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Dealing with cross chop

  • Seaugi
  • Visitor
16 years 7 months ago #1225 by Seaugi
Dealing with cross chop was created by Seaugi
Guys,
Had a hell of a day yesterday. I was paddling a Epic V10 Sport in the channel. Sudden weather change. Got caught out in deep water with a big ugly cross chop. Waves from 2 directions and a strong wind chop. I was getting thrown around pretty badly.
It felt as though every stroke I made was a sweep/balance stroke. I had to change my timing to deal with it.
I know that when the ocean throws something that big at you you have to respect her. But how do others keep their boats from being swamped? The question is would changing my stroke length have helped or hindered?
Appreciate any ideas as I'd like to continue paddling this winter, just don't want to find myself in a position where you are reading my obit.
Thank you
Sean

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16 years 7 months ago #1226 by [email protected]

Guys,
Had a hell of a day yesterday. I was paddling a Epic V10 Sport in the channel. Sudden weather change. Got caught out in deep water with a big ugly cross chop. Waves from 2 directions and a strong wind chop. I was getting thrown around pretty badly.
It felt as though every stroke I made was a sweep/balance stroke. I had to change my timing to deal with it.
I know that when the ocean throws something that big at you you have to respect her. But how do others keep their boats from being swamped? The question is would changing my stroke length have helped or hindered?
Appreciate any ideas as I'd like to continue paddling this winter, just don't want to find myself in a position where you are reading my obit.
Thank you
Sean

Sounds very nasty.
You don't say which direction relative to the wind you were going.

All I can say is that I've been in a couple of situations where I've found myself paddling defensively only to make things worse.

Last season what was supposed to be a downwind race turned unpleasant when the wind swung around so that it was coming from the left quarter. I spent the first half of the race heading towards the shore, and taking waves and wind side-on. I eventually came off, to be overtaken by a buddy as I was getting back on the ski. I started racing again and being much more assertive with the waves - and immediately felt much more in control.

Another instance was the ARB Surf Ski World Cup in Durban in July this year. There were two sets of waves - one that was wind generated which was slightly offshore; the second, massive sea swells heading slightly onshore. Again the first half of the race I was a little tentative, until I came off. Once back on again my confidence was actually boosted and again I became much more assertive with catching the waves - and had much more control - and much more fun.

I don't know if this would apply to the situation that you found yourself in, but for me the takeaway in both my experiences is that defensive/tentative paddling tends to make things worse but a more assertive/stronger attitude tends to make things better.

All comes down to experience I guess. I'm not at all gung ho about this stuff - I carry more safety/communications gear than anyone I know and I think that helps too, I'm confident that I've modified the odds in my favour!

Anyway - I'll be interested to read other people's comments on this.

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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16 years 7 months ago #1227 by Rouen
Replied by Rouen on topic Re: Dealing with cross chop
Hi guys


I`m no expert, but I found that if I can increase strokes per minute(my RPM so to speak) I feel much more stable. Might be worthwile trying a shorter and/or smaller paddle. I felt much more stable in the chop using a 214cm Endorphin than I did using a 216cm Bratcha 2. I usually paddle relatively flat water where the Bratcha works fine. But in the chop it didnt go down so well.


Enjoy!

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  • Seaugi
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16 years 7 months ago #1228 by Seaugi
Replied by Seaugi on topic Re: Dealing with cross chop
Had some great ideas passed over to me via email and I'd like to add them to the stream

" Paddling in chaotic water comes down to experience and being able to
relax. Trust the boat, try to get the most out of each paddle stroke
knowing that the rough water will cause you to miss some strokes.
Slowing down the stroke rate can help. Going into the wind a shorter
stroke rate can help, shorter meaning an earlier exit. Also when the
wind picks up and the balance becomes a challenge I will lower my hands
a bit. This is counter to ideal paddling technique but helps with
balance and helps reduce the paddle from being caught like a sail by the
wind."

Went for a long paddle on Sunday and found I lowered my arms without even thinking about it ;D
I'm going to try to see about shortening the stroke with an earlier exit. I think I'll have to practice that one.

