First ocean race

10 months 2 weeks ago #35477 by Epicpaddler
First ocean race was created by Epicpaddler
Tried my first ocean race this past weekend at the Surf to Sound race in Wrightsville Beach North Carolina. The race I paddled was called the "froth" an 11 mile ocean and sound race. I'm used to paddling on the Chesapeake Bay where conditions are usually pretty benign. I have paddled in 20-30 knot wind and 4-5 foot waves. This DID NOT prepare me for ocean racing. What a humbling experience. The ground swell and wind driven waves were 5-6 feet coming in short intervals. I capsized more times than I could remember. The good thing is I got a chance to practice bracing and remounting from both sides of the ski. On the downwind leg I was surfing down a steep wave and actually pitch-poled and was launched out of my boat. At this point I was just hoping to survive and lost my focus to win. Thankfully, I didn't drown and once I made it to the flat water part of the race I was able to make up some time and pull off the win. It wasn't pretty and my time for an 11 mile race was my 20th best according to my GPS. I have a new respect for ocean racing. Looking forward to doing it again at the Carolina Cup in April.

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10 months 2 weeks ago #35489 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic First ocean race
Multi directional swell is a bitch aint it :) Especially when coming at 30-45* off your heading. 

I paddled ski in small water for a year before coming to the ocean and I agree - even though I would chase down the nastiest boat wakes I could find and was comfortable in any conditions small water could throw at me, the ocean is a whole 'nother animal. Ground swell, plus secondary swell, plus wind swell, plus reflected waves all make for quite the difference in stability. 

Towards the end of your paddle, did you sort of get the feel of the waves down? I mean, i think to be successful in messy conditions your bottom half needs to just roll with the waves. What your torso is doing (paddling) is more or less disconnected from your lower half (balancing). Yes, you're transmitting power through your legs and rotating, but its like sitting on a Swiss ball while doing something else. 

If you're used to Chesapeake bay in messy stuff, you think it was the fast moving ground swell that caught you off guard? Typically I find if you're ok in steep wind chop,  the ground swell isnt too bad, but I suppose it can combine and get more peaky and also reflect more. 

Anyways, glad you got to experience a proper ocean race! messy, multi directional swell can be a beast. The CA coast can get some nasty conditions starting this time if year.

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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10 months 2 weeks ago #35490 by PharmGeek
Replied by PharmGeek on topic First ocean race
Wow!! I’ve yet to do an ocean race living so far inland! 

Question - how do you capsize so many times yet still win 1st place?! That’s amazing haha 

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10 months 2 weeks ago #35492 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic First ocean race
I never got into a complete rhythm with the waves. It wasn’t the size of the waves that intimidated me, it was the multi-direction. I’m sure it’s just time in the saddle. Can’t wait to try it again. As for the win, I guess I fell out one less time than the other guys. The OC1’s were dumping as much as the surfskis. April Zilg (#2 SUP female paddler in the world was just in front of me on an OC1. If I’m lucky I’ll get to paddle against the big O in the Carolina Cup. I’m sure that will be more humbling than the sea. 

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