Equally stable all directions?

4 years 7 months ago #25325 by uk_exile
Do experienced surf ski paddlers feel comfortable travelling in all directions in the sea? Or are you a lot more comfortable upwind and downwind with the turning around phase being a bit sketchy?

Reason for question is I’ve not paddled in sea much and mostly paddling 6m multisport kayaks in grade 1 & 2 rivers. However I really need to up my sea skills rapidly as have a multi-day adventure race coming up in 4mths that will involve open sea paddling. I’ve been out 3 times in last fortnight on a Red7 Surf 70 Pro ski and I’m fine going up or downwind, even at 45 angle to water movement is ok but I feel I really struggle if they’re direct side on swells. Both the vertical lift and the rolling pitch gets me badly. Turning around takes a long time too as I start to focus on stability and speed drops so I’m in tippy zone even longer. As in the race we could be paddling long distances in any direction (perhaps at night too) I’ll keep training myself intentionally doing most paddling cross wind and along swells rather than up or down them however I’d like to know if the stability comfort difference is likely to remain.

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4 years 6 months ago #25328 by photofr
Spending time in your boat with side shop and in the Ocean will help - but it will take time. You have to be patient. Here are a few things that may help this process:
- Take a class - with an instructor who has a lot of experience with surfskis.
- Work on your breathing, and I believe you will be amazed at the results. I know you will inhale air fine, TRY exhaling more.
- Make sure your boat is appropriately rigged for you. When ever possible, make sure that your hips aren't floating around too much (should be in slight contact with boat (as this will help so much). Knees are generally higher in flat water, you may want to extend your footboard (to lower your knees) as this will give you tons of stability. If you are using a seat pad, try removing it until you get more comfortable in confused conditions.
- When things get sketchy, work on your breathing (see above) and take much shorter strokes.

Hopefully, the above will again speed up the entire learning process.

As for the turning around phase in the ocean, here's a trick that works well:
- Seconds before you want to turn around, work on your breathing, get your heart rate down (slow down).
- After a 20 second "relaxed mode", it's time to jump into gear: paddle straight, and in order to gain the maximum speed, SPRINT.
- When your bow hits a wave, lean forward, sweep stroke, rudder maxed out and turn around FAST. 10 seconds later, you will be able to relax and paddle downwind.

They take practice, but it all starts with breathing.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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4 years 6 months ago #25331 by Fath2o
Luodvic has a lot of good ideas, but, If I am not mistaken the Surf 70 Pro is an elite level boat with a very large and slow turning radius. If it were me, I'd get a more stable boat.
My feeling is, If your thinking about stability while paddling,
your in the wrong boat.

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4 years 6 months ago #25333 by uk_exile
Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately some can’t be actioned. Doubt there are any instructors familiar with surfskis around here as skis are rare. It’s possible to get new skis but they’re expensive hence buying whatever we could get for a reasonable price. Surf ski is something I’d like to get into more however don’t have budget to buy another one now.
Don’t know about the Surf 70 Pro relative level but it certainly takes a long time to turn. On flat water it takes 15seconds or longer for 180deg turn. Stability feels quite similar to my mid level multisport kayak although it has a weird transistion between the primary and secondary stability.
I agree with the breathing and focus being important. In the river as I approach bigger rapids I’m always telling myself to relax, breath, lean forward and PLF (Paddle Like F…).
Regarding leg length already got it set at long'ish length and if I moved it forward my thighs would be on the hump and I’d be unable to leg drive.
I’m really comfortable paddling it on flat water with good paddle technique with leg driver & rotating. Same if travelling direct into or down waves up to 400mm high. I only get wobbly going across. Suspect I could handle double that height waves direct into or down wind however not keen to go out in those conditions until I’ve able to go all directions in easier conditions.
No seat pad or padding. In a ski does anyone brace their legs against side to rail (edge) the ski? River kayaking we’re often lifting one rail. Or it is all done via being firm in seat?

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4 years 6 months ago #25334 by Kayaker Greg
I've put pads in all my skis so that my legs can contact the sides easier for bracing and control, it does help.

