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

Posture

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11 years 10 months ago #12713 by Dooley
Replied by Dooley on topic Re: Posture

Rightarmbad wrote: So maybe unclipping before remounting might be the way to go.


RAB, I don't think you should plan to have to do this on a big downwind - ever. :ohmy:

If your boat takes off in a 25 knot gust even Michael Phelps couldn't catch it. :)

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11 years 10 months ago #12715 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Re: Posture
I dont think anybody should ever roll the dice by not being leashed to the boat on open water. When your boat blows out of your reach, it will be like falling while rock climbing and realizing at that moment that your rope is not anchored. Except that instead of contrmplating your death for a few seconds, you may have hours to contemplate your death as the sun dips to the horizon and hypothermia sets in.

Even if someone else is with you, a surfski is hardley a platform from which to stage an effective rescue.

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
The following user(s) said Thank You: DougMar, Dooley

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11 years 10 months ago #12729 by DougMar
Replied by DougMar on topic Re: Posture
And Zach has the unfortunate, extreme, first hand knowledge of the kind of situation he is refering to, the kind no one wants to have had! Except that I am sure that it has given him a more heightened awareness of how deadly our sport can be with both good and faulty equipment. Hopefully his experience can be of help to we that venture forth into big, rough waters.
Thank you Zach!

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11 years 10 months ago #12743 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Re: Posture

Rightarmbad wrote: I always find a leg leash a liability, in ocean conditions it is easy to hold onto the boat and it is easy to put an arm around it as you go over, well maybe not for smaller peoples, but for me, whether I have a leash or not, I usually have a hold of the ski as I go over, and more often than not, can keep at least one foot under the straps as well.


With all due respect, I think this is really bad advice.

I'm not sure what "ocean conditions" you paddle in, but when I'm in the ocean, there are normally nice big waves or big wind swell.

Holding onto your boat while going down a wave at +20kph and falling off ... I do not believe that is an option.


So IMHO I would suggest any beginner reading this to carefully consider unclipping their lifelines. This "leash" you have can save your life!

<and RAB this is not meant as a flame, or personal attack...>

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11 years 10 months ago #12745 by Rightarmbad
Replied by Rightarmbad on topic Re: Posture
What I mean re the unclipping, is maybe the answer for the leash getting in the way of a remount is to unclip it in the water just prior to remounting.

I haven't tried using the proper leash mounting point in my V12 yet, I will try when it returns to me, but I can foresee that it may be a problem during a sidesaddle remount.

The answer may simply be to have it long enough to be able to step through it to position it correctly before attempting to remount, don't know until I try.
Conditions here have not warranted a leash since I had the boat.


Certainly there are conditions that I want a leash.
But a lot or most of the time out there, it is simply not required, I prefer a paddle leash, either to me or the boat.

In truly big conditions the leash will break anyways, I like to at least address that issue with learnt habits of grabbing the boat/ footstrap as I go over.

As far as I can see, leashes have not fully evolved.
In the conditions that they are truly required, they will break. In conditions that they will work, they are not really required.

It is still a stopgap technology on the way to a truly ergonomic, failsafe way of staying with the ski.

But in reality, we are a long way from that ideal yet.

Interesting to note that nobody has said anything about the unofficial cancelled race and the no lifejackets, or any other obvious safety aids event that was written up on the front page.......

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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11 years 10 months ago #12746 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic Re: Posture
Wow 1000 posts RAB :ohmy:

I haven't really followed this topic too closely but just checked the last few comments and thought to share an experience I had.

A couple of years ago when I was just getting into the downwind thing I did an 18km downwind race that had the small field (about 30) spread far and wide.

The conditions weren't ideally downwind, the swell and chop pushing onshore at about a 45 degree angle but the race was along the coast, so I decided my best bet was to head out to sea early on while I was fresh and as I started to tire I would start to work the runs more often. I ended up about 2 km off shore about half way through the race and felt very lonely.

The breeze was about 15-20knots, gusting to 25, 2-3m swell.

I had only decided to do the race a couple of days before and hadn't got myself a proper leg leash yet. I ended up going to a surf shop and buying a body board coiled leash figuring at least the kids could use it when I got a proper leash. I had to attach the velcro to my ankle once in the ski due to the short length of it.

So about half way through the race, 2km offshore without a sole around I fell out. I found myself on the downwind side of the boat and had the leash going under the ski and into the cockpit on the other side with my foot held up awkwardly by the short leash.

I figured, oh well, it's done it's job, I have hold of the ski so I'll take the velcro off and get back in. I pulled up into the ski sidesaddle just as a swell and chop peaked and fell out the other side upwind. The ski being on the top of the swell and chop was caught by a gust of wind and launched down the face and away from me.