I do find though, that I am much more stable being agressive than passive, especially into the wind. I feel better in the boat with a planted paddle and a driving leg than if I paddle meekly. Sitting up straight and looking forward gives me a better balance point, but I find it hard to see the waves when they come from behind, the side, or both. The day in question I would get a solid plant, start to pull, only to find the wave dissapear from around my paddle. I would be driving and pulling air, which lead to a few hard braces.

I appreciate all the ideas. Its funny, I've never been one for visualization. But with my ski, I can sit here at the computer, close eyes, try to imagine how your ideas will work physically, then when I get out there, they often do. You wouldn't expect it to work that well. So I do appreciate you input.

Thank you
Sean

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  • nell
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16 years 7 months ago #1229 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re: Dealing with cross chop
1. Get a really good fit in the boat, i.e. put hip pads or foam on the sides of the bucket seat to keep from being tossed around within the ski. Make sure your footbrace is not too far away. Putting some nonslip something or other on the footplate helps too. Maybe a snug but not too tight footstrap as well.
2. Exiting the blade sooner will help as a blade in the water and behind your hip will be a balance liability and drain on efficiency. Shorten your paddle and increase your stroke rate a bit. Sometimes short powerful staccatto slap strokes are all you can do to get through some areas.
3. Vary the stroke rate for to meet conditions. Plant your blade on the wave peaks in a steep cross chop, i.e. if the waves are from the left, plant the left blade into the wave and then your right one into the same wave just after it rolled underneath you. While in the intervening trough, you are more stable so you can take regular strokes. If there are waves from more than one direction, you just do the same thing, it just gets to be more of a mind strain to coordinate it all. Whenever I fall out in rough water it's usually because I don't follow the above rule and I plant my blade into the trough, take a good "air stroke" and over I go.
4. Paddle more assertively; keep the blade in the water, AND whenever the blade is in the water, make sure there is firm pulling pressure on it. In other words, don't apply a smooth build up of power to the blade. Abruptly apply the power and keep it constant until the exit. Move the water or the waves will move your blade for you in a direction you might not like.
5. Keep momentum as well as you can. Try to surf anything even small waves going your direction, the backsides of waves coming at you, the backside or frontside of near-beam waves. If you come to a stop facing beam to the steeper waves, you'll wallow and be unstable. To get going again look to see if you can find some waves, shoulder waves to help you get going and stay going. Sometimes you can even just focus hard on a particular wave pattern going your way and block out the other waves in your mind. Just get help from the ones going your way and your momentum will make the other patterns affect you much less.
6. Don't lean back, it makes you less stable. Sit upright or lean slightly forwards.

Just suggestions that work for me.

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16 years 4 months ago #1230 by chrisinmanly
Hi all,

Does anyone have any good suggestions on dealing with swell bouncing back off headlands and rock cliffs? I find this can slow me to almost a standstill in tricky conditions?

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  • hammo
  • Visitor
16 years 4 months ago #1231 by hammo
Replied by hammo on topic Re: Dealing with cross chop
There was an artical on the manly paddlers website a few years ago,I think by Dean Gardiner and the point that stuck out for me was there always will be some swell or backwash going your way...use it.I also think if you know its gonna be dicey before you leave,keep the techno gear,ie gps, phone,expensive sunnies, that split shaft that moves on you when you least expect, to a minimum or at least secure,as they are all distractions that will take away from your main objective of moving the boat forward

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16 years 4 months ago #1232 by stuartknaggs
Interesting - I was out training a course for one of our upcomming races today. i do the run almost weekly but take a wide route through the section of about 45 minutes of cross chop to avoid the worst of it. Today I took an inside line to try it. There was about a 1.5m swell running from the side with a direct bounce back off the cliffs. I'm pretty stable in my ski but I found the best tactic was to keep the speed up. All sorts of interesting little runs kept popping up and I made very quick progress through the worst of it.

Seems its always better to be moving fast - you have more control and can choose your moves rather than having them dictated.

Stuart

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