Progressing, stoked, more questions

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4 years 9 months ago #31330 by d0uglass
Hi folks,

Thank you all for your advice on my recent newbie posts. It's clear I'm on a less than ideal surfski that's going to slow down my progress, especially in rough water. But I'm resigned to that for now, and just trying to do my best until I either get good enough for the boat or find a great local deal on a more stable one.

In flat water I've been tracking my progress on a 6.5 km "time trial" hairpin course down and back up the Imperial River in Bonita Springs, FL. (Our local club does a Wednesday night 6 pm all-paddlecraft time trial series starting at Riverside Park if anybody is interested.) Though I'm not quick in absolute terms, I'm excited to be making relatively steep improvements.

March 26th- 8.34 kph
April 2nd- 8.89 kph
April 6th- 8.92 kph
April 9th- 9.61 kph (first time without capsizing)
April 12th- 9.48 kph (1 capsize)
April 18th- 10.22 kph (double capsize within sight of the finish- doh!)

The last time I got some pointers from a buddy who had just been to an Oscar Chalupsky clinic. He said it would help with both speed and stability if I exited the blades from the water earlier instead of pulling so far back. It definitely helped. He also said I'm using my arms too much and probably not getting enough twist and legs into it because my home-made seat pad is too grippy to slide on. I may put some more duct tape over the top of the pad to make is more slippery, plus try paddling in spandex instead of swim trunks.

I tried buddy's Nelo 550 after the last session, and it definitely had a different feel than my v12. Lighter and more "corky" / floaty - it would surge up in the water more with each stroke. The rails felt higher and it felt like I was more up out of the water. The primary stability didn't seem too different from the v12 but the secondary stability was more apparent. More water got in the boat when the bailer was open and not moving. I think I'd be more seaworthy in it in rough water, but not necessarily faster than the v12 in flat water, though I don't have numbers for that.

One problem I keep having on my v12 is banging my right thumb knuckle on the rail during the catch. The thumb/wrist part of the palm on my right hand is overall kind of stiff and arthritic / swollen as a combo of that banging and some other kinds of stress / bone bruising that I seem to putting on it in the stroke.

-J

Stellar SEI 1g

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4 years 9 months ago #31331 by LakeMan
Glad to hear things are improving.

As for the hands I wear a good pair of paddling gloves. Never go without them. Overall grip is better, hands stay where I put them and if I do slip and hit the boat they protect me.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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4 years 9 months ago #31332 by kwolfe
Exiting early will definitely help stability in many cases. I made the same mistake when I started. You wind up picking up more water, slowing yourself down, wearing yourself out and knocking off your balance.

That 550 should be a good bit more stable than the V12. I had an SEL which was comparable to the V12 and the 550 is definitely more reassuring when things get lumpy and mixed up in the water.

Your cruising speed may not increase a whole bunch in a 550 but I was bet that your top speed would be a good deal higher given the increased stability when applying max power to the paddle.

Last thing I would suggest is getting a GoPro or something like it. I got mine off ebay for less then $100. It really helps you analyze what your stroke looks like.

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4 years 9 months ago #31333 by mcnye1
Hello Douglas,
I am also new to surfskis and have been following your threads with great interest. I am an experienced kayaker and had been racing a Wahoo FSK for two years prior to buying a Stellar SEI 2G in December. As a small guy, I really loved the fit of the SES during the demo but the stability and wise words of the dealer convinced me to go with the more stable boat. I really love the SEI and found the transition from a 20.5" wide FSK to be a non-issue. I only went swimming once and was nearly up to race speed after only a few practice sessions. I have not paddled in any huge water but I did survive (no swimming) a rough paddle on the St Johns River with 3' white caps the other day.
My main reason for posting (my first post here) is two-fold. First I strongly agree with the suggestion to buy/beg/borrow a GoPro or similar. I recently bought one and it has really helped. I also wear a Garmin Fenix which has a paddling app provides a bunch of data like cadence and heart rate. My second reason is to ask if you have heard of the Florida Competition Paddlers Assoc? We hold about 14 free races around the state each year in the best locations. It really is the best of low key recreational races. We generally have 10-60 paddlers each race on all types of craft and at all skill levels. And don't worry, you won't be the only one to take an unplanned swim!

If I did this correctly, below is a video from our race on the Rainbow River several weeks ago. I was really happy with my effort. I was #3 behind a 21' West Side Kayak and an SEL.

Rainbow River Race
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4 years 9 months ago #31335 by PSwitzer
I had similar problems with the base of thumb/wrist area getting swollen and sore when I was a novice. I was pushing out with the top hand too much- the top hand was getting further from the chest, which was torquing the shaft down against the thumb. If you try some of Oscar's drills from this session it might help- he emphasizes low elbows and keeping arms and torso rotating as a unit



If you're only banging the finger on the catch on one side there is an asymmetry to the stroke which video should help you sort out. I would start by making sure the top hand is close to your ear when spearing in for the catch, will help keep the stroke set up outside the rail.

