The holy grail of surfski design - ultimately ...

2 years 11 months ago #29759 by Ole

I only have a few years of paddle experience and by accident also own a surfski company (Ozean). I support your campaign. Well done (again!).

Cheers from down under,

Ozean OSS3 SL, OSS4 SL, OSS1

Previously: Fenn Elite Glide, DD3 Albatross (2x), Vajda Hawx 43, Think Uno Max, Think Evo II, Epic V8, Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 sports

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2 years 11 months ago #29760 by Boyan Zlatarev
Thanks Ole,

I really appreciate the support!

I honestly believe, from surfski manufacturer point of view especially, stable surfski market is far more sustainable than the limited high end market.

I wish you success with your company!

Best regards

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2 years 11 months ago #29761 by Impala
I definitely agree that this thread has come to a dead end. The reason is because we confuse three or four different capabilities that do not have much to with each other, and which should be practised under different conditions.

1. Forward stroke: best practised in a stable boat that still allows for a narrow catch and of course has a suitable seat and footplate.

2. Balance in stillwater: if you want to race ICF boats in stillwater, you have to eventually practice your balance on such boats. But there is also ...

3. ... Balance in moving water, which is something different from balance in stillwater. You can observe this when you put ICF flatwater folks into narrow skis on a turbulent river or moderate ocean conditions. They struggle first, because they don't know waves and currents, i.e. instability that does not originate from the paddler himself. But thanks to their basis in flatwater balance, they adjust very quickly. For non-ICF paddlers like myself, training balance depends on where you paddle; the less demanding the water, the more demanding the boat should be (and vice versa!). You can't train balance on stillwater with a V8 unless you increase your seat height significantly (and the result is a less stable but still not very lively boat, which many don't like ...).

4. Downwind surfing: That is what Boyan is focusing on, as far I could understand it. It is a skill you do not need and also can't develop unless you paddle in waves with a certain minimum size, it's as simple as that. I recently learned that I do not have any downwind skills, period (I thought otherwise). In a DW race over 20km, with slight backwind and moderate quartering waves, I was no faster than in a comparable flatwater race (11.9 vs 11.8 kph), while others who would have been on par with me on flatwater were almost 2 kph faster. That says all.

This experience together with what Boyan manages to achieve on a V5 convinced me that DW paddling is a specific skill that you can't teach yourself easily, and particularly not in conditions like mine where there are practically no waves. That leaves me with forward stroke and balance training, to be at least prepared best when going to the sea. To learn DW, you apparently do not need a fast, unstable boat, it rather disctracts you from what is really important. That is the main point Boyan got across to me.

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2 years 11 months ago #29764 by Boyan Zlatarev
Hi Impala

I am really glad that you got some insights about downwind paddling and I hope this will help you if you decided to pursue this in the future.

I just wanted to make a note that my point with Surfski 600 wasn't at all a statement about what I can do in downwind with a slow boat.

The main goal is to make the sport more inclusive to people who will never be able to master tippy boats nor downwind.

I love downwind paddling but I think this is just a small fraction of the potential of surfski paddling growth. I estimate that in the past 10 years there were approximately 8000 - 10 000 surfski sold in Europe and I don't think that there are more than 1000 people doing downwind regularly.

It is very clear to me that we will not be able to make the sport more inclusive by focusing on a very small % of the population.

I suggest you listen to this podcast with TC Surfski

There is a lot more we could communicate about the sport than speed, racing and downwind. If I look at SUP I see that 99% of the people using those boards either don't have the skill or the desire to go downwind.

SUP attracts with diversity of use as well as accessibility both in price point as well as what skills are needed to start enjoying. I hardly ever see SUP paddlers talk about intervals and time. Yes, there are races and yes SUP downwind surely is great but from the 100 paddlers I see here in Tarifa only 2-3 use racing boards. The rest use more stable and easy to manage boards.

In the same time here in Tarifa, arguably one of the best places to paddle surfski there are only two local surfski paddlers - me and Antonio.

The other part was to challenge manufacturers to focus more on the people who pay the bills rather than always to focus on the top 50 paddlers in the world.

Surely elite athletes have some nice stories to share but I know that the "slow" paddlers in "slow and stable" boats also have stories to tell, just as good or maybe even better, things that a normal person could connect to and get inspired.

...but the normal folks are almost never given the spotlight.

I would like this to change!

Best Regards

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