Rob Mousley

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 15:20 | Written by

Nauticat is a steel-hulled 21m catamaran used by Drumbeat Charters to take tourists from Hout Bay to Duiker Island (aka Seal Island) to view the seal colony there.

She travels at 14-15kph and the wake that is formed by her hull runs at a flatter angle than single hulled ships - and are much easier to ride.

On this day, the ocean was relatively calm and I found myself hardly paddling at all.

My buddy made a cock-up of it as Nauticat exited the harbour; she turns sharply and you have to slow right down to stay on the wake.  He lost his balance and swam in front of the appreciative audience...!

 

Monday, 19 February 2018 16:59 | Written by

"The Europeans have caught on," laughed Jasper Mocke. "We used to be much quicker than them at the start, but we had six or seven boats dicing in a sprint to the first turn buoy!"

Friday, 16 February 2018 11:30 | Written by

Clearly I'm late to the game; this video was posted in March 2017 and has been watched over 51,000 times as at February 2018!  But if you haven't seen it; it's very highly recommended for anyone who wants to improve their technique...  

The coach is Ivan Lawler.  Ivan is a renowed British canoeist; he:

  • Specialised in marathon paddling, winning five gold and two silver medals in world championships in a career that spanned 1988 to 1989
  • Won a silver and a gold medal in K2 sprint medal in the 10,000m in 1989 and 1990 respectively
  • Competed in three summer Olympics in sprint.
  • Now owns and operates the company Ultimate Kayaks, selling boats (Epic Kayaks and Nelo) and paddles.  He also coaches and provides insightful and entertaining commentary at marathon and surfski events!

Peak Paddle Performance Podcast

I heard about this video on the latest Peak Paddle Performance podcast, which I thoroughly recommend.  The podcast is hosted by Nick Murray who runs TC Surfski in the USA.  Click here for a full list of the podcasts - they're also highly recommended and comprise a series of interviews with the likes of:

  • Oscar Chalupsky
  • Carter Johnson
  • Austin Keiffer
  • Sean Rice
  • Boyan Zlatarev
  • Pat Langley 

...and many more.  They're all entertaining, they're all instructive.  Download them from the website, or subscribe to "Peak Paddle Performance Podcast" wherever you get your podcasts. 

Now watch the video!

Saturday, 10 February 2018 09:33 | Written by

"Fortunately the camera died for the last 5km, because I was cursing..." said Oscar Chalupsky. "It was flat, hot, headwind… and I was blown!"

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 08:29 | Written by

"It was an adrenalin rush and I can't wait to do it again…" said Vinnie Cicatello. He'd just completed his first ever Miller's Run, in the back of a double surfski with Oscar Chalupsky.

Monday, 05 February 2018 15:54 | Written by

As I shot down the face of the run, spray flying, I spotted the next dip in the water over to one side. A touch of the rudder pedal, a slight lean and the surfski turned towards it; through the dip and a neat curve in the other direction and I'd shot around the shoulder of the wave, accelerating again onto the next run. A crazy thought ricocheted around my brain: What was it that produced this feeling of extreme pleasure? Adrenalin? Endorphins? Dopamine? All three? Whatever it was, the feeling of playing with a new boat definitely added to it.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 09:37 | Written by

A few days after winning "Ze Caribbean Race", here's Oscar coaching a couple of paddlers (including his boss) on downwind technique.

I've had the enormous pleasure of paddling a number of times with Oscar in doubles on our beloved Miller's Run downwind route here in Cape Town, and I can say with all honesty that it's been a revelation and inspirational every time.

As you can see (and hear, as he barks at his pupils!), Oscar's basic mantra is to paddle early and stop paddling early and work with the energy of the waves.  On many other occasions (although he doesn't mention it in this video) he's described taking a couple of "explosive" power-strokes to get onto the run.  

Don't try to catch every run

When I paddled doubles with him, I was astonished at how many waves he didn't take: he has an uncanny ability to feel whether the wave is the right one or not.  If not, he lets it roll under him, taking the next one (or the one after that).  But more often then not, he then pops back over the one or two that he discarded, making up the distance and more.  This kind of skill takes time in the boat to acquire - at the beginning of a downwind career, the novice tries too hard, fails to get over too many runs, using too much energy - but you learn over time how to use the least amount of power to catch the run and then to milk it for all the energy it contains.

Scanning

Another of Oscar's mantras is too keep scanning 45 degrees either side of your course, looking for the next dip in the water, or the next shoulder of the wave in front.  Frequently he'll steer a kind of S-curve, turning left or right, keeping the speed up, before turning back onto the wave.  

If you ever get the chance to ride doubles with Oscar (or any of the other top downwind elites), don't hesitate!  You'll learn more in five minutes than you can imagine - and you'll be inspired to get straight back out to try it for yourself.

Monday, 22 January 2018 14:01 | Written by

Sharon Armstrong again, doing what she loves on the warm Durban ocean.  

This kind of paddling has a different flavour to the downwinds that we do over here in Cape Town.  The runs tend to be bigger and longer and fast and the water's much warmer than ours.

We tend to be nervous of the surf when we go to Durban; when they come here they always exclaim how cold the water is!

40kt and big waves is combination only very experienced paddlers should attempt - Sharon has our full respect!

Monday, 22 January 2018 13:43 | Written by

Peter Holloway got into surfskis in the late 90s, using a series of hand-me-down boats for playing in the waves...  but around that time Fish Hoek saw a series of encounters between Great White Sharks and surfskis (click here for the details).  "For some reason," says Peter, "I lost interest in paddling for a while and took up cycling instead!"

And it was only 2014 that his yearning to be back on the sea overcame his aversion of big toothy fish.  He bought a Custom Kayaks Horizon from the surfski school and went on to a Think Evo II in which he did his first Miller's Run in 2015.  He now paddles a Fenn Swordfish S and this video was taken as he did his 89th Miller's Run.

#mockemillersrunoftheseason

The Mocke Millers Run Of The Season competition started in November and continues until the end of February; prizes for fastest run, the most runs, the fastest mixed doubles runs and... the best video are all on offer.

Pete's also after the 20-run special edition shirt and is only 4 away from that particular goal.

The day of this video, the SE swell was just begining to swing into False Bay, and Pete took one on the nose as he headed out to Bakoven Rock (which marks the start of the run itself).  It was big and bouncy and enormous fun.

"For me, the Miller's Run is the epitome of surfski paddling," said Peter. "It is a perfect combination of facing your fears and harnessing the power of the wind and waves. The rush of flying down the face of a huge ocean swell at 25 km/h is one that not many sports can compare with... it's also a great way to keep fit!"

Anything under 50min is considered a respectable time and Peter has broken his own record no fewer than 4 times so far during the competition, his current personal best being 47:32, which he achieved on 28 Dec 2017.

Go Pete!

 

Thursday, 18 January 2018 09:58 | Written by

Until recently I thought Freya Hoffmeister, with her 27,000km multi-year voyage around South America held the record for the longest trip ever.  Not so! 

Vanity Fair just published a remarkable story about Oskar Speck, who in 1932, paddled away from the bleak prospects of a Great Depression wracked Germany down the Danube River.  Seven years and 30,000 miles later, he arrived in Australia, just in time to be interned as a enemy alien at the outbreak of the Second World War.

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