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

Wingin' in the Wind (tip of the week)

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13693 by Zephyrus
Hi all,

After following your advice on the catch, my paddle is feeling nice and locked in (well, most of the time) Thanks!

Today I was out in some strong winds, and at times it felt like a gust might rip the paddle from my hands. Downwind and upwind were ok, but side winds really messed up my stroke (a few times blowing my paddle blade into the deck of the boat). The blades felt like sails catching the sideways wind, constantly flirting with a leeward capsize.

Making my stroke more horizontal (lower top hand) helped, but I continued to fight the wind.

This was never much of and issue with my Euro blade. The wing just desperately wants to fly.

Any suggestions?

Thanks
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Zephyrus.

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13694 by Kayaker Greg
If doing a lot of paddling with the wind on your port side for example and its catching your paddle, you could change the feather so that the blade does not catch the wind and try to tip you over.
Off course you will want to change it back when paddling up wind. I've found zero feather works quite well for long downwinds as well, the wind pushing your paddle helps with your downwind speed.
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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11 years 8 months ago #13704 by Rightarmbad
It's usually the control hand side that wants to fly.
Greg's advice is spot on, change the feather.

45 deg is usually enough for me, although I have not even remotely had this problem since going to short lengths.

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 8 months ago #13706 by Watto
Might not be for the purists but in extremely strong winds or just in the gusts when squally I keep my upper blade low, upper hand crossing lower than eye-level. Works for me.

This is hard to sustain for an extended paddle, however on really blowy days going into it one not going much faster than a standstill so any sort of paddling gets hard to sustain. While its a blast and thrill being out on the river in this stuff, downwind paddling is still average unless there's a decent swell/waves. Need decent fetch and deep water. Ocean different obviously, lakes too.

You did actually talk about crosswind which is not what I've not commented on - my experiences only with and against wind so maybe not helpful.

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11 years 8 months ago #13710 by Zephyrus
I've been using 67.5 degrees with a Gamma mid set at 210 cm.

I'll try 45 degrees next time. It would seem a lower feather angle would increase stability, even if the wind is changing directions. (More of the winds force will be directed toward the bow/stern, where the boat is 20ft wide, rather than port/starboard, where the boat is 17 inches wide.)

Rightarmbad: 45 deg is usually enough for me, although I have not even remotely had this problem since going to short lengths.


How do paddlers overcome this issue with a variety of paddle lengths/blade sizes/feather angles?

Watching the Molokai videos with the massive waves, the paddlers don't seem to be effected by the wind at all.(stability wise)

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11 years 8 months ago #13711 by kayakchampeen
Zephyrus, one thing to keep in mind re. downwinders in Aus, SA, Tahiti, and Hawaii is that, while there may(or may not)indeed be local winds affecting the paddlers, the groundswell (long period interval) they are riding almost always originates from a low pressure system far away, giving the swell time to cohere/decohere and coalesce into a long interval. Therefore the local winds often have nothing to do with the groundswell, hence why Hawaii conditions can be so huge and semi-glassy at the same time. Basically you can do sreaming "downwinders" without much in the way of local wind at all. I can guarantee you that when the wind starts approaching 30knt, ALL paddlers start to have issues, even experienced ones. Where I live, more swell energy usually is shorter period and is commensurate with heavy local wind, which is challenging, but not as much fun, as pacific conditions. Re feather angle, the only angle that actually mitigates against the windward blade wanting to lift or dive out of your hand in a crosswind is zero..

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11 years 8 months ago #13715 by Kocho
Yup, 0 feather is the most stable directionally regardless of wind direction. But, of course, you pay a rather noticeable penalty upwind. If you are not splitting the seconds or paddling upwind half the time though, the upwind penalty from 0 feather can be mostly ignored...

As for changing the feather on the fly depending on conditions/wind direction, I'm not sure if most people can do that effectively and be skillful enough to adapt their stroke and bracing to the different feather. Perhaps with lots of practice one cando that, but I personally get quite a bit of confusion if I change the feather, so I keep mine fixed all the time...

