× Tips and techniques for getting the most out of surfskiing.

leg drive

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11 years 10 months ago #12404 by drjay9051
leg drive was created by drjay9051
So in preparation for my first surf ski I have been doing some research on proper technique. In my sea kayak I drive with my leg and rotate torso. I have fixed foot braces. In a ski do you drive with only the heels or the whole foot. If entire foot is used doesn't this cause a lot of yawing back and forth as you are moving the rudder as you drive?

I have been watching My Kayak Coach .com but not clear on the drive as far as to engage or not engage rudder.

Also, in turning just rudder or do you edge ski as you would edge a kayak?

Thanks

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11 years 10 months ago #12406 by Physio
Replied by Physio on topic Re: leg drive
i'm sure you will get more detailed response to this, but just drive with your heals, you def dont want to be pushing the rudder, and yes you can rail the same as a kayak to assist turning

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11 years 10 months ago - 11 years 10 months ago #12410 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Re: leg drive
Yes, I have been instructed to drive only with the heels. However, since changing my technique about a month ago and concentrating on the power circles and edging the boat over and trying to get the slippery soap effect I've noticed that the front of my SES does seem to yaw around a little with no rudder input. I'm not sure, perhaps the torso swinging from side to side and trying to use the wall of water is putting a little sideways force on the rudder causing it to yaw a little at the front or its just the swinging torso moving the ski to the side. Really need someone to watch me paddle from behind to see what the rear is doing. So now I put just a little input into the rudder to keep the front going straight, again not sure what effect this has on the rear, perhaps the rear is yawing but its probably better for the front to be going straight and drag the rear than for the front to yaw and upset the bow waves at the front of the ski. But the input to the rudder is very slight, more to hold the rudder straight it seems so I suspect the sideways forces are actually turning the rudder slightly and I'm just correcting or preventing it.
Last edit: 11 years 10 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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11 years 10 months ago #12426 by Rightarmbad
Replied by Rightarmbad on topic Re: leg drive
All of the intermediate boats move their nose around when you paddle hard.
Combination of shorter length and wider bottom.

From memory, the Think had the least movement in the intermediate boats, probably has less initial stability too, don't know if that is related.

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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  • joyee
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11 years 6 months ago #14635 by joyee
Replied by joyee on topic Re: leg drive
My leash again got caught up in the footwell and my right foot couldn't get under the strap or work the rudder.

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11 years 6 months ago - 11 years 6 months ago #14638 by Paul600
Replied by Paul600 on topic Re: leg drive
Joyee,
I run my paddle leash between the pedals and under the footstrap. That way, when I remount after a swim, lifting my paddles high tightens the leash and lifts the strap for my feet to get in.
Last edit: 11 years 6 months ago by Paul600.

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11 years 6 months ago #14652 by kayakchampeen
Replied by kayakchampeen on topic Re: leg drive
Been thinking alot about leg drive in the ski vs. kayak, how they differ, and why I have never fallen head over heels for any ski I've ever tried. First off, I realize that the ski is the right tool for the job if that job is chasing runs downwind, and that pedal steering is a necessity for these conditions. That said, I cannot generate half as much leg drive with a setup that requires you drive primarily with your heels, as I can in any kayak with a fixed footboard, footstrap, knees in center position that allows me to really drive hard with my forefoot. I think this is why ski's are a joke for flatwater inland racing, and are purpose specific ocean downwinder machines. Look at the footage from the steelcase run. The top guys are barely generating any leg drive at all, and I don't believe it's from lack of trying. The leg hump and pedal steering simply don't accomodate this drive. Contrast this with World Class guys in the K1 and you will see a huge difference. In the Barton Mold, Greg himself talks about pushing primarily with his forefeet, although he does a bit thru the heels as well. I have a decked boat that is 20'x17' and is essentially an elite surfski hull with no rudder at all and fixed footplate, and I can paddle it markedly faster than a similar hull with standard ski outfitting (i'm not even exaggerating)
Of course with no rudder it's useless for downwinders, but much more rewarding to race around the harbor in, as I can steer it well enough for this purpose just by heeling the boat. I think all claims about elite skis being as fast as a K1 are only true in the abstract from a hull design standpoint but this is a canard as one can't apply near as much power in the ski. why does this matter?
First off realize that if you are only pushing with your heels you are severely limiting your leg drive output. Why do cyclists and rowers push with their forefoot, because it's what works.
Since elite skis seem to be built for antipodean giants, a guy with a size 8.5 shoe can't even get enough of his forefoot over the board to drive with the ball of the foot and steer only with toes only, which is how it ought to be done. If I drive with my upper foot there is no way not to perturb the ski with constant yawing from minute pedal input. I would love to try a low hump, high seat ski like a nelo with a tiller bar rudder control and fixed board like a K1, FOR THE CONDITIONS I PADDLE IN, this would be the best compromise. In open ocean, I guess ability to steer acutely on the fly outweighs all of these considerations, and it's a fair trade off, horses for courses. But in a race that's a grind with precious little swell it's literally painful to watch elite paddlers be so inefficient owing entirely to their equipment To the extent you can figure out a means to incorporate more forefoot drive in the ski you will always be faster. I think the ideal outfitting for the ski has yet to be determined. Incidentally, I think the tendency for the ski to yaw under power
is not really avoidable, except by running a huge rudder that introduces too much drag. In my experience it is largely a function of rocker. Hull design is still largely based on Hydrostatics, and there is little to no data about how hulls react differently to heave, pitch, and yaw moments generated by the oscillating, reciprocal nature of the kayak stroke. This is where improvements in hull design ultimately lie.

