The 'cuda

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8 years 8 months ago #18194 by robin.mousley
The 'cuda was created by robin.mousley
Check this out:

www.oceanpaddler.com/2013/09/03/the-cuda/

I think it's great that someone is saying stuff that others feel constrained to be quiet about. It'll be interesting to see what other opinions he comes up with.

(A bit tamer than I was expecting, I have to say - Deano mentioned this column at the Mauritius Ocean Classic!)

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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8 years 8 months ago #18195 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic The 'cuda
Whoah, break out the popcorn , this should get the forum humming :P

Always looking for the next boat :)

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8 years 8 months ago #18199 by foundwood
Replied by foundwood on topic The 'cuda
I agree with running events like the Molokai during times of the year when the conditions are at their peak.

Surfskis are kayaks, and just like an SUP is a surfboard, both craft have been called into duty to serve multiple purposes. From racing on lakes and rivers to the big downwind runs, skis are a fantastic platform to get people interested in and supportive of the sport of kayaking.

Folks have a tendency to adopt an elitist attitude the further their skills extend beyond the beginner stage. I have seen it occur in motocross, windsurfing, and now paddlesports. Sports grow to a point where the masses can do without the snobby and self-serving. The sport is at a point of growth, potential saturation, and sustainability where the only ones who have an impact are the designers and builders who meet the needs of the consumer.

Hey, "Cuda": I paddle surfskis because I love it and a life on the water is the place where I am the happiest. I don't race anymore, but good for those who feel the need to test themselves against others. I do triangle courses in the ocean because it is incredible to run parallel to shore in the breakers for three tenths of a mile against the wind, turn and head offshore for a quarter mile, and then catch the swell back to the start and do it over and over for an hour. Some days I fight the river, or I might stroke it up the waterway until I feel like turning back to home.

I don't need anyone else to define my experience for me. I have the wind and the sun and the rising and falling of the tides. And yes, a surfski.
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8 years 8 months ago #18205 by Rob1
Replied by Rob1 on topic The 'cuda
Personally I prefer a good long downwind race however with the exception of the Makai cup this year, I can't recall any good downwind races around Sydney for the last copule of years. However If the race is not pure downwind I'm still more then happy doing any ocean ski race as long as it's well organized and the organizers are flexible regarding any changes.

There are a number of issues I do have. Firstly over the past couple of years it appears that the distance of a lot of ocean ski races around Sydney is to short. I don't want to spend my day traveling somewhere, paying good money to do a 10-12km race, it's just to short and most of the time the actual distance of the race of less. Races with the exception of say the bridge to beaches should have a minimum distance of say 14-15km's. The other issue I have are ski races where the organizers state it will be a certain distance however the actual distance is sometimes quite a few km's less. It can't be that hard if the races is suppose to be 16km's, make sure it is, not 12 or 13. Remember ocean skis are sometime referred to as long distance skis.

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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #18209 by Stephen Bunney
Replied by Stephen Bunney on topic The 'cuda
I get it, Biggest reason I'll never do another George Bass Marathon. Racing into the swell and wind every day on a spec skis, on some of NSW best downwind courses because of some nutty dogma when each daily leg could easily be turned into a screaming downwind. STUPID! :huh:
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by Stephen Bunney.

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8 years 8 months ago #18210 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic The 'cuda

foundwood wrote: I don't need anyone else to define my experience for me. I have the wind and the sun and the rising and falling of the tides. And yes, a surfski.


Well said!

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1
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8 years 8 months ago #18243 by MuzLath
Replied by MuzLath on topic The 'cuda
ok, I'll bite... I agree with The 'cuda

Modern Surfski is a downwind sport. it's all about the runs. If you choose to paddle triangles or go around in circles that's your prerogative, and similarly no one cares whether you choose a surfski, or a rubber duckie & use a dinky little beach spade as a paddle.