I swear my heart skipped a beat, I didn't even hesitate, I let go of my paddle and made like a man possessed towards the ski, arms and legs thrashing managing to get to it as it wallowed on the back of a swell line.

I caught my breath and slowly worked my way back with the ski towards my paddle, got in and finished the race.

I believe had it been allowed to sit and ride up onto the next swell peak it would have rolled again and so on.

Probably wasn't until much later I realised how close I had been to being in trouble.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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11 years 10 months ago #12747 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Re: Posture

Rightarmbad wrote:
As far as I can see, leashes have not fully evolved.
In the conditions that they are truly required, they will break. In conditions that they will work, they are not really required........


I'm sorry RAB I simply cannot in good conscience let you make statements like this on the the most widely read source of surfski information in the world. Everyone knows that you are a good paddler, that you know a lot about boats, and that above all you are a free thinker who does not accept dogma from anybody else. We respect you for this. And I understand the natural impulse to defend your own previous statements from criticism.

But I am seriously concerned that somebody will follow your advice and end up dead.

Your statement to the effect that leashes only work when you don't need them and fail when you do need them is truly absurd. Anytime anybody falls in the water, loses hold of the boat, and feels tension on the leg leash, the leash has prevented them from being separated from the ski. No human on earth can swim fast enough to catch an empty ski blowing across the water. As to the idea of leashes breaking, how many times have you ever heard of that happening? I bet that if all forum readers got together and pooled our experiences, anecdotes, and even wild unsubstantiated rumors, we could probably come up with just a few cases of leash failure. Weigh that against all the times a leash has ever successfully kept a paddler attached to the ski and you are probably looking at millions of leash successes for every leash failure.

If somebody wants to paddle without a leash, drive a car without a seatbelt, skydive without a backup parachute, motocross without a helmet, or have anonymous sex without a condom, well some might say they are entitled to make those choices. (Though the rest of society that foots the bill for the rescue/cleanup/autopsy may feel differently, not to mention their family).

To advise to others that they too paddle without a leash would be horribly reckless and irresponsible. I am sure that was not the intent of your original post.

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
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dooley

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11 years 10 months ago #12748 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Re: Posture
To follow from that, the other day in about 6foot swell I got knocked off in the break. My coil leash got stretched straight, and to about twice its previous length.

It is now about 3m long, and really thin, so I've replaced it.

I didn't lose the boat after this, as the leash did not break.

As for how many times leash has saved me, I can count 3 times from my last Millers Run alone.

I hope we are all in agreement that the general advice should be to use safety equipment. In our CT paddling group there are just so many stories of gear being needed, and I know CT is not the only place people surfski in big water.

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11 years 10 months ago - 11 years 10 months ago #12750 by drjay9051
Replied by drjay9051 on topic Re: Posture
As I started this thread I'd like to chime in here.

Firstly, I have been on a surf ski for all of one week so I clearly do not consider myself to be any kind of expert or even proficient at this point. I do however have a very STRONG opinion about leashes.

My second day on the ski, 50 meters from shore and thankfully an onshore wind of about 10 kts. I fell off , kept hold of the paddle but not the ski. I looked up and my new Epic was headed for the beach at a much faster rate than I can swim.

As I said thankfully it was not an offshore wind or my ski would be in Mexico right about this time.

Needless to say I got a leash and use it. Still playing around with ankle vs PFD attachment but I do use it. I do not unclip to remount. I simply get it between my legs to avoid any issues with side saddle remount.

In a lake on a totally flat day do I need a leash NO. Will I use it, YES. Why, it's called habituation. Kind of like a seatbelt I am in the habit of using my seatbelt and am ingraining the same habit with the leash.

RE: PFD. I wear it every time paddle. To some I look like a nerd. I really don't give a rat's ass what they think. I am safer and more secure using proper equipment.
All respect to RAB but I firmly believe in safety. I have ignored basic safety in the past while engaged in what could be
considered somewhat risky activities and have paid the price (injury, hypothermia etc) Sorry it is just not a place you want to be.

Just my take on the leash issue.

Happy paddling
Last edit: 11 years 10 months ago by drjay9051.

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11 years 10 months ago #12751 by Rightarmbad
Replied by Rightarmbad on topic Re: Posture
Zac, I have broken my leash.
(Three times actually, once out and twice when I forget to remove it to come in during a big shore break, but I don't count those two)
My paddle was still connected so no problem.
Had I followed the usual dogma, I would have been up shit creek.