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11 years 6 months ago #14654 by Erhard Katzer
Replied by Erhard Katzer on topic Re: leg drive
That´s what I did for better leg drive. It works well!



Unfortunately it´s cold and dark outside in Austria at the moment.

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11 years 6 months ago #14657 by wesley
Replied by wesley on topic Re: leg drive
My experience is that the term 'heel drive' is a relative term to get paddlers comfortable with using leg drive. It is easy for newer paddlers to envision using "Heel drive" and for instructors to possibly teach it this way. Those of us who paddle surfskis as our primary boat in both flat water and ocean learn with practice,to use not only the heel, but as much of the foot as possible to generate power.The differences from one paddler to another is based on the following:

1. Skill level, elite paddlers can generate more leg drive relative to non-elite paddlers due to their stability in their surf skis. Paddlers having problems with stability have limited leg drive if any and use more arms as the conditions become more unstable for them and loose confidence in focusing on leg drive. Elite paddlers can generate leg drive in all conditions since stability is a non factor. So less skilled paddlers often do better with more stable boats where they to can generate more power and are faster in more stable skis increasing there confidence and often their technique.

2. Proper set up in a ski is crucial. Different skis have different designed foot plates and toe pedals, from the Nelo on one extreme, (see my review) to other models like the Stellar that have a 3 point system with cam locks. Most ski manufacturers have improved their footplates getting away from the squeaky, flexible footplates of the past, realizing the importance of this vary topic we are on, Leg drive and having easy adjustable foot plate.

3. Rudder lines from spectra to cable in varying models all have different tensions that require getting used to by adjusting to your comfort level. Toe pedal adjustment is critical here. A Too far forward angle and you have less drive, too far angled back and loose some responsiveness.

4. Also some skis have a more relaxed footplate (Stellars) to more straight up and down like the Fenns. To each his own here, whatever is most comfortable the paddler.

5.Most skis have different rudders, Think and Huki boats have a great selection, for varying conditions if you take the time to experiment with them based on the conditions you paddle in.

6. Just as important is the ergonomics of the cockpit of each ski. They can be vary greatly contributing to better leg drive or not. For instance what is the height relationship of the bucket to footwell, does hump impede leg drive, is cockpit designed to keep you knees close together or do you need some padding in calf area. How high are your knees? are they too high, too low for maximum leg drive in the particular ski you are paddling in. What is good for one paddler in the same ski may not be ideal for you based on your leg length and skill level.

7. What type of shoes are your wearing? I adjust my footplate and pedals depending on summer or winter surfski paddling shoes.

8.Is your footstrap adjusted to suit your needs, do you prefer single or double foot straps. I have found that the foot strap is less important in surf ski paddling generally, in contrast to experienced K1 paddlers who rely heavily on the footstrap for power and stability since it is another point of contact with the boat.

So all these are points of consideration that most of us figure out on our on or with a knowledgeable paddling buddy, or have the good fortune to take proper surfski lessons with knowledgeable coaches in your area.

