was in his Think Evo and he was bracing more than paddling. I was even challenged in the Blue Finn.

So yes, you are right I need to work on my technique as well as my balance and how they combine. I think this is what makes Surfski so much fun. The conditions we paddle in are incredibly dynamic and essentially we are looking for a boat and a set of skills that we can use no matter what.

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2 months 1 week ago #33739 by manta

SpaceSputnik wrote: Thanks Manta, looks like there is hope me me yet :)
I know what you mean about late exit, working on that.
I feel like my boat is a problem as well, it's heavy and dull. Switching to an intermediate ski for this season as my balance doesn't seem to be an issue. Doubt I will be using the V7 much. Just lugging that thing around is a killer.
Other things too. My regular mid wing feels too aggressive so I am going with a small instead.
But technique work is probably the most important. We are still in the thick of winter so I am doing pretend paddles at home while sitting on a swiss ball which I hope would help the balance as well. It certainly improving on the ball but how much that would translate to water I am not entirely sure.


I have been watching a lot of technique videos. One thing I have noticed is when the pace increases the paddle comes out sooner. If you look at sprint kayakers, some of them are taking the blade out mid thigh. They are also paddling at 16km/h.

So I know my exit is an issue and this is going to be my focus area for the moment.

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2 months 1 week ago #33741 by Dicko
The Zeplin is produced in SA by the Kayak Centre.
Here is an old review ttps://www.surfski.info/reviews/surfskis/story/1267/surfskiinfo-review-kayak-centre-zeplin.html
 You said you wanted to go faster. I think an XT is a sort of sideways progression. It is only marginally faster
than a bluefin. The Zeplin is a VERY stable ski, that will give you XT type stability with swordfish like speed.
Worth looking for. I have a mate who has 20+ ski's, most of them very skinny. The Zeplin is the one ski he won't sell. The lumpier it gets the better it seems to go. Really hard ski to find, but worth the effort if you can source one.
Everyone of the people that is faster than you were in the same spot you are in. Personally I went from a plastic Endorfin to an XT. I kept the XT for a month before I wanted something quicker. That's how it works. Some boats just aren't that quick. A Bluefin is fun downwind, an XT is fun downwind, but there is a limit to what a boat can reasonably be expected to do.

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2 months 1 week ago #33742 by manta

Dicko wrote: The Zeplin is produced in SA by the Kayak Centre.
Here is an old review ttps://www.surfski.info/reviews/surfskis/story/1267/surfskiinfo-review-kayak-centre-zeplin.html
 You said you wanted to go faster. I think an XT is a sort of sideways progression. It is only marginally faster
than a bluefin. The Zeplin is a VERY stable ski, that will give you XT type stability with swordfish like speed.
Worth looking for. I have a mate who has 20+ ski's, most of them very skinny. The Zeplin is the one ski he won't sell. The lumpier it gets the better it seems to go. Really hard ski to find, but worth the effort if you can source one.
Everyone of the people that is faster than you were in the same spot you are in. Personally I went from a plastic Endorfin to an XT. I kept the XT for a month before I wanted something quicker. That's how it works. Some boats just aren't that quick. A Bluefin is fun downwind, an XT is fun downwind, but there is a limit to what a boat can reasonably be expected to do.


I see the Zeplin is still produced by Kayak centre. It can be ordered and they will make one for you. Obviously the prices etc. are all local and I doubt they would ship internationally. 

I would like to try one as buying a 8 year old design without trying it does not sound like a good idea. I will be trying quite a few ski's over the next few months. 
Fenn XTS
Fenn Swordfish S
Carbonology Boost
Carbonology Zest
Epic v8 Pro
Epic v10

Those are the ski's that are most readily available and I can most likely get a demo. I am worried in making too big a jump and then not being able to paddle optimally. Going to narrow and unstable too fast is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately I don't have the space for 2 ski's otherwise I would have kept the BlueFinn and bought something I can slowly grow into. 

