Seat pads for practicing stability

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1 month 3 weeks ago #40907 by Really clever username
I've got an older Nelo 510, and I've been having trouble dealing with moving water. An instructor suggested that I use a removable seat pad when I'm paddling on calm water just to work on my balance. Probably most of my paddles are quick 45 minute to an hour outings after work (on Redwood Creek for people in the SF Bay area), which is pretty calm except for occasional powerboats.
Anyway, I'm looking to set up a system that's easily removable, slick enough to rotate on, works on rotomolded plastic, and hopefully can be adjusted for height. I know Epic makes stackable seat pads "for compost ski use only;" are these unlikely to stick plastic? If I were to make my own setup from foam kayak padding, what would I put on top to allow rotation?

Thanks!

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1 month 3 weeks ago #40908 by mrcharly
You could put a plastic shopping bag on top for rotation.

I also have an older Nelo 510 (prob older than yours, mine is #31).

No issues on moving water.

If you aren't used to surfski pedal steering, it can be alarmingly abrupt and throw off your balance. steer gently.

If not used to moving water, there are a few things to watch out for:

Going downstream, as soon as you are moving slower than the flow, the flow will catch your rudder and spin you round. I recommend finding some stable flow (e.g. downstream of a weir) and practicing going backwards against the flow.
Going upstream, you need to concentrate on shortening your stroke. Cadence should go way, way up.

The Nelo is a very stable boat (compared to other surfskis and racing boats). what is your kayaking background?

I assume that you are using a wing paddle.
Make sure that your stroke is short, exiting about hips. For practice, I suggest two drills:
Paddle with artificially shortened stroke. Exit before reaching your body.
Paddle with a very deliberating stroke - take a stroke, pause, take another. In each stroke, as soon as the blade is in the water, Do Not bend or straighten either arm. The stroke must be made with torso rotation only. That will force you to exit early.

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1 month 3 weeks ago #40909 by Really clever username
When I talked about "moving water," I was thinking of open-water waves, not rivers. I'm in the SF bay area, so generally wind-driven or wind-against-tide waves.

Most of my kayaking has been in places like the bay, various estuaries off the bay, and the Columbia River in Oregon. For the last few years, I've been kayaking in an NDK Romany Surf, which is about 21" wide (52.5 cm or thereabouts) but very stable (more primary stability than I really want in rough water). Going from a boat that has too much primary stability to a boat with almost none is probably part of the problem. Also, the Nelo's secondary stability isn't as strong as something like a V8, so there's that. And I'm 55, so adapting to the wildly different stability profile is probably going to be slower than it would be for someone younger.

I took a couple of lessons in April. We did do a drill on paddling with gorilla arms; maybe I need to spend more time on that. Apparently I'm pretty close to releasing at the right point, but I think I may be keeping the blade in too long when things get twitchy.

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1 month 3 weeks ago - 1 month 3 weeks ago #40910 by mrcharly
You are almost certainly keeping the blade in too long. I learned not to when I bought a very very tippy race K1 - thought I was getting a stability 2-3 Jaguar, bought a stability 1 Cleaver X. Lots of swimming until I got the hang of it. Bringing it out too early, when you still have power on the stroke is good initially.
Ok, stuff to try:
Go out when it is a bit choppy. Not big waves, just steep chop. Paddle into the waves until you are feeling happy.
Then stop, take your legs out and dangle them over the side. Weirdly, this is more stable than feet in the boat! Sit there and get comfortable.
Now repeat, but beam on to the chop. It is a good exercise to get used to the boat.
There isn't a huge amount of secondary stability in the 510, but it is there unless you are over 100kg (I'm 85kg/ approx 190lb). Keep the boat upright, unless you are carving on a wave (in which case you probably have a blade bracing on the water.
With stable boats you can let them rock over a lot. With skinny boats, keep them upright. Really skinny boats don't tip much. If you tip them, be prepared to swim.
Try moving the footplate in a bit closer. If it is too far away, you lose 'contact' with the boat.
If going down-wave, and the waves are coming past you, beware broaching. Use the rudder hard and early to keep yourself on track.
Also beware burying the bow in the back of the wave in front of you; it will bring you to a near halt, and then there is a broach again . . . (BTDTGTTS).
If you paddled a romany, you probably have decent brace strokes on either side. I didn't, nerves meant I always braced on my right. Had to force myself to ONLY brace on the left for a while, until I was comfortable on either side.

