Balance the equation

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10 years 11 months ago #10089 by Rightarmbad
So popular opinion seems to be that if you fall off your elite ski, you've lost the race, or at least any advantage of the quicker hull.

But do you?

I fell off today, and having a camera on my head made it easy to see how much you really loose to the dreaded swim.

From boat begins to tip/loss of paddling/speed to paddle back in water and paddling, a very casual 7 seconds, this included a look over my shoulder to scan the ocean to find my partner and see if he caught up to me whilst I was in the water.
Back up to full speed and on a run, less than 11 seconds.

Now this is no desperate 'get back on I'm racing well practiced maneuver', it's just a casual, 'you idiot, what did you do that for, now get back in before somebody sees me'.

So here is the equation, in a short race, will the elite ski give back it's lost time for an unintentional swim?

And now a more pertinent and never seemed to be discussed longer race.

Here is my posit:

An elite ski, even if it is marginal for balance and compromises power delivery, will probably still be faster in a longer race where the total energy expenditure becomes a factor.

So if you are out for more then 2 hours and energy must be rationed, an elite ski will save you energy, even if it does compromise your ability to put the power down and even if you take a swim.

Thoughts?






Come on, I'm trying to stem the tide of intermediate ski love that is currently flooding the site.

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 11 months ago #10092 by owenfromwales
HI RAB,
Twice I`ve done the Dragon Run, both times on a Fenn Elite carbon vac, and both times with plenty of wind and swell. Fell off once in the first race, but stayed on for the second time, but on both occasions I wasted heaps of energy dapping my paddles to keep my balance. Looking back I now know that I should have been on an `intermediate` ski. Even my spec ski that I did all my training on would have made me at least 30 to 45 mins faster.
Out of interest RAB, which ski were you falling out of/getting back in today? Just that, for me, it`s a lot harder getting back onto a Fenn Elite than a spec ski!
ps, yeah, I realise it was stupid of me to make the same mistake twice, but I tried to prepare the second time by padding up the seat of my spec ski as high as I could and still paddle it, but it still didn`t really prepare me. Plus, when you get to Hong Kong and see all those racks full of brand-spanking-new elite skis, well, it`s pretty hard to say no!

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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10 years 11 months ago #10093 by Rightarmbad
So your answer then would be, that for a sub 2 hour race where energy doesn't need to be conserved, for you, it takes you longer to remount and you loose more speed to an elite boat through poor form and lack of power delivery than it gives you back.

Now what if you did Molokai?

This ones a real energy conservation test, being way over 2 hours.
There is no way that you can go flat out for that period of time.

For example, anything 20km and under I would go out at an average of 162bpm, a little over if there was a payback and a little under to recover from going over.
But an event like Molokai, I would go out around 147 to 152 depending on how much sugar I could get into me on course, and only let my HR go an hour from the end when I know that I have paced myself right.

So for yourself, do you think that the energy you save going the same speed in a faster ski will reward you with more energy at the end, or will you fall out all day and squander it with 3 minute remounts and inefficient technique?

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 11 months ago #10099 by kiwial
Replied by kiwial on topic Re: Balance the equation
a longer race = a longer time balancing a ski you are not balanced in = more energy wasted staying upright = less energy used to mave the ski forward = slower time.
at race pace (14kph)7 seconds is 27m and 3 seconds is 2 boat lengths = race lost

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10 years 11 months ago #10107 by owenfromwales
RAB, I reckon the rougher the conditions, the more you benefit from a more stable ski, even in a sub two hour race (which is actually quite a long way!).
With Molokai you are talking open ocean, but even if it is dead flat, the tireder you get, the harder it is to balance a ski. In Hong Kong, after negotiating the harder sections, there`s a flat 4 or 5 km to the finish. What I found was that even this challenges your balance once your exhausted.
The top guys not only have good balance in elite boats, they also have the fitness to make the boat go where they want it to - or put another way - momentum makes balance easier. Lesser mortals, like myself, have to either go with the swell a bit more (ie away from the direct line for the finish), or risk taking the same angles as the top guys which makes me more unstable due to a lack of paddling speed. With a more stable boat you may not be able to paddle as fast as a top guy, but you can paddle across the direction of a wave faster than you could on a thinner boat. At least you`d be able to take the best line and probably be faster.
In summary, unless you`re elite level, a more stable boat will not only help you take a better and faster line in the rough, it will be easier to power and stay on as you get tired. The longer the race, the more important the second bit will be.

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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  • patrickswitz
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10 years 11 months ago #10115 by patrickswitz
Replied by patrickswitz on topic Re: Balance the equation
I read an account by Carter Johnson after one of the ultra long distance Florida races, in which he won the race paddling a Huki S1-X in conditions that for much of the time were far from flat. While loaded down with tons of gear no less. That was a multi-day effort, crawling into tangles of mangrove roots to sleep and the like. But he's a pretty good paddler.