One more thing is experience - a few years ago I was much shakier than I am now in cross-winds, and I'm sure things will improve over time further. So - more practice helps...

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11 years 8 months ago #13733 by Zephyrus

kayakchampeen wrote: I can guarantee you that when the wind starts approaching 30knt, ALL paddlers start to have issues, even experienced ones. Where I live, more swell energy usually is shorter period and is commensurate with heavy local wind, which is challenging, but not as much fun, as pacific conditions. Re feather angle, the only angle that actually mitigates against the windward blade wanting to lift or dive out of your hand in a crosswind is zero..


Except for the motorboat wakes, most of the waves I paddle on are generated by local wind (and are short period). Once I was out the day after a big storm on Lake Superior, and had 3 meter swells with little/no wind. But most of the time I've got heavy wind to deal with.

Besides reducing the feather angle to 45 or 0, how do you learn to have your balance unfazed by crosswind wind gusts pulling on the paddle? Is it just experience, and letting your body adapt?

Do you lock your arms and lean into the strokes more? or loosen your arms to "absorb" the gusts?

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11 years 8 months ago - 11 years 8 months ago #13735 by Kayaker Greg
Don't lift the windward side paddle so high, usually its just the left side that catches the wind if you feather the paddle as most people do. You definitely grip the paddle tighter but I can't say I tighten or loosen my arms any more, you just do what you gotta do.
Last edit: 11 years 8 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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11 years 8 months ago #13748 by Rightarmbad
Hate to sound like a broken record, but short paddles are magnificently not affected by winds.

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 8 months ago #13755 by Zephyrus
Less than a mid-size wing at 210cm?

I figure when you go shorter you use a larger paddle?

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11 years 8 months ago #13771 by Rightarmbad
I've been messing around for couple of months now at between 195cm and 200cm.
That's only a couple of cm over my standing height.

Takes a while to get that short and for me, at the shortest lengths, my hand is only 3cm or so from the blade.

But the reduction of force is amazing, it's more of a tap, tap, tap than a pull on the paddle.

(My reasons for trying this is to avoid arm numbness due to a high shoulder action annoying an AC joint dislocation as well as reduction of force on the hand as I don't want to re-injure my hand that took a couple years to heal and trying to up my rating as I am simply more efficient with a higher cadence.)

But with my hands that close to the blade, wind is no problem at all.

It feels funny at first, but it is a viable paddling action.
It really excels in strong upwind and sprinting to catch a wave.

But you must rotate your whole torso or your stroke will be way short.
I slide on my seat and polish the bucket to assist in doing so.

Yes I use a larger blade, but only to ensure a quick catch, as the stroke is over very quickly and a slow catch will dramatically shorten the pull phase.

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 8 months ago #13773 by Kayaker Greg
I don't understand what you are getting at when you mention a high shoulder action or why the length of the paddle has any bearing on this?

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11 years 8 months ago #13777 by kayakchampeen
If I may, I think RAB is referring to moving the hands closer together on the paddle so that your top hand is closer to eye level or below, which is a position less susceptible to insult for the shoulder. The only way to achieve this w/o arbitrarily lengthening the length of the lever (distance from hand to end of blade) and thereby creating a larger gear, is to shorten the paddle considerably. You could also achieve a lower top hand with a more horizontal stroke but this is not really desirable except, as watto noted, as a contingency for heavy wind. With the hands closer together on a shorter paddle, the gear (lever) remains the same, and there is less strain on the upper arm shoulder, and the stroke can still be vertical; but the challenge then becomes creating enough reach with rotation to get a long enough stroke at the higher cadence, and a few other idiosyncratic issues at the catch. I have seen people go fast with this approach but it is definitely at a higher cadence than some might feel comfortable with and taxes one's VO2 max more than it does your musculature. Certainly a viable technique, esp for those with rotatorcuff/labrum/AC issues. It's also fairly efficient for the long haul. You won't see guys in the K1 doing this though because the available max power is lessened somewhat.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kayaker Greg

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