Lastly, surfskis are wonderful flat water boats. Many surf ski sold are for this purpose only. They are stable, fast, safe and and have great utility in flat water or ocean by merely changing the rudders. For example: the Mohican surfski is a wonderful pure flat water racing machine. Huki has the S1-Z for flat conditions, Epic just came out with the V14 that I am sure will be paddled in flat conditions by non-elite paddlers. The Carbonology Atom is another ski used for flat and marathon paddling. My Mohican even has pedal steering that i now prefer over the tiller system in my K1's and my other Mohicans. While we know K1's accelerate faster and turn faster, unless you can paddle roughly 7.75-8 mph over distance, then most of us enjoy the stability, comfort, speed, and safety the High performance surf skis afford.

Wesley Echols
SurfskiRacing.com
#1 in Surfski Reviews.

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11 years 6 months ago #14659 by kayakchampeen
Replied by kayakchampeen on topic Re: leg drive
Hey Erhard, I really like what you've done with the footboard on your stellar. It's like the best of both worlds. Complete range of motion on the rudder actuation like pedals, but easier to engage just the footboard when the rudder is not needed. Very ingenious! It's custom solutions like yours that manufacturers need to be paying attention to just like the other forum members' ideas for travelling leash attachments, rudder post failsafes etc. Sometimes the R + D is left up to the individual and eventually filters its way into production. Re-reading my post, it seems like I was somehow disparaging skis in general. Let me assure you that this was not the case. I'm am just of the opinion that they are still in their early stages of evolution and can benefit from ideas like yours. Certainly they are the safest, most comfortable paddlecraft, that are fast in a variety of different environments, even to the extent that my friend Andy Corra chose a V12 for his 24hr distance record on the Yukon River! I was just suggesting, per the OP's question, (and in my own circuituous way) that more leg drive is always better with the entire foot wherever possible. Wesley is correct in his assertion that other ergonomic factors re. how the ski fits can influence the extent to which this is possible, and that every individual's experiences may vary from ski to ski. Moreover, a great deal can be learned by trying as many different boats as possible, to get a composite view of which characteristics are of most importance.

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11 years 6 months ago #14660 by kayakchampeen
Replied by kayakchampeen on topic Re: leg drive
Ha! I just realized that Wesley compared a newer Mohican to his "other Mohicans." I will stop short of demanding to know what occupation compensates him well enough for multiple Van Dusen Mohican acquisition...(Stellar Sales?!) LOL! but I will say that this boat is the one IHMO that makes the most sense for landlubbers and inshore folk who aren't riding 5m southern ocean/hawaiian swell and want to go really fast in more pedestrian conditions.

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11 years 6 months ago - 11 years 6 months ago #14673 by Bill L
Replied by Bill L on topic Re: leg drive
Wesley - very good write-up. The only point I would question is:

"Toe pedal adjustment... A Too far forward angle and you have less drive, too far angled back and loose some responsiveness. "

If I am understanding this correctly, I think if the toe pedal is too far angled back (towards the paddler), you can have too much responsiveness, making it much more likely to over-steer. While in regular conditions the over-steer will just give a bit more drag and slow you down as you correct it, on a big waves it can cause a broach.

Bill L
Last edit: 11 years 6 months ago by Bill L.

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11 years 6 months ago #14677 by kayakchampeen
Replied by kayakchampeen on topic Re: leg drive
Wanted to let wesley know that I was just yankin' his chain a bit with the last comment....IN JEST. He doesn't owe me or anyone else an explanation of his livelihood. Some of you may limelight as partners in law firms or portfolio managers. I'd rather you spend 80k on 25 different boats also than a mercedes-benz. I'm just jealous cause I want to audition some of the quiver.

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11 years 6 months ago #14680 by Hugh
Replied by Hugh on topic Re: leg drive
Franklin,
Although Wesley has a lot of boats, he is more of a serial owner than a hoarder. It seems that almost everyone in the northeast has one of his old boats - you could say he subsidises most of us that way.
I'm saving up for one myself, but it needs to wait until after the wildwater and slalom boats that are on 2013's shopping list.

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  • Bermy
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11 years 6 months ago #14681 by Bermy
Replied by Bermy on topic Re: leg drive
Still don't know how Wesley gets that past the wife :woohoo:

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11 years 6 months ago #14682 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: leg drive

Hugh wrote: Franklin,
Although Wesley has a lot of boats, he is more of a serial owner than a hoarder. It seems that almost everyone in the northeast has one of his old boats - you could say he subsidises most of us that way.


When I first got into paddling I wondered at how many boats veteran paddlers had. Now I've been into paddling as a sport rather than recreation I've accumulated 4 boats. When asked how many I've had recently I was shocked to realise that in the last 4 years I've sold 7 boats, so in 4 years I've owned 11 boats!

Always looking for the next boat :)

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