We all have our bad habits when things get a bit hairy. Mine are forgetting to breath, and also, stopping paddling! If you are finding yourself holding the paddle in the water, maybe try making yourself do dabby short stability strokes until the scary bit is over.

It will come, and you have many years ahead of you. I'm older than you, btw.
Last edit: 1 month 3 weeks ago by mrcharly.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40914 by Really clever username
Yeah, I weigh 100kg, so I'm probably pushing it weight- wise. I've got a pretty solid brace on both sides; I've had more practice than usual over the last month or two.

In pretty sure that my footplate is in the right place--i started with it closer and and moved it back when I realized I was pushing my ass uphill on the seat back. Also, I had a lesson from the local Epic rep, who seems to know what he's doing, and he looked at my seat position.

I'll try sitting crosswise to the waves with my feet out next time I'm in chop. Probably will go out tonight but so far there isn't much wind.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40915 by mrcharly
IF you are pushing your ass up the seat, then you are almost certainly 'pushing wrong'.

Big tip from Oscar that really helped me when I raced was not to push with the drive-side leg, but to think of moving the other side hip forward.

You should have the sensation of your ass rotating on the seat, and never shoving yourself back against the back of the seat.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40921 by LaPerouseBay

I've got an older Nelo 510, and I've been having trouble dealing with moving water. An instructor suggested that I use a removable seat pad when I'm paddling on calm water just to work on my balance. Probably most of my paddles are quick 45 minute to an hour outings after work (on Redwood Creek for people in the SF Bay area), which is pretty calm except for occasional powerboats.
Anyway, I'm looking to set up a system that's easily removable, slick enough to rotate on, works on rotomolded plastic, and hopefully can be adjusted for height. I know Epic makes stackable seat pads "for compost ski use only;" are these unlikely to stick plastic? If I were to make my own setup from foam kayak padding, what would I put on top to allow rotation?
Thanks!

I'd do what that coach suggested.

If you read thru the tips over on the TC surfski site, he goes into detail on the benefits. He has paddled with and interviewed a lot of pros, apparently most of them use seat pads.

You can use the Epic or Mocke pads. The Mocke has a smooth top layer, the Epic used to, but it looks like plain foam now. You can touch base with the local Epic rep, he knows.

As for the velcro sticking to your boat, it will. The velcro is super tacky.

If you want the ability to remove the velcro, you can first put down a layer of plumbing tape. I prefer the 10 mil.

www.amazon.com/Orbit-Sprinkler-System-50...d=ATVPDKIKX0DER&th=1

That stuff will stick to your boat. If you want, you should be able to take out the velcro and maybe stick it back down a few times. If the velcro fuses to the pipe wrap tape, you can buy more velcro.

The nice thing about the pipe wrap tape is that the adhesive is sticky, but not as sticky, or messy to remove, as the velcro.

I use pipe wrap on anything that is not permanent.

downwind dilettante

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1 month 2 weeks ago - 1 month 2 weeks ago #40922 by Really clever username
I was thinking of using packing tape as the base layer for the velcro--is the pipe wrap likely to be better? Also just saw that my local Home Despot stocks the pipe wrap.
Last edit: 1 month 2 weeks ago by Really clever username.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40925 by LaPerouseBay
^ Yes, Epic makes note of it on their seat pad product page. It peels off easily, with little residue.

Watch out for packing tape, that stuff is tough to remove. It's excellent for tiny repairs because it's so thin, but it bakes on and is very tough to remove. I use it for tiny dings on gelcoat, until I have enough work to warrant a visit to a professional repair shop.

Be very careful of solvents on your V-7 and composite boats. Some are painted, and all paints are not created equal. Proper catalyzed "automotive" paints have skyrocketed in cost. Lesser paints will dissolve with certain solvents, like acetone. Acetone is an ingredient in "goof off" a popular product. Acetone is also very toxic.

I would check with a local expert on how to take care of that boat.

downwind dilettante

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40928 by mrcharly
Tip for removing sticky glue residue.

First, try water and washing up liquid.
If that doesn't work, try cooking oil.

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40930 by waverider
I had the velcro strips sticking down my epic pad rip big flakes of gelco off the hull. Using 4 evenly spaced strips front to back. Not when removing the tape, but just by rotational forces. Anyone experienced this before. Makes me feel gelco must have had weak adhesion beforehand

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1 month 2 weeks ago #40931 by Really clever username
Denatured alcohol does a decent job of removing tape residue and I think it's safe on plastic and most finishes. Haven't tried cooking oil yet, but maybe I'll get a chance soon. I ordered a set of Epic pads.

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