I was by myself and as I have said before, when I go out alone I normally take both leashes, but in calm stuff I will take just the paddle leash or none.

The paddle leash would also have been a better proposition in AR's case. A paddle doesn't get blown away and he simply would have to have reached out to grab it.

Why is it that we seem to think that we will all magically let go of a paddle when we fall off?
A paddle leash never gets in the way.
A paddle leash allows you to let go of the leash to remount.


Fact is I find boat leashes a pain in the arse that doesn't fully solve the issue of staying with your boat, and only offer a false security.
Being attached to the centre of the boat is also a very average solution.

Zac, nowhere did I suggest that others follow my strategy, I told what was my own.



My own envisaged 'proper' solution, is to mount a leash close to the rear of the boat.
It would then run in a shallow channel along the top deck and be attached just rear of the paddler by a magnet molded into the deck.

It is anchored to the paddler by a loose comfortable belt or a proper fixing point on a PFD.

This way there is a tidy, no drag, reusable system that anchors the paddler to the END of the vessel and also does not impede a re-entry in any way.
Once back on, reach behind and re-attach the magnet, or if conditions are really bad, don't bother, no harm done, just the potential of a small amount of drag if it gets blown off or falls into the water.

It also never flops around in the bucket or get annoyingly caught under your feet.

Being anchored at an end would now make it a viable system for using in the surf zone, the extra length keeping the boat from whacking you on the head and aligned to the swell so it doesn't get rolled and smashed.

A set and forget, no pain in the arse system that is a huge improvement on the current ones.
The bungy cord could be made strong enough to not break as the length and orientation will keep forces placed on the body low.

I await the day when a manufacturer offers this.


Zac:

I do climb, and you know, sometimes I do it without a rope.
I just use my own inherent trust within myself to competently asses and complete a task.

The same freedom that surfski allows.

Choose to use whatever equipment that you believe in.
But if you think that the current leg leashes are anything but a severe compromise, you have your eyes shut.
If anybody thinks that taking on the sea can be done safely merely by using a current leg leash, they are in for trouble.

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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  • JeandeFlorette
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11 years 10 months ago - 11 years 10 months ago #12753 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Posture
I've had the unpleasant experience of seeing my surf ski tumble and leave me in 20+knot winds and having to be rescued as I could not swim with a paddle in hand. And that was not even in open ocean. In fact what happened earlier was that after I fell off and was trying to get back on board, I rolled the ski and it caught the wind and slipped out of my hands and started to tumble and bounce in the wind : it was a scary sight as you contemplate what your next move will be. :ohmy:

On the other side, I did the Lion Island Challenge a few years ago with leg and paddle leashes, again in the same windy conditions coupled with 1-2m swell and came off. As I rolled, the two leashes got tangled and it was impossible to do the side straddle which at the time I was slowly getting used to! Since then, I only use a leg rope, the idea being, I am connected to the boat which in turns becomes my boyancy device. On the other hand, I got caught in big surf once and managed to hold on to a paddle leash which I through would break as the craft is pushed in the break zone, but it did not and I made it safely to shore.

My advice is use a leg or paddle leash as long as you use one and in ocean conditions, a life vest, mobile phone and day flare are essential rescue/safety devices that could save your life. Even in a race situation, everyone take their own course, you can easily find yourself far away from help and all it takes is minutes and you end up in serious trouble.

Downwind is becoming increasing popular and addictive by the nature of the thrill that it provides, bearing in mind that many beginners read these posts, it would be good for the "authorities" or surf ski experts/bodies to offer some safety guidelines rather than having amateurs advise other people based on their own experience. I am convinced that responsible safety measures are not hard to follow and should become second nature. People will probably stick to their own preferred method but the key thing to bear in mind is that it can get lonely out there in the open waters and conditions turn nasty very quickly, so be prepared at all times, study the conditions before you venture out, tell someone where you are heady and expected time of arrival, and try to paddle with a buddy ( I know that this may not always be practical!).

In the surf ski world, we should take a leaf from the book of our sea kayak cousins when it comes to safety. These adventurers of the sea paddle in more challenging conditions that we do at times and they are the leaders when it comes to safety.

This is a beautiful sport, lets keep it safe, happy ocean and downwind paddling... JDF ;)
Last edit: 11 years 10 months ago by JeandeFlorette.