Surfski racing though, especially the major events, should be scheduled with reasonable expectation of decent downwind conditions. Setting any other course than downwind for a surfski race has as much credibility as running a serious wildwater WWR race on a lake.
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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #18245 by foundwood
Replied by foundwood on topic The 'cuda
I enjoy responding when someone presents an argument that makes my original point.

I stated that I enjoyed triangles because it is more fun and challenging to experience three different legs over and over for an hour: upwind in and parallel to the surf, heading out and taking the runners back, and then riding in with the surf. This is what the original designers of the craft designed them for and not what they have metamorphasized (sic)into. They have transitioned from spec lifesaving kayaks into downwind speed demons.

And now elitists act like this is all there is to it? Molokai and Miller's Run? What percentage of the surfski paddling community are capable of completing the Molokai? I have immeasurable respect for those who challenge themselves with a Miller's Run, but I will never be one of them.

I have no tolerance whatsoever for anyone who judges an event or a paddler as wanting or inadequate because they fall short of such a lofty goal.
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by foundwood.
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8 years 8 months ago #18246 by antonsa
Replied by antonsa on topic The 'cuda
Great 'cuda you have opened up a great topic. I agree that downwinds are fun and an adrenalin rush but they are not a true test of great paddling skills or ski design.

A triangular course is a great leveler - it tests paddler and designer skills to the max. A ski designed for pure big downwind will not be great in a crosswind, flat or a headbutt. To a lessor degree the same applies to paddlers. Yachting, for example, evolved to triangular racing - so skills and design were tested in all conditions.

So we might all enjoy downwinds but as a measure of the best paddler and ski then perhaps the triangular course is the way to go for World Championships and the like.
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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #18247 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic The 'cuda
Although I've raced a few times I'm not a racer. Yet, when I go out with my ski, I seek downwind and boat wake surfing opportunities more than anything else. I get bored on the flats. So much so that I seldom go out if it is entirely flat - on those days, which is most days, I go white water kayaking instead, because there are always some bumps on the river :) Lately I do flat water only when I am injured or otherwise the conditions further up on the river where it is not flat are not conductive to white water paddling (too little water or too much water, one being irritating from scraping bottom, the other being too dangerous in big floods).

So I'm with the idea in the article - make the events both fun AND challenging, not just challenging. There are marathon and sprint kayak events for the flat water inclined crowd...

As for doing triangles, I guess this is one way to have downwind without a shuttle ;) I do that too, but only if I can't get a shuttle. If I can get a shuttle setup for a pure downwind, I'll take that over a triangle any day, thank you :)
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by Kocho.

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8 years 8 months ago #18249 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic The 'cuda
Sorry to burst your bubble but most Molokai type skis are specifically designed for downwind racing.

I have been in this sport for the last 30 years designing and building (shaping) by hand long ski as we used to call them and all have been for downwind racing.

If I wanted! to paddle in flat water I would get a K1 (truth be told I would still use a ski!).

As far as skill goes you need much more in downwind than in any other conditions. Tell those elitist around the world yacht racing guys to head into the wind with their pure downwind RACING yachts, I don't think so!.

There are many forms of paddling (kayaking) and none are that similar other than having a paddle. If you are happy to go around in circles, go for it!, but don't complain when you race downwind and you get smashed by people you were beating when going around in circles. I prefer downwind and only paddle flat or into the wind at the last resort, but don't call me elitist because you cant paddle in downwind conditions, I can just as well call you elitist for wanting to paddle in circles, what is the difference?

Yours truly, elitist downwind paddler!

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8 years 8 months ago #18250 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic The 'cuda
Funny how the world turns. Many, many moons ago in my club days a surf ski was for racing out to the cans and back. That was, and still is the pure surf ski. Now "branded" spec skis. All other forms of water craft were kayaks and canoes. From the surf ski evolved the ocean ski, which is probably the more apt title.

At 57 years old and having been a waterman since the age of 10 who really gives a shit if you paddle flat water, triangle courses, downwind, upwind, whatever. Each to their own I say.

