How do you treat big ground swells?

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10 years 9 months ago #7941 by Rightarmbad
So my question is; what do most folks do when there is a fast very large groundswell that you are never going to catch and no wind to help you?
I'm talking 14sec period type stuff with a few meters in it, but just too fat and smooth to catch.

Do you paddle hard when going downhill to make the most of gravity and ease up when you fall off the back or just paddle at a constant pace?

Anybody done any real comparisons to tease out what works best?

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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10 years 9 months ago #7942 by cdo
Hi,

I get these conditions a lot. Not saying it is right but I do as you suggested: paddle hard when going downhill to make the most of gravity and ease up when you fall off the back. The next wave will soon be there and you are only wasting energy trying to paddle up hill? According to my GPS this is the best approach I have found to maximise average speed in these conditions. If big enough you can catch one wave and then catch the next one infront and start over again, but when this is not the case the above appears the best strategy.

Cheers

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10 years 9 months ago - 10 years 9 months ago #7945 by AR_convert
Took me while to realise that there was a difference between swell and chop in downwind. I know you have qualified your statement by saying there was no wind.

As CDO said, I start to paddle hard when in the trough of the previous swell and get all I can outta the swell rising underneath me, then take some recovery stokes as it passes underneath me, sort of like interval training.

What I have enjoyed in the last couple of years is starting to recognise/learn the difference between swell and chop. Here in Western Australia we quite often get swell and chop separated by about 30 degrees. Once I realised that I could switch from the swell to the chop, zig zagging this hole downwind thing started to fall into place for me.

This technical aspect of downwind I guess is what keeps us old fella's :P in touch with the younger paddlers for a lot longer, there is no substitute for wisdom and experience.

Always looking for the next boat :)
Last edit: 10 years 9 months ago by AR_convert.

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