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11 years 10 months ago - 11 years 10 months ago #12759 by DougMar
Replied by DougMar on topic Re: Posture
JDF: Sorry to say, surf ski paddlers and their craft usually encounter just as rough, and rougher conditions, while being more sea worthy and faster, as compared to sea kayakers. What is good for sea kayaks may not be the same for surf skis. Two somewhat similar, but also quite different craft with different requirements for safety. To take along all the extra gear that many sea kayakers take on almost every outing for nearly every perceived emergency would severely reduce the purpose of the ski. Some would argue that the sea kayak organizations have used the safety agenda to complicate the experience more than it is really needed at times. (I’m in for it now!) Perhaps this is a result of the requirement of re-entering a capsized kayak being more complicated than that of re-entering a ski, and therefore different skill sets, equipment, etc. are required.

Let us not be ones to get all bogged down by rules and regulations devised by organizations similarly constructed as the ACA and the BCU, or other regulating bodies and so-called authorities. This forum is a wonderful place to relay information on all things surf ski, and the individual still reserves the right to educate and decide for him/herself what measures to take for safety. Damn the torpedoes!
Last edit: 11 years 10 months ago by DougMar.

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11 years 10 months ago #12760 by Midlifecrisis
Replied by Midlifecrisis on topic Re: Posture
I started paddling a surf ski 6 months ago have no previous paddling experience. I wanted to paddle in the ocean as it is much more accessible than flat water for me.

After about 5 weeks of paddling I was convinced to enter the Sydney bridge to beach paddle and as for most events you have to have a PFD and a leg leash. I bought both the day before the event not having considered them at all important before that. Even though in hindsight I had paddled in conditions where I should have had both.

In that event, I had a handful of swims as I was knocked around by the swell going past Sydney heads. Each time the leg leash would get tied around my legs in some way. It annoyed the crap out of me and I swore a lot. As I was paddling I was thinking I would not use this leash again if I didn't wasn't forced to. But by the end I decided it wasn't going to beat me and I would persevere with it. If I was ever going to enter another event I would have to be comfortable with it.

Since then I have worn it every time. On the flat water or the ocean. I have fallen out a lot in the ocean and have had a lot of practice getting back in. It is no longer any problem at all. It simply doesn't seem to get in the way most times and if it does, it is easy to untangle once you are seated. Obviously more difficult when it is rough, but still not hard if you have done it a lot.

I haven't had any near misses to explain why I think it is important it's now just a habit.

I haven't used a paddle leash yet, but maybe I should rethink that. My previous thinking has been that I would rather be attached to a ski for buoyancy than a paddle and the two leashes would get tangled. I may just buy one on the weekend and give it a go. It's cheap insurance.

BTW, I don't always wear a PFD but Im tending to rethink that as well. Certainly when paddling alone, which is most of the time.

I'd rather get used to using the right equipment and have some people question the need than, end up with a Darwin award.

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11 years 10 months ago #12766 by Marieski
Replied by Marieski on topic Re: Posture
How many people have managed to lose the ski when using a paddle leash only? I wear a PFD and use a paddle leash and never ever let go of the paddle.

I do belong to the group of people who fell off not using any leashes and watched the boat tumbling away in the spray. It was long ago, in a double, with a very experienced paddler. We had on PFDs and wetsuits. We were lucky to survive and get our boat back.



This thread can no longer be described as "posture". Unless it denotes people taking a particular posture on this issue. : D

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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11 years 10 months ago #12767 by DougMar
Replied by DougMar on topic Re: Posture
Boy, this thread has taken a hard left away from the path it originally was on.

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  • JeandeFlorette
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11 years 10 months ago #12769 by JeandeFlorette
Replied by JeandeFlorette on topic Re: Posture
Why is it that talking about safety generally...PFD's ... leashes is such a sensitive topic and people feel the need to be defensive bout their choices and the lack of general advice or standards in the surf ski world?!

How one treats safety is a personal thing, I understand, but why is that that this topic is almost 'off limits' and we rarely hear from the top guns?!

Now that there are far more inexperienced ski paddlers trying to emulate Deano and Oscar and venturing "downwind" when they should be paddling in their backyard pool, it is perhaps a healthy discussion that one should have if we are serious about teh growth of the sport? Growth does not necessarily mean having 300 paddlers in a race or selling 10 surf ski in a little shop in Hay?

JDF

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11 years 10 months ago #12770 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Re: Posture
Sorry Doug, what you say does not apply to me, while I'm not the greatest ski paddler I go into waters and conditions in my sea kayak I could not possibly paddle in my ski. There are much better ski paddlers out there granted, but I never see them out where I paddle my sea kayak, so if they would be capable or not, I just don't know. For me, my sea kayak is much more sea worthy than my ski. I can struggle in conditions in my ski that I never miss a beat with in my sea kayak. Then I can be a little scared in my sea kayak in some conditions and maybe its because I'm the only one out there.

