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

How to safely crest big waves (going out)

3 weeks 6 days ago #35121 by manta
Hi 

Saturday I went for a paddle and we had huge swell in the bay where I paddle. I went to a local surf spot as I was thinking of doing some surfing of the ski. However when I got there I saw it was too big for me so made up my mind to leave. 

As I was leaving there was a huge deep water wave which looked like it would break on me. I paddled to get over it and had a huge drop off the back. I was weightless for a second or two and then hit with a thud. Short story cracked my boat pretty decently, right across the bucket.

Is there another technique I am not aware of that allows a paddler to safely crest big waves without falling off the back and cracking or breaking a boat?

Thanks

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3 weeks 6 days ago #35122 by davide
Never ramp a peaking swell when paddling out. If you get airbourne, then you're gonna crack your hull in the middle next to your butt. Best to drop your feet over the side on the way up a peaking swell to brake and prevent yourself ramping. 

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3 weeks 6 days ago - 3 weeks 6 days ago #35126 by Watto
Physics really. Wave moving fast into you as you paddle into up and over it, speed interception has to result in some air time. Calibrate speed to not launch (too far) over the other side? Hmm better slow down a bit.. arghhhhh backwards screaming noises drowned out going back over the lip? Eaten. The alternative safer, just give it to it without aiming to leave the crest altogether... I'm no expert but this one below tells its own story. Size of your wave manta, I'd rather paddle home with a cracked bucket rather than ..shuddder .. what could have happened on the other side!

Stellar over the top

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3 weeks 6 days ago #35127 by robin.mousley

Is there another technique I am not aware of that allows a paddler to safely crest big waves without falling off the back and cracking or breaking a boat?

Haha - I watched the great Hank McGregor in Mauritius many years ago crack a boat ramping a wave at the Le Morne reef gap...  So even the elites can't always avoid breaking boats.

It's sometimes possible to slow down as the crest reaches you so that you don't shoot over it, but rather sink through the crest, and I've managed on occasion to get this right...  But sometimes if the wave is too fast or already breaking and you're going flat out just to save yourself... Then there really isn't much you can do!

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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3 weeks 6 days ago #35131 by paddlepop
i'm always in the surf zone and scrambling like crap to get over crests.  when i've got the sense to remember, i'll lean forward mid air which will tip the nose just enough that it will hit fits and much more gently.  it might only work with the short nose of my V5, but maybe it's worth a try on normal length skis.  Pete

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3 weeks 6 days ago #35132 by LaPerouseBay
Like Robin said, slow down and relax just as the peak is going under.  Also, it's very helpful to always turn the boat at an angle as it goes over the crest.  It's very easy to do, the mechanics of the wave will steer the nose for you and you don't lose much speed. 
At that point it doesn't really matter anyhow, speed wise,to turn at the last moment.  the turn will prevent slamming the boat on the other side, and if you are so late that you won't make it, being 45 to the wave isn't the end of the world.  it's probably better than sliding straight backwards down the face.  

downwind dilettante

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3 weeks 6 days ago #35135 by paddlepop
well, in an ideal situation, maybe.  but from my experience you'll race up the first face so it doesn't land in your lap. take off, fly, land, paddle like shit again and repeat and repeat until you're clear of the set.  my version of HIIT fitness

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3 weeks 5 days ago #35136 by PSwitzer
Valid points, all.
I have been caught out scratching over a huge set and found myself high, airborne, and rather than impacting sitting in the bucket I just rolled out mid-air, landing in the water with the boat next to me, then remounted and hauled ass before the next wave in the set came through.  In a long period (like 14+ seconds) you have enough time to scramble aboard and get going again.  

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3 weeks 5 days ago #35139 by manta
Thanks for all the replies.

Clearly there is no consensus but I like the angling 45 digress tip and the bailing out tip. I think either one of those would have saved me on the day but there was only 1 giant wave to contend with. I don't think either technique will work in a beach break where the waves are coming thick and fast. 

I have a mate that paddled for many years on the East Coast of our country and they often have big and gnarly waves and it seems broken boats is a weekly occurrence particularly in racing when everyone is scrambling to get out. 

I think in future I just need to trust my gut, be sure of conditions and pick my days. If it is too big or too crazy either launch from elsewhere or skip it. Breaking a boat is an expensive business and I am not an elite paddler so there is no pay off in it for me. Live to fight another day.

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3 weeks 5 days ago - 3 weeks 5 days ago #35141 by Watto
In terms of gentle up-and-over,  a couple of pics here of my son and I cresting a roller. This wasn't a breaking wave or shore break, just a medium sized,  guessing here 2-3 metre cresting stormy swell. Posting this manta just reinforcing how you paddle up and over depends on circumstances at the time. I was surprised watching this GoPo footage the stills are taken from (couple of years ago now) just how much boat out of the water cresting that swell. I was just paddling, not going for anything. Now had that been cresting shore break I would have been hammering and likely shooting up and over more.

Laughed at paddlepop (would be shitting myself having to navigate multiple sets), respect PSwitzers presence of mind and agree wholeheartedly with Rob and LaPerouseBay. Nothing new to add but a couple of pics. Worth mentioning here when you watch the Stellar snap vid, note (a) the boat the front paddler is in - fishing kayak at a guess, slow, solid, lumbering - and (b) why he hasn't launched up and over - timing probably - he hasn't needed to really gun it, unlike Mr Stellar behind (maybe too gung ho?). 



 
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