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2 months 1 week ago #33752 by Dicko
These are all great boats. The v10 G3 is my all time favourite boat, but gets trickier as it gets rough. The Zeplin is such an underated boat. It is more stable than any boat on your list and will probably feel so good as you go past most of those boats on a good downwinder in your $900, 18 kg, 8 year old boat. I have paddled and owned a  lot of boats in the last 15 years and I've never paddled anything that runs along as easily as the Zeplin. It reminds me of a Fenn Elite in the way it catches and holds runs only it is ridiculously stable and if I fall out I can actually get back in it. The advantage it has over a swordie is the length., which means you can actually push through the wave in front, which a swordie seems to struggle with at times. If anyone in Australia has a carbon one I would be interested in  buying it. Does anyone else still paddle these skis, or do me and my mates have the only 3 in existence?

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2 months 1 week ago #33753 by robin.mousley

Does anyone else still paddle these skis, or do me and my mates have the only 3 in existence?

There's at least one carbon Zeplin in current use here in Cape Town, paddled by a large (not fat, just large) friend who loves it.

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 months 1 week ago #33754 by Dicko
I inherited mine a month ago when a mate sold it to buy a gen 3 v10. I suspect he regrets selling it (especially as he related how he'd just had 3 swims on his V10). The more I paddle it the better it seems to get. It really is a fun ski to paddle. Did a 10k downwind paddle yesterday and kept up with a mate in his 11kg swordie S without really trying.

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2 months 1 week ago #33755 by manta

robin.mousley wrote:

Does anyone else still paddle these skis, or do me and my mates have the only 3 in existence?

There's at least one carbon Zeplin in current use here in Cape Town, paddled by a large (not fat, just large) friend who loves it.


Maybe you can make an introduction Rob so I can see this unicorn of ski's.
Kayak centre will build one but it is 24K for a carbon and to spend that kind of cash without giving it a whirl sounds crazy.

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2 months 1 week ago #33756 by manta

Dicko wrote: I inherited mine a month ago when a mate sold it to buy a gen 3 v10. I suspect he regrets selling it (especially as he related how he'd just had 3 swims on his V10). The more I paddle it the better it seems to get. It really is a fun ski to paddle. Did a 10k downwind paddle yesterday and kept up with a mate in his 11kg swordie S without really trying.


What is it like on flat water? 
I only paddle on the ocean but I paddle in all conditions which includes flat days. So I am looking for a good all rounder. Good on the DW but also not a slug on the flat. My BF is a bit of a slug on the flat and really looking for anything that can help me speed up.

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2 months 6 days ago - 2 months 6 days ago #33801 by Watto
Technique, fitness or both?

Been paddling for about 40 years but not surf background, getting into downwind paddling about six years ago.  Though I've made a few downwind videos (one of my favourite days  Big Sunday downwinder ) where some of my own shit technique is clear - catch too far from the boat (excused myself initially blaming the wide angle GoPro), it wasn't until I did a training specific video of my own paddling from front mounted VIRB that I saw how crap parts of my technique are - in particular paddling at 100% to get onto the back of a Swan River ferry! Once on I was paddling ok at around 15kmh however not at all pretty getting there. And isn't that when technique is so important down winding, that moment of attack? 

An elementary teaching and coaching strategy is modelling, show and tell if you like, based on a whole-part-whole model.  You show the whole, then demonstrate a part of the whole, this part then emulated by the student, and these gradually aggregated to complete the whole,  which the student replicates. Obvious in all of this is good practice (practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!) based on good/perfect models. 

Point here is in the modelling. I've just re-watched maybe half a dozen videos of a range of paddlers in action including Clint Robinson, Greg Barton, Oscar,  Tim Brabant s ,  Zsolt , and  Lisa Carrington  and while all have differences in their technique, I'm off right now with my VIRB bow mounted and a list in the boat of what I'm emulating - paddle entry, torso rotation, legs etc etc. And I'm going to do this until Mr Shit-paddling-technique moves closer to those I'm modelling from. Of relevance to the technique/fitness topic -  if you don't have a coach to identify where your technique is limited, then look at models; next look at what you do in comparison. Aim then to reduce the differential. (Yup, need a camera though.)

And I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above in terms of different strategies to improve. From my training session the other day because I've been otherwise occupied and not paddling much, you can only maintain good form when your body can carry it, so it's the whole picture. 

