Latest Surfski News

Monday, 22 March 2021 10:35
[Given a recent encounter with bluebottles here in Cape Town, South Africa, this article from 2007 is hereby recycled as being very relevant!] On a 2007 "Miller's Run" on singles in a big South-Easter, from Miller's Point to Fish Hoek, about 20 minutes into the paddle, my paddling partner Gavin Gottschalk and I were stung by bluebottles.
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Tuesday, 16 March 2021 13:54
It’s not easy to catch a rolling, runaway single ski in 30kt of gusting wind – and as they attempted to grab it, Alex and his doubles partner lost their balance and fell into the water. By the time they’d remounted, the single ski was gone – blown away by the strengthening near-gale. They turned and paddled back upwind to find their buddy.
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Wednesday, 03 March 2021 12:08
Accident reports are easy to write when the story ends happily, but this one didn’t and it’s with a very heavy heart that I’m writing this, with a view to learning what we can from it.
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Wednesday, 15 July 2020 09:13
When the NSRI found Duncan MacDonald, he was approximately 6km off Smitswinkel Bay, drifting rapidly further offshore. Gale-force squalls whipped sheets of spray off the waves, reducing visibility almost to nothing. What Happened? Given the small size of the surfski community, there’s always intense interest whenever there’s a rescue. What happened? What did they do wrong? What can we learn from it? Clearly there are lessons to be learnt from any mishap – so here’s a description of what happened, shared with the permission and cooperation of the folks involved in the hope that we might all learn from this…
Friday, 24 April 2020 11:41
Durban – As the continued coronavirus lockdown grips the country, Canoeing South Africa will host a 24 hour Canoeing4COVID-19 event this weekend as a way to raise funds for members of the broader paddling community that have been badly affected by the lockdown.
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Wednesday, 11 March 2020 14:35
“Hey, Rob! Help!” The shouts penetrated the sound of the howling wind and crashing waves – and even through the noise it was obvious from the tone of his voice that something was seriously wrong. I turned and headed back upwind.
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Tuesday, 03 March 2020 14:43
Many paddlers use Personal Locator Beacons, or tracker apps like SafeTrx on their mobile phones. But handheld VHF radios are also a great choice to consider – especially when they’re DSC-capable like the Standard Horizon HX870E.
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Monday, 24 February 2020 12:01
I finally got my hands on a demo Fennix Swordfish S this weekend and did two Miller's Runs in succession to see if I could feel any difference in handling between the 2018 Swordfish S and the new Fennix model.  Conditions were challenging: False Bay was covered in whitecaps, whipped by a combination of a 25-30kt southeaster and small, confused seas.  The result?  I definitely want to spend more time in this boat.
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Thursday, 26 December 2019 10:30
The shark smashed like a freight train into Roger Swinney’s surfski in an explosion of noise and spray, knocking him off into the water.  “I managed to get back on the ski,” he said, “but I fell off again and as I remounted the second time, I saw the swirl and tips of the shark’s fins. “I didn’t see it clearly, but from the force of it and the movement in the water, it looked big!”
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Friday, 22 November 2019 15:08
You’d think that in a field studded with Olympians, Aussie SLS Champions and Iron Men, competition would be intense… but you wouldn’t expect one athlete to dominate no fewer than four races in row. But that’s what happened.
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Friday, 22 November 2019 01:28
In a thrilling display showing just how competitive the men’s surfski field has become, the first five places were separated by just 30 seconds…  And in the women’s race, a tight finish saw the newly arrived defending champion, Georgia Laird, take the win.
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Thursday, 21 November 2019 04:19
The City of Perth Surf Club hosted a nippers’ clinic for more than 200 youngsters from all over Western Australia, as part of the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week here in Perth. Aside from getting to train with their heroes, the nippers walked away with lucky draw prizes to remind of a cracking day at the beach.
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Thursday, 21 November 2019 00:41
South Africa’s Hayley Nixon managed to hold off Australian Iron Woman star Jemma Smith in a nail-biting finish at City Beach at the end of the first of two Sunset Series Races, part of the Shaw and Partners WA Race week here in Perth. In the men’s race, Cory Hill consolidated his lead in the week’s rankings, ahead of fellow Australian Tom Norton.
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Tuesday, 19 November 2019 05:52
Darryl’s ski flew down the wave, spray flying… “How good is this, mate?!” he yelled. I could only laugh in reply – the runs were so clean, the water so clear, so warm, this truly is paddling paradise. I’m here as a guest of Shaw and Partners, the sponsors of the $100,000 Shaw and Partners WA Race Week in Perth. Monday was an “off-day” in the weeklong racing series – and that meant an opportunity to sample one of the local downwind paddling routes.
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Tuesday, 19 November 2019 01:59
It’s always fascinating to paddle somewhere new – and I’d only done this stretch of coast once before, five years ago… “Stay well out,” I was told. “Don’t let the waves take you too close inshore, because you’ll find yourself coming back out cross-wind at the finish.”
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Surfski Schools

Essential Surf Ski Skills - The Remount

Saturday, 02 June 2007 15:47 | Written by  Rob Mousley/Alain Jaques
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ImageRemounting your ski is an essential skill.  Fall off in cold water offshore - you need to get back on that ski immediately before you get cold.  Fall off in the surf zone - you need to get back on fast before the next set comes in.

And yet, how to remount is one of the commonest questions - especially from beginners.  What's the "straddle" method?  How does it differ from the "sidesaddle" method? 

Here are some answers...

Straddle

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The straddle remount is generally faster - which is good when you're going out through surf and a 6ft set is forming in front of you; it's also easier with some skis (especially those with narrow, deep buckets like the Fenn Millennium).

How to do it. 

Important: Turn the ski so that it's pointing into the wind and waves.  (This is almost impossible in strong wind though.  Just make sure you're upwind of the ski.)

Grip your paddle and the foot strap with one hand; the far rail of the cockpit with the other.

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Boost yourself out of the water onto the ski and swivel yourself so that you're lying face down diagonally across the cockpit.

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Now swing your leg across the ski 

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And push your upper body up, swiveling your butt into the seat as you do so.  This is the most critical point and where you're most likely to fall off again. 

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Grab the paddle with both hands.  Now you're stable - you can take your time before bringing your legs into the cockpit.

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Pull your legs in - you're controlling your balance with your paddle. 

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And you're off.  With practice, this takes a matter of seconds.

Sidesaddle

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In extreme conditions the wind tends to blow the ski sideways - and if you can't hold its nose into the wind, the straddle method can become very difficult.

In this situation, the sidesaddle method can be much easier. 

How do to it.

Let the ski drift sideways at right-angles to the wind. 

Important: Move to the upwind side of the ski. 

Grab the footstrap and paddle with one hand; the far rail of the cockpit with the other.  Boost yourself up onto the ski. 

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In contrast to the straddle method, as you get onto the ski, swivel your butt into the seat, leaving both feet hanging over the windward side of the ski. 

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Now you're in a good situation - the ski is moving sideways downwind, dragging your feet in the water on the windward side.  You're completely stable and you can sit there as long as you like. 

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Now bring your feet in - this is trickiest part because you're generally sitting to one side of the ski and you need to get your butt into the center of the seat.

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Both feet in... and away you go. 

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Some people also find the sidesaddle method easier with single-footwell skis.

Practise

Both methods have their place - but neither is easy unless you practise.  Find some warm water and practise both methods until you're confident that you've mastered the techniques. 

It's also important to practise while wearing the gear that you use in extreme conditions, like your PFD fully loaded with cell phones/radios and whatever else you take.