If you decide to take some video of yourself, prepare to be horrified.... Nothing is harder on the ego.....
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4 years 9 months ago #31338 by pprin
mcnye1, Can you tell me which app you are using with your Garmin Fenix to show cadence? Did you need to buy a separate sensor (Vaaka or similar) in order to get cadence or is it being pulled from the Garmin itself?

-pprin

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4 years 9 months ago - 4 years 9 months ago #31342 by d0uglass
Thanks! I do have a GoPro I can use for stroke analysis. Is it more helpful to mount it on the bow looking at yourself head on, or on the stern? I have a gopro mount on the bow now where I mount my SpeedCoach SUP gps.

Stellar SEI 1g
Last edit: 4 years 9 months ago by d0uglass.

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4 years 9 months ago #31343 by LakeMan
I like it when he camera is facing the paddler. That way I can see the facial expressions when they take a dive.

I think facing is the normal view for evaluating the stroke.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

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  • MCImes
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4 years 9 months ago #31348 by MCImes
Replied by MCImes on topic Progressing, stoked, more questions
You say you're using a seat pad on your V12?

even 3/8 or 1/2" of rise will significantly reduce stability if you are already unstable on the platform. Try eliminating the seat pad all together and see if that helps until you can procure a new boat.

I tried paddling my gen0 V10 with an epic seat pad a couple times (~1/2" thick) and it was noticeably less stable.

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4 years 9 months ago #31349 by mcnye1
I have two Garmin devices that have a paddling app, the Fenix 5x and the Vivosmart HR. Both are combination smart watch/GPS/fitness tracker devices that had a "SUP" app preinstalled. Both devices measure cadence and heart rate using internal sensors when worn on the wrist. You have the option of using a more accurate chest strap HRM which is what I do. You can download that data from the device either via blue tooth to a smart phone with the Garmin Connect App installed or by connecting to a PC and using the Garmin Connect web page.

Garmin Connect Rainbow River Race

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4 years 9 months ago - 4 years 9 months ago #31350 by d0uglass
Ok, I took some GoPro video today, paddling as best as I'm currently able. I don't think you'll need to watch the whole long video to see what mistakes I'm making.


Stellar SEI 1g
Last edit: 4 years 9 months ago by d0uglass. Reason: video linked twice

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  • MK
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4 years 9 months ago - 4 years 9 months ago #31351 by MK
Replied by MK on topic Progressing, stoked, more questions


www.usawildwater.com/training/fwdstroke.html

With your top arm, raise the elbow and wrist up as one horizontal unit, rather than leading with the wrist and letting the elbow following at a lower plane. Imagine a chicken raising a wing as a single unit. The key to the "chicken wing" is to align the joints of the shoulder, elbow and wrist so that they are ergonomically sound, as well as to lock in and transmit the rotational power from the torso to the paddle blade...Many paddlers who suffer from wrist tendonitis may be able to fix their problem by making sure their joints are aligned horizontally.

Last edit: 4 years 9 months ago by MK.

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4 years 9 months ago #31355 by PSwitzer
Douglass your stoke actually looks pretty good- after your shaky warmup you settle in and can see your knees pumping, indicating leg drive. Paddle blades are fully submerged mid way through stroke. Your shoulders at least are rotating back and forth. Hard to see from the front angle but looks like you're hitting the catch forward, up by the feet. Improvements? As soon as the blade is locked in the water, visualize the paddle,arms, torso as a fixed unit. This will help keep the top hand sweeping level across the cockpit rather than dropping as you push it forward.

Your blade currently is staying close to the boat even at the exit which means your low arm is bending too soon as your top arm pushes forward. Avoid top arm pushing forward. Top hand should track mostly across the cockpit not down towards the feet. When you paddle using your core and arms as a unit, the paddle will track away from the boat and exit further to the side. Visualize your lower core rotating- like at the navel. This is hard to do when your balance is challenged. For objective feedback, without a coach, can wear a tight jersey with vertical tape stripes running down around the mid-clavicle line front and back. Then video from the side angle either from dock or an escort boat and the tape will help show how far you're rotating.

MK's Adam VK video shows perfect sprint form, I would include the addendum that distance paddlers and rough water paddlers often use a lower top hand position, not at eye level, but still maintaining the fundamentals of good form. Keep in mind, to keep a really high top hand position and still reach the water, you need to run a longer paddle, if that is your goal.

Looks like you're low bracing at times, which is great, keep developing a solid low brace and doing balance drills. One good drill is to leave the paddle on the beach, then just use your hands to paddle around and eggbeater brace when necessary, by taking the paddle out of the equation your body will learn to connect to the water better, in my experience.