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2 months 6 days ago #33802 by Watto
Have to add these below. While unremarkable in themselves, I took these from the finishing point of a pre-Doctor race a couple of years ago. Hank MacGregor absolutely streeted the field, no-one else in sight however while he was a dot a couple of hundred metres away I got a decent view of him with a big lens and he was smashing it. Blown the last one up so a bit blurry nonetheless with no-one even close to him and no-one apparently watching him from that distance he was kicking up huge paddle backspray from his efforts. 

Reason I'm posting these is that even under big work load there's great technique about to spear in  paddle close to boat and in that second shot what amazing rotation!



Attachments:

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2 months 6 days ago #33804 by Epicpaddler
Wow, that last shot is pretty telling. I'm sure my rotation isn't close to that in reality. I'll have to try videotaping my stroke with the GoPro and break it down into single frames to see where I'm practicing "shit technique". Thanks for sharing.

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2 months 4 days ago #33813 by manta

Epicpaddler wrote: Wow, that last shot is pretty telling. I'm sure my rotation isn't close to that in reality. I'll have to try videotaping my stroke with the GoPro and break it down into single frames to see where I'm practicing "shit technique". Thanks for sharing.


I have paddled with a GoPro facing me a few times to check my stroke. I think the problem is that we lesser mortals cannot maintain the technique over a long race or when we need to do the ugly sprint.

I did a long paddle on Saturday and after about 2 hours in the bucket my speed started dropping quite a bit. I had to really concentrate on sitting up straight, maintaining my forward lean and being deliberate about each stroke. The speed came back and then went and I had to go through the checklist again. Eventually after 2.5 hours I stopped the session as I could feel my technique just kept breaking down and I was just practicing bad technique.

Long story short, different conditions and fatigue seem to also play a major role.

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2 months 4 days ago #33815 by Epicpaddler
Yeah, I remembered the hard way yesterday about fatigue. After not being on the water for three months it was great to be back in the saddle, but after a 10K my stroke went all to hell. My race pace was about 10 minutes off for 10K. Gonna take some serious training to get back to my race pace. I'm sure technique played a large part, but not practicing every day and loss of muscle was the biggest killer. Is it better to work distance in or shorter intervals to "start" or begin fresh for the season?

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2 months 4 days ago #33816 by uk gearmuncher

Epicpaddler wrote: Is it better to work distance in or shorter intervals to "start" or begin fresh for the season?


It would typically depend on how you want to train but most modern approaches to sports science now are that you undertaken physiological overload (by pushing both distance and intensity in a range of sessions) all year round (but vary the proportions of both depending on your goals at that point). 

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro. Then ?
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L.

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2 months 3 days ago #33831 by manta
I have been using Erik Borgnes's recommendations on training for a couple of months. 
Here is a link to the  training plan  that inspired me.
It has all the elements. There are 3 types of intervals that all use different energy systems and then the LSD training to build endurance. He also includes progressive overload strategies in the plan. Keep in mind the plan is to be able to complete long endurance events. The plan will need tweaking if you don't really paddle further than 20km or less than 2 hours.

If you combine that with a standard periodisation plan it will most likely help you improve both your fitness and your endurance in the boat. 

There is a caveat though and this is very important. Erik uses this plan after years and years of training. He has a good technique, he has exceptional base fitness and he knows his own body and how it recovers really well. I am a novice and I understand that using his plan may not be perfect for me. However the science behind training also backs his plan quite nicely. I just read Fast after 50 (recommended on this very thread) and many of the concepts are in the book with the scientific studies that prove their efficacy.

Give the article a read and then make up your own mind.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Watto

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2 months 3 days ago #33832 by uk gearmuncher

manta wrote: I have been using Erik Borgnes's recommendations on training for a couple of months. 
Give the article a read and then make up your own mind.


My advice on this is that adotption of a plan like that (as manta infers) is that your background, current status and historical training load will dictate whether a plan is any good or not. However, just because your event may be shorter, you don't have to shorten things down (consider that an Olympic individual pursuit track cyclist - racing for 4-5 minutes -will still train for upto 6 hours !). If its about competing not completing, maximising your aerobic engine is key.

The only thing I would suggest though is to train to time, not distance. Distance does not account for changes in weather or water state whereas time is comparable and more robust.

Previous Boat Journey: Gaisford spec ski, then Fenn Bluefin, then Epic V8 Pro. Then ?
Recent Demo's: Epic V10 G3, Nelo 550L.

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