In (literally) way over my head! Advice?

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13 years 9 months ago #5043 by Jim Hodgson
Hi, first post here from a long-time kayaker, one-time (yesterday) surf skier. Was starting to get just a little bored maxing out at 5-6 m.p.h. in my wooden sea kayak and thought surf skiing might be for me. OMG, it is! But, why does it have to be so damned embarrassing? :blush: (Seriously, having old ladies on shore yelling "Are you OK?!? Do you need help?!?" was not my proudest seafaring moment.)

I know the answer has everything to do with me and my *having* to have an incredible performance-oriented ski. (Without going into a lot of needless detail, a great opportunity came up to buy a special boat at a good price.) It doesn't like me much, though, and enjoys throwing me into the water every chance it gets. Which is to say *often*.

Whatever. I love a challenge, and I'll work my ass off at this until I get it. But, basically it was all I could do for the first 1/2 hour just to sit in this boat -- very quietly, shhhhh, staring straight forward -- and to try not to anger the surf ski gods. As soon as I even *glanced* to one side or the other, splash! OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but the feeling is not unlike trying to keep a bike from falling over while not moving.

After an hour or so, though, when I had taken just those first few baby steps -- i.e., paddled maybe 100 yards successfully with my legs inside the boat -- it was about the most satisfying feeling I've ever had on the water. Beautiful. So, I'm hooked already -- count me an addict.

There's just this nagging doubt that a ski that's way too advanced for me is going to hold me back, prevent me from developing good technique, etc. What do you guys think? Yes, I absolutely know that 21' X 16.5" boats are not recommended for beginners. But, is it just because they're too frustrating? Or is it because they seriously curtail development? If I'm really psyched for more than the occasional swim, should I keep trying to tame this little sliver of kevlar? Or should I get real and downgrade temporarily to a beginner's boat and learn "correctly"? My intuition says that if (1) I've already got a sound forward stroke, (2) I just need to acquire (much) better balance, and (3) I'm hell-bent on sticking it out, then maybe my racing ski will be A-OK in the long run. But, my intuition also told me to buy this thing, so...

I do listen to advice, so here's your opportunity to save me from much humiliation and to get me started properly if you feel really strongly about it.

Thanks so much!

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13 years 9 months ago #5045 by AR_convert
Welcome to the forum Jim, loved your in depth intro to the ski paddling world :P

I guess the only real issue is time, how long are you prepared to stick at it?

My route to faster paddling was incremental in both boats and learning technique, but I had certain races to be ready for so erred on the side of caution when I didnt have a lot of time to become competent with either a new boat, paddle or change of technique.

You have the boat, so really what have you got to lose by sticking at it, I guess after a while you will know yourself whether you can stay at it or whether it is frustrating the heck out of you :dry:

Have fun ;)

Always looking for the next boat :)

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13 years 9 months ago #5046 by Dennis Smith
Howdy,
I'm really new at this, only having a few weeks more experience in skis than you, but share a similar background.
Of course, the advice I always hear is "Go with stability over speed"....since stability will allow you to go faster with more confidence. That's the route I took (19" wide boat) and I'm already having 4 to 9 mile workouts without getting wet.
Doesn't help you much now. You got that boat in a great deal. You may plug away and conquer it...I'm sure it's been done many times before. However, if keeping at it proves discouraging, either sell the boat at a profit B) or consider "training wheels" for a while.
Jude of Huki has a Gull Wing that I believe can be retrofitted to any type of ski with modification. It's like a two sided mini outrigger that satys out of the water (causing no drag) unless you start to roll too far (which it will then prevent. Here's a link: www.surfski.info/index.php/info/tips/mod...er-canoes&Itemid=189

Cheers, paddle hard,
Dennis (Spirit PRS)

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13 years 9 months ago - 13 years 9 months ago #5047 by Dicko
What boat are you paddling? It makes a difference. ie If you got a deal on a millenium you will never feel stable, no one else is, so why should you.
Last edit: 13 years 9 months ago by Dicko. Reason: grammar

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13 years 9 months ago #5049 by Hiro
Man ! I wish I could have a millenium. I have a mako6 and I've been paddling a friend's millenium. He sold it and I didn't buy it... regrets, regrets ! :(

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13 years 9 months ago #5050 by egger
I would persevere for awhile. As someone has already said you've got the boat so stick at it. Balance does come with time in the seat. I'm currently trying to tame a very tippy K1 which also seems eager to buck me out every chance it gets - no amount of boat whispering seems to work. A few things I'm trying, with some success are:
1. Working on my balance by sitting on a fitness ball while resting my feet on a basketball and rotating my trunk holding about 6kilo in weights. The feeling is remarkably similar to sitting in a K1. This definitely works up my balance while staying dry and away from gigling spectators.
2. I started taking the boat out in the river in the most calm of conditions when there where no other boats around - which invariably was at night. The first few weeks had me spending a lot of time in the water. My technique was going from bracing on one side to stop falling in to bracing on the opposite side to stop falling in and so on. It wasn't very pretty or enjoyable but as time went on I started to get small runs of 50 metres where it all seemed to come together. After a month I can paddle about 6 km without going for a swim. Still not pretty but I'm happy with the progressive improvemnent.

Stick with it and accept the challenge!

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13 years 9 months ago #5051 by RHamady
Just a quick thought from my limited experience.....you said you had the forward stroke down, which is good. The other thing you didn't say is what type of paddle you are using??? You need a wing paddle, a wing paddle offers stability while you are paddling. I first started with a flat kayak type paddle and it was a no-go. The wing paddle allows you to brace while you are paddling, it's like sticking a paddle in solid jello as you stroke, lots more stability!! Just a thought.

Good luck,
-Rich

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13 years 9 months ago #5058 by Pete
My advice to anyone starting is dont get too serious at yourself, we all fall out and its only water.

I also say one of the main skills is learning not to fall out or tip over - all of us are pretty much paddling on the edge in down winds, out or back in surf and the ability to use your blade to rest on ( and push off ) is I think a great skill - we all have it, but just dont think about it.

The ability to stop yourself falling is invaluable after 10 or so years paddling I still reckon I`m a gumby and have fallen off at the weirdest times when a " what the" is the only thing you can think of.

Falling off is only one step off staying on - so find somewhere quite ( without a current ) and just perservere.

Cheers and keep laughing as you fall off

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13 years 9 months ago #5061 by SS@Bermuda7
Replied by SS@Bermuda7 on topic Re:In (literally) way over my head! Advice?
Best for learning to stay in the ski is some extra motivation. Paddle where sharks have been sighted. $ 10.00 says you wont fall in as easily, and if you do, you'll be back in the seat in a flash.

Keep at the ski you got and enjoy.

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13 years 9 months ago #5069 by pineclone
Learning to get back on the ski is also a valuable skill. I used to be really good at it...much better than i am now. On that note, I really need to get back out before winter and practice remounting.

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