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11 years 10 months ago - 11 years 10 months ago #12779 by Dooley
Replied by Dooley on topic Re: Posture

JeandeFlorette wrote: Why is it that talking about safety generally...PFD's ... leashes is such a sensitive topic and people feel the need to be defensive bout their choices and the lack of general advice or standards in the surf ski world?!

How one treats safety is a personal thing, I understand, but why is that that this topic is almost 'off limits' and we rarely hear from the top guns?!

Now that there are far more inexperienced ski paddlers trying to emulate Deano and Oscar and venturing "downwind" when they should be paddling in their backyard pool, it is perhaps a healthy discussion that one should have if we are serious about teh growth of the sport?


I do agree JDF. It's a discussion that needs to be had, and I suspect, had again from time to time.

I think the reason why we never hear from the top guns on this issue is that for most of them it is not really an issue. They have "been there and done that" and well appreciate the importance of paddling in conditions that are within their skill levels (for them not as much of an issue as it is with the less experienced) and the importance of using the right equipment in the right way whenever necessary.

But for the benefit of the beginners - the issue of safety cannot be discussed enough.

I do agree with the comment made by someone else in this thread that we don't want to become too regulated in this sport - but there is a big difference between risking your own neck (when your the only one who will suffer) and risking the neck of others, particularly newer paddlers, by not discussing the proper use of safety equipment or by giving them advice about unclipping/not wearing leg-leashes in dangerous conditions.

There will be differences in opinion, and experiences, and in the end we all should make our minds up as to what is best for us. We should also all be honest with ourselves as to our own abilities and experience levels. Over-estimating ability is a dangerous thing in any extreme sport.

One thing that should be emphasised in the context this discussion is the importance of safety strategies other than leg leashes, PFD's etc.

Big water down-winds should not be attempted by inexperienced paddlers, even with the right equipment, and even more experienced paddlers should not (in my view) do them alone - unless they are quite willing to die in the process.

I know it's hard to keep in visual contact with others in these sort of conditions, but big down-winds should (in my view at least) always begin with a plan, such as regroup every 10 minutes, or wait and regroup at a specific distance (assuming everyone has a GPS), and ensuring that each time you start the less experienced go off first in true "handicap" race style so they are followed and watched by the more experienced paddlers. Experience is always relative. There is always someone fitter, better experienced, and with better skills. Leave the ego on the beach and acknowledge where you stand in the order of things. :)

Another simple strategy is using a buddy system, as in SCUBA diving, pairing the most experienced with the least experienced paddler, giving the former the task of watching over and giving the newbey the benefit of their advice and the comfort of their presence on the ocean.

The newby's don't stay inexperienced for long if they are given the chance to extend their comfort zone in "relative" safety.
Last edit: 11 years 10 months ago by Dooley. Reason: grammar

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11 years 9 months ago #12836 by TheGoose
Replied by TheGoose on topic Re: Posture
Hello fellow paddlers...

I thought about What RAB posted and deceided to relate what he was saying to my own expieriences as a "Newbie" paddler.

The fact is, I find the leash or leashes a pain in the butt.

So yesterday I taped up my paddle leash, to stop it from sliding down the paddle and found I was able to concentrate on "Posture" rather than having to re-adjust my leash every five minutes.

(Also found I did not have as much of a Hip Flexor issue, only had time for half hour, but much better)

The leash I have is one I was given, I thik it actually is a "Surfboard leg leash".

I currently attach it to the centre of my foot strap since there is no where else to attach it....

Been thinking too that for a craft that goes to sea, there is no way to attach a line, for example to tow the ski back, like a bow hook or similar?

Don't see how by having one would detract from "Speed" or add additional weight...

Thought too that a "Stern" hook/ring would be nice, that way I could attach a line to it, fasten it to the dock, and practise without going anywhere...much like the "Rowers" did in my school days practising in a "Tank"...

That would mean I could be on the Ski irrispective of the weather since tying up to the dock would be in confined water..

More time on Ski, better Paddler..no?

Take care

Raymond.

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  • Rod Thomas
  • Visitor
11 years 9 months ago #12842 by Rod Thomas
Replied by Rod Thomas on topic Re: Posture
Seeing the topic has changed to leg leashes etc, I will chip in. A leg leash arrived with my new Horizon in April and after a couple of weeks of using it I thought I better check it. I was glad I did and was shocked by what I saw. The para-cord end loop had almost completely worn through. What had happened was that the carabiner eye though which it went had a sharp sliver of unmachined metal which had quickly almost sawn through the cord. So check that you dont have the same problem.

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