Anyway, I am off for a ride on my Harley with my brothers/associates. You want elitist... 81 Forever! ;)

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #18263 by MuzLath
Replied by MuzLath on topic The 'cuda

foundwood wrote: This is what the original designers of the craft designed them for and not what they have metamorphasized (sic)into. They have transitioned from spec lifesaving kayaks into downwind speed demons.


in fact, spec skis evolved from Molokai skis, not the other way around. For millennia Polynesians, taking note of the prevailing winds (pay attention here please Race Organisers...), paddled a variety of skis, canoes & outriggers to travel between the islands. Where possible, they paddled downwind. ie: with the Trade winds & swell behind them. As newer forms of travel evolved, chiefly sail, pure paddling voyages between islands continued as challenges between young men, much as they are run today.

So, on to the early days of Surf Club Lifesaving a mere 100 years or so ago. In the early years exactly the same types of solid paddle boards & skis were used to get out through the breakers & rescue swimmers who had been swept out to sea in rips. These old wood craft were also used in SLSC competition, replaced by hollow wooden surfboards & skis with bungs in the '40s & '50s, & only quite recently evolved into the current "spec ski" - a SLSC specification (spec) so as to standardise what had become increasingly professional competition between athletes.

Modern surfski/downwind paddling is the coincidence of these 2 principal events, hence using the names "Molokai Ski" & "Ocean Ski" I think is most appropriate.
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by MuzLath.
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8 years 8 months ago #18264 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic The 'cuda

MuzLath wrote: Modern surfski/downwind paddling is the coincidence of these 2 principal events, hence using the names "Molokai Ski" & "Ocean Ski" I think is most appropriate.


Exactly!

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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8 years 8 months ago #18265 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic The 'cuda
Nooooooo! It's a surfski, not a Molokai or Ocean Ski.

Clearly I have a vested interest in having them called surfskis, but there's also a good practical reason for this.

The world works on the Internet and the Internet works on search. Try googling:

- Surf ski
- Ocean ski
- Molokai ski

And see what you come up with - most of the search results are garbage. Results for "surf ski" point to tons of sites about snow skiing, surfing, etc.

But google surfski - and you're straight into our sport.

So please - the sport is surfski paddling and we paddle surfskis!!!

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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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #18266 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic The 'cuda
Downwind paddling...

To me the essence of the sport is downwind paddling - it's what separates us from Marathon paddlers; it's what makes the surfski the fastest paddle-powered craft on the water.

All respect for marathon and sprint and other flat-water specialists and I totally understand the fitness and skills required for those disciplines.

But, to me, downwind paddling takes a special set of skills - and it's the only endurance paddling discipline that requires a deep, almost instinctive understanding of the movement of the ocean and how to draw energy from that movement.

Besides which - I just love it. We had a 20km training paddle yesterday, which was supposed to be a base-building long slow session. But, instead of the forecast 5-6kt breeze, we had a 15-20kt southeaster. We ground our way along the coast, first side on to the wind and then directly into the teeth of the wind and waves. Now I fully appreciated the exercise and the practise at taking turns pulling the bunch and slipstreaming (all good skills), but sheer joy of turning around after an hour and 45mins to go belting downwind was mind-blowing. Then it was judging when to accelerate, when to turn off the run to curve around and link to the next one... The noise of the wind, the crash of the breaking waves, the spray...

Anyone who doesn't paddle downwind is simply missing out on the best part of surfski paddling.

And that is why, in my opinion, the pinnacle of surfski achievement is the ability to paddle well downwind. And that is why if I had my way, all big international races would be planned with downwind in mind.

Having said that, we need to cater for people still learning to paddle and learning to go downwind so for smaller/regional/series events, sure, make **some** of the races on flat water, round the cans, etc.

But the ultimate aim should be to provide paddlers with the ultimate surfski experience - downwind in big waves and big winds.