I think all the fat ski love on this site stems from the fact that most of us are hackers. I paddle a skinny boat and most of the time race well and don't fall in and I appreciate the fact that a narrower hull forces me to continually improve my skills in a way that the Sport never did. But then every now and then when it's macking I really make an ass of myself, and I remember that I'm just a hacker.

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10 years 11 months ago #10120 by fredrik
Replied by fredrik on topic Re: Balance the equation
I’m also a little surprised that so few are promoting paddling elite boats – even if you are a midpacker.

There is no doubt that I would, presently, paddle an intermediate boat faster that an elite boat over a longer distance in the chop. So if best possible race results is the goal, I would use a Evo II to increase the probability of a highest possible avg speed.

However, the feeling of accomplishment is just as great when I have taken a Uno Elite for a spin on a good day, when the technique and balance skills merge in a efficient blend. What a fantastic feeling. Some days the balance may be off and the feeling is not as smooth, but I don’t really care, because I know I have worked on my balancing skills. Do you guys guys always race during your training sessions. In case, when do you work on the longer terms skills??

In my experience there is no substitute for developing the balancing skills. If you want to upgrade to a tippier ski, you have to practice paddling the tippier ski. I may sit on Swiss balls, juggling arms and weights, but only the real thing works. By practice you develop the proper relaxed posture necessary to handle the elite boats.

……All this in my mind 

From a competitive point of view I also believe you should practice on a tippier ski than you are 100% comfortable with. This will develop your performance limits on the intermediate ski like nothing else. The Evo is incredibly more stable after some sessions with the Uno. The result is that my Evo speed has gone up significantly after I got a Uno.

At the end of the day, the boat speed is a combination of your stroke technique, cadio capacity and your equipment. I like to compete in the sports I participate in (running, golfing, x-c skiing, and paddling) and I believe that a good technique is super important and a easy/comfortable way of increase boat speed. So get your coach lined up!!

The Cardio capacity comes and goes. Family, work, injuries, and other commitments will result in improved fitness, but it will deteriorate fast if not maintained. And you will experience extreme diminishing returns from your cardio training. Again my experience is that if you want to close the last 10-15% time gap up to the winners in “distance” sports you may need to double (or more) the training hours pr week. …. And the benefit only lasts as long as you continue the high volume regiment.

At last, a faster boat will give you faster boat speed if you have the balance to paddle it. An Uno is maybe 10-15% faster than an EvoII, given a proficient paddler. So if you trade some of the cardio training with stability/upgrade training you will be able to paddler faster in the longer run. An argument may be that balance/stability deteriorate as quickly as cadio capacity (but I don’t think so, because you do get cardio training while during stability work ). As the elite boat proficiency improves, more cardio work can be done in the elite boat……and you have reached a new competitive level. We all should remember that competitive results are reached through 20% talent and 80% hard work ….not 80% talent and 20% work

So my take on this is that if you are happy with the general level you are at and feel little need to challenge the technical aspects of paddling, you should stick to your (beginner, intermediate) current boat.

But if your ambition is to improve your long terms speed and results and you are willing to put in the hard, not always fun/easy work, you should plan to master the next level boat. From V8/Eze to Evo/V10s and from Evo/V10S to Uno/V12.

As Dawid Mocke stated the other day: ‎#TheMockeMaxims: "The guy at the front has, more than likely, seen more sunrises more than the rest.

I cross my fingers that Dawid is right. There is no magic in paddling elite boats. I lot of paddlers do it successfully. You justhave to put in the work to make it happen. That’s a happy thought, right?

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10 years 11 months ago #10123 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: Balance the equation
Very well said Fredrik!

Perhaps ski's should be sold with caveats..." to be proficient in this ski you must paddle it 5 times per week" or something similar. As a keen multisport competitor I just can't manage the sort of time in my ski other ski paddlers commit. I manage to maintain good cardio vascular fitness from other training but realize that in order to paddle an elite level ski I need to be able to commit to the time it takes to make one work for me.

This made the choice of an intermediate ski much easier for me a year ago and I am still happy with the results I am getting. I am tempted however to follow the lead of a few paddlers I know who are expanding thier ski ownership to include one intermediate and one elite ski, but until I have saved enough for the next ski will experiment with smaller rudders and keep training hard to get the most out of my Vault.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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10 years 11 months ago #10125 by fredrik
Replied by fredrik on topic Re: Balance the equation
I hope it only takes 3-4 times a week to move from the intermediate to elite ski. :-)
I´m not definetly there yet, but time and my GPS will tell.

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10 years 11 months ago #10137 by garykroukamp
'Twould be great to have a quiver of boats available... Whip out the elite tippy ski for flat conditions, whip out the intermediate ski for lumpy conditions and maybe a specialised downwind ski for downwinds. Just like you need a road bike, an cross-country MTB and a Downhill MTB on your racks...