Nice work!
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4 years 9 months ago #31367 by manta
HI

I am new to paddling as well but not quite as new as you. I am 7 months in and you are already paddling much faster than me over 6.5km. I average around 8.5km/h over 10 km so I should most likely film my stroke as well, clearly I am missing something.

I watched your stroke and to my novice eye, it looks pretty good. I think you are doing very well based on the ski you are in and the fact that you have been paddling for such a short time. I think if you stick with it and come to terms with the ski you are in and are able to put in full power you will be flying along.

The only advice I can really give you is don't force the stroke. If you try and push to hard or pull to hard more likely you can develop some bad stroke mechanics. Keep it easy and comfortable and groove in a good pattern.

M
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4 years 9 months ago #31369 by kwolfe
hey Doug,
Glad to see more and more people paddling. You definitely have good balance for sure. The V12 is definitely not a beginners ski and you appear to be fairly relaxed.

I'm on my third season of paddling. My first year was on a V8 which was a great way to learn. On my second season, I actually bought a V14 just because I wanted a challenge. My stroke still has a ways to come but here is a clip from year 2.



One thing I noticed about your stroke is that your top hand punches downward right at the end instead of sweeping across and staying around eye level. I would more about hand position and a good catch right now and incorporate good leg drive when the balance is more natural.

Good Luck!
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4 years 9 months ago #31370 by d0uglass
PSwitzer, that seems like a good tip about sweeping the blade out more by connecting the stroke with the twist of "core and arms as a unit".

Sweeping away from the boat with the wing paddle is very awkward for me, since all my SUP practice has been oriented to keeping the paddle shaft vertical and the blade very close to the side of the board. Although I've known mentally that I shouldn't do that on the surfski, I don't have a "feel" for what doing it right is like. I've focused on forcing the blade to sweep along what I guess is the right trajectory instead of focusing on "twisting as a unit" in a way that will naturally take the blade through that path. I'm going to start doing the Oscar Chalupsky stroke drills with my buddy and hopefully that will start to get the right way ingrained in my head.

Stellar SEI 1g

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4 years 9 months ago #31372 by zachhandler
You are pushing the top hand forward and down at the end of the stroke. Fix that habit sooner than later. When you do that the back blade is pushing water up toward the sky. That sinks and slows the boat, and causes instability with each stroke. Try to keep top hand at about the level of your face. Pull the blade out of the water earlier in the stroke. And when you pull the blade out knife it out to the side so that you are not pushing water toward the sky.

Otherwise it looks very promising for this early in your learning and in a tippy boat. You will become very good at this if you keep at it!

Current Skis: Epic v10 g3, NK 670 double, NK exrcize, Kai Wa’a Vega, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X
Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Nelo 550 g2, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
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4 years 9 months ago - 4 years 9 months ago #31375 by Fath2o
Um, wow, you have a long way ahead of you. Good luck with the V12.
You are an "arm paddler". IMO. Good thing you have warm air and water.
Last edit: 4 years 9 months ago by Fath2o.

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4 years 9 months ago #31385 by kwolfe

Fath2o wrote: Um, wow, you have a long way ahead of you. Good luck with the V12.
You are an "arm paddler". IMO. Good thing you have warm air and water.


Good input! You have definitely contributed to his progression to becoming a much better paddler. Maybe coaching is in your future :whistle:. Keep up the good work.
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4 years 9 months ago - 4 years 9 months ago #31392 by Watto
Sunset Series Race 1, pre The Doctor last year - couple of hundred paddlers, largest field I think of any local race internationally.





The third shot is Hank McGregor who absolutely smashed the field over only 11 kms in moderate breeze and wind chop only.



While it's a crappy shot, Hank was few hundred metres away and I just kept banging away with my 300 mm lens (not quite up to the task) because I couldn't get over the power he was generating just smashing at it. (Recovering from shoulder surgery so not paddling myself.) Look closely at the shot - huge hip rotation! Look at leg drive (left knee up, right knee flat). And every stroke throwing up huge back spray at paddle exit, testimony to power of stroke.

Key point I reckon D0uglass is that by paddling out and away from boat in an arc and "twisting as a unit" your blade travels a significantly greater distance plus utilising enormous core power. More work done over a longer period of time compared to a pull directly down side of boat. (Incidentally I was at Oscar's clinic PSwitzer cited above, in Mauritius June last year. Fantastic as it was it reinforced for me that there are style and stroke differences in most top paddlers so suggest caution mindlessly replicating every single element of just the one paddler - albeit the super champ they may be. Dean Gardner's style for example differs in a number of ways to Oscar's. But I digress.)



Here's Oscar and partner coming around the corner of the City Beach groyne same race two minutes behind. Same sweep though not to same extent as Hank. While it appears paddle exit way back of hips, boat has moved a metre or so forward to that point in the exit recovery phase. So for all of the above Hank's enormous power not just this physical capacity (strength and cardio-vascular ability) but skill/technique of body rotation, blade execution in the water and leg drive. What a machine!
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