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...
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by robin.mousley.
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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #18268 by MuzLath
Replied by MuzLath on topic The 'cuda

antonsa wrote: Yachting, for example, evolved to triangular racing - so skills and design were tested in all conditions....
... So we might all enjoy downwinds but as a measure of the best paddler and ski then perhaps the triangular course is the way to go for World Championships and the like.


many yachting classes do race on triangular courses, principally Olympic classes & some other rigidly controlled designs, but many more yachts race other than triangular courses at local club level right up to the elite international events. Point to point races for example are very common. following up on Ranga's comments, note the iconic international races, Transatlantic, Around the World, etc. are always run downwind. It's more fun, it's safer, it's much faster, and specialist downwind boats are used exclusively for this type of racing.

Perhaps motorsport would be a better analogy than yachting for our sport. Whereas we have Sprint, Marathon, Slalom, Wildwater, SLSC, Downwind, etc, all specialist disciplines with specialist craft for each, similarly motorsport has, inter alia, sprint, rally, hill climb, speedway, drag cars, Formula 1. etc etc.

Not sure any of the above disciplines, motor or paddle, would be improved by changing to triangular courses, but perhaps I'm just showing my elitist attitude again...
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by MuzLath. Reason: context

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8 years 8 months ago #18269 by antonsa
Replied by antonsa on topic The 'cuda
Lucky for all the sport and those who put on events provide Surfski :) paddlers with a wide variety of events. So choose the event you like and do it!. Perhaps the sport will evolve into a variety of classifications (or perhaps it is there already) - Surf life saving Around the cans racing - Marathon events - such as Cape Point, Molokai and the extreme PE to EL Challenge and Down wind events - Mauritius etc. Perhaps other race types will evolve - but only if the paddlers want them to.

The obvious curse with downwind events is that even when choosing the best possible time to have the event, the wind might well still not come to the party. And there is a limit on how big a race window you can have (due to costs, logistics, sponsor requirements, approvals etc). All the paddler wants is that those arranging the events make the best effort to get it right and to put on an event as close as possible to what was hoped for.

Oh and Rob - downwind surfski paddling is not the fastest paddle sport - paddle over a waterfall in a plastic and terminal velocity takes some beating - but then most of us would not define that as fun!

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8 years 8 months ago #18270 by gbowd3
Replied by gbowd3 on topic The 'cuda
"Downwind paddling"..........you're right Rob, they are DOWNWIND SKIS!!!!!'

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8 years 8 months ago #18271 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic The 'cuda
Each to their own Rob. Me... I differentiate between using a ski in the surf... I.e. surf ski and ocean paddling on my Fenn or Epic I.e. ocean ski. Strange that in Aussie we have ocean paddling races on skis and yes you will surf in a sense if the conditions are right. We do not have surf ski races offshore as far as I am aware.

To me surfing is when you paddle a ski in the lineup and harness the breaking wave's energy on the run to shore. Same as when I used to surf p, which i can no longer do due to knee issues and hence why I got into paddling. The take off, the bottom turn, trimming along the wall, re-entries, etc.... That is Surfing!

Mate... When I am out fishing in my Hobie fishing kayak and I am pedalling my mirage drive downwind you would be surprised the speed the 35kg bath tub picks up and can also latch onto runners too. If i have my outriggers installed it is an absolute hoot (get a bit wet though!) This being the case I will name this new sport surf fish yakking :blink: :lol:

Anyway... It is all a matter of semantics. Perhaps paddlers in your part of the world have a different slant on things. Unfortunately we, as in many other places in the world do not have anything comparable to your Millers Run and Reverse Millers. Must admit that footage I have seen of paddling in the Millers is as close to surfing as you can get without a point, beach or reef!

As you stated... To you the essence of the sport is downwind paddling... For others, myself included, that is but one part of the experience.... Be a boring old world if we all agreed Rob. As I have stated above... each to their own.

BTW good win by the Boks last night....

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1

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