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10 years 11 months ago - 10 years 11 months ago #10140 by bussellt
Replied by bussellt on topic Re: Balance the equation
Rightarmbad you turn an easy sport into a nightmare just get on your ski and paddle without all the crap
Last edit: 10 years 11 months ago by bussellt.

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10 years 11 months ago #10143 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: Balance the equation

bussellt wrote: Rightarmbad you turn an easy sport into a nightmare just get on your ski and paddle without all the crap


Like him or loath him I will be the first one to defend RAB's right to write crap ;) Let's face it, he generates a lot of discussion and without his crap ;) the forum would be a much duller place B)

Always looking for the next boat :)
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kayaker Greg

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10 years 11 months ago #10144 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: Balance the equation

garykroukamp wrote: Just like you need a road bike, an cross-country MTB and a Downhill MTB on your racks...


Now we're talkin :woohoo: Just gotta convince the missus of this logic :whistle:

Always looking for the next boat :)

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10 years 11 months ago #10147 by Rightarmbad
Hey Bussellt,

If nobody bothered to write about crap, think about crap, measure crap and paddle crap, you would still have a choice of a millenium or an XT as your boat and plugging away with aluminium shaft flat blade paddles.

Only way the designs develop is by doing all the crap.

So go ahead and just paddle if you like; me, I want to know and understand anything that can be known and understood.

Now I'm off to go for a paddle, but I'll do something a bit different like put the gopro on the paddle shaft pointing at the blade and mess around with different types of stroke patterns and paddle lengths and see if anything magical pops up.

Nothing like blowing a few well established myths and old wives tales out of the water and getting down to the real facts.

And the only way to do so is to do crap.

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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  • grasshopper
  • Visitor
10 years 11 months ago #10148 by grasshopper
Replied by grasshopper on topic Re: Balance the equation
Good onya RAB. I've gotten a lot from your posts, particularly on heartrate and paddle technique.

Keep it up.

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10 years 11 months ago - 10 years 11 months ago #10158 by garykroukamp
Off-sides Busselt

If you don't want to read the "crap", then just don't read it. No need to get personal.
Last edit: 10 years 11 months ago by garykroukamp.
The following user(s) said Thank You: kiwial, Kayaker Greg

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10 years 11 months ago #10174 by Nige
Replied by Nige on topic Re: Balance the equation
To respond on the issue of Elite skis : I have just upgraded from a carbon Fenn Elite to a carbon Fenn Elite SL. I paddle 3-4 times a week all year around, Tuesday and Thursday after work and then once or twice on the weekend.

The thing with Elite skis is that its time in the boat that counts, and there is no substitute for that, but as long as you can manage a minimum of about 3 hours per week then you should be able to graduate to an Elite ski in time.

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  • gixer
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10 years 11 months ago #10184 by gixer
Replied by gixer on topic Re: Balance the equation
I totally agree with NIGE. You need to be on the elite skis at least 3 days per week.
Last Summer I stepped up to a carbon Fenn Elite and improved greatly in all but severe conditions(paddling 5 days a week)
Then due to family commitments this dropped to 1-2 paddles a week. I lost my balance, speed and rough water confidence.
I cut my losses and sold the elite and bought a SF. I still paddle 1-2 times week and love it in all conditions

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10 years 11 months ago #10189 by [email protected]

You need to be on the elite skis at least 3 days per week.


I think you're right and I think that's why it's probably impractical to have a "quiver" of skis. If you're spending a lot of time in an intermediate boat, I think it's likely that you'll lose the feel of the elite boat.

The forecast for our race tonight says flat conditions so I'm paddling my Mako Elite for the first time in three weeks, having spent the rest of the time paddling intermediate boats.

Last Tuesday, paddling the Swordfish, I had a great dice with my mate Dale who was on the V10 Sport - he eventually paddled away from me on the little bumps to the finish. Tonight he's on the Sport again and in theory I should have a clear advantage on him. Watch this space.

But will I paddle my Elite again on a big Millers Run? Unlikely. Although I'm really comfortable on the Elite, my feet still sweat when I contemplate the 800m out to Bakoven Rock across wind and waves when it's really blowing and there are big waves breaking. Our Milnerton to Melkbos run is different - there the waves are much more lined up and we have no nasty cross-wind leg. But the Millers Run, apart from the first 800m section, is often much more mixed up than other runs (part of the appeal) so I'll be very tempted just to take the SF.

And the more I paddle the SF, the less competent I'll be on the Elite, I fear.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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10 years 11 months ago #10195 by Rightarmbad
So back to my original question.

If you are doing a longer race such as Molokai, are you better off in the tippiest craft you can manage and use as little energy as possible?

After all, the overall governing factor in your speed is energy management, as you simply cannot go flat out for that distance.

And being nervous doesn't count, it may drain you mentally, but in terms of real energy used, it's pretty insignificant.

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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