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4 years 6 months ago #25335 by photofr
You are probably already doing this… but when traveling with the waves coming from your LEFT side, try planting your LEFT blade on top of the oncoming wave. Shorten the stroke is again a huge plus.

The way you are describing your area reminds me of something.
You rudder may have been replaced (due to damage or what ever).
It may have been replaced with a smaller one.
Replaced or not, I would definitely get a longer one; it would give you far better stability, and should provide faster respond time.

What part of the world are you located in?
Just out of curiosity…

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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4 years 6 months ago #25336 by uk_exile
Hadn't thought much about timing the strokes to try to get them onto crests. I certainly do that in rapids so do know its effectiveness.
No idea about rudder size. Guessing it's original.
I'm in Christchurch, South Island of New Zealand. There's plenty of skis around the Auckland area (it's in north of North Island) but not many down here. Likely because its much cooler here & also Auckland is dominated by harbour

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4 years 6 months ago #25337 by photofr
Yeah… getting that paddle onto crests will have you ON RAILS (as in: steady like railroads) - but don't forget the breathing LOL

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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4 years 6 months ago #25342 by Ranga
You have the wrong ski! get a stable ski, beg borrow or even steal one.
Padding is not the answer it just inhibits you rotating especially on the legs. I see this all the time, people padding up their tippy racing skis to try and stay upright and I beat them by miles on my super stable (slow) ski. And believe it or not I am having MUCH more fun than they are.
You have a top end racing ski which will take years to get proficient.
The following user(s) said Thank You: AR_convert, Fath2o

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4 years 6 months ago - 4 years 6 months ago #25343 by AR_Junkie
As an adventure racer I would definitly choose a more stable ski. My last long race where I was using a surfski included a 7h paddle on a lakes and river systems at night/dawn, after about 5 hours the flat water turned into very choppy step waves and I really had to struggle in a ski I normally can paddle in any conditions. Physcial and mental fatigue on long races will affect your skills/balance alot and a ski you are not 100% comfortable in any conditions in on a normal day will cost you a lot of time and fun. I had several skis and learned the hard way what was good for me racing. Of course having more then one ski for different conditions is ideal but perhaps not always possible.

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4 years 6 months ago #25344 by kwolfe
There are some good advice here. Funny but I ran into a similar situation this morning.

I found that keeping my head up (eyes on what was coming) and shorter stroke with higher cadence really helps. It keeps the paddle closer to and in the water longer which really helps stability. I also don't rotate nearly as much.

Once I get turn up or down wind then I start to rotate more and really let loose.

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4 years 6 months ago #25345 by photofr
I am merely sharing what (in my experience) has worked most for MOST PEOPLE.
Your next phase will be to train at higher cadence so that you do not get tired (as much).

Mix it up, and enjoy.

Ludovic
(Brittany, France)

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4 years 6 months ago #25346 by uk_exile
Typed a long reply, submitted it & website said it's been considered spam & wiped it!!!!!

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4 years 6 months ago #25347 by uk_exile
Thanks for the advice to change ski however I don’t have another available and can’t buy one in next few months.
Do note I’m using the Surf 70 as a safe training tool for practising in sea and I will not be racing in it. For the adventure race we’ll be using double sea kayaks. They’re AR Duos 5.9m long 72cm wide & I’ve been told are very stable but still move along ok
www.barracudakayaks.com/products-2/a-r-duo/
See also godzoneadventure.com/photographs/ and godzoneadventure.com/videos/
We do not know unitl the day before the race where we’re racing so we can’t practise on the course. All we know is where it finishes & it’s 450 – 550km long of paddling, trekking and cycling, plus likely some caving and other activities.
I could train my sea skills in my multisport kayak but thinking the ski, even if it’s the wrong ski, is better as I’d be trouble if I’m out solo in my kayak and my roll failed.

My multisport kayak is a Flow Rockstar 5.95m 49cm. I understand it’s essentially the same hull as the Flow Superstar ski. Some of you will be familiar with the elite level Andre Martin / Flow Sharpski which has been replaced by the Addict ski. Details on www.flowkayaks.com/site/

Thanks for all the advice. It’s appreciated.

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