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upwind paddling technique

  • RobH
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11 years 1 month ago #15960 by RobH
upwind paddling technique was created by RobH
After a winter on the erg, I got back on the ski the first time yesterday (ocean, 1m choppy wind waves) and was reminded how much less enjoyable paddling a ski upwind is (still beats working though). For me it's not the headwind that's problematic but rather paddling against the waves. I'm curious how other people approach upwind paddling. I figure that using less airtime/recovery time is a given, and I feel faster upwind shortening the paddle a few cm. But what about a longer, harder vs. shorter, poppier stroke? What about preventing the bow and stern from bouncing all over the place? Do people think about shifting body weight or timing the pull of the stroke to prevent the bow slamming down?

The bouncing of the ski upwind seems to completely kill boat speed. I paddle a V12 ultra and suspect that boat is really bad in that regard. My only other ski was a Twogood Mako which seemed to run a lot smoother and faster upwind. Next time I go out I think I'll let the V12 cockpit fill up as mentioned in the post "Upwind is a Heavy or Light boat best?" by Nell, who mentioned how he felt faster in an upwind race leg when the cockpit was full.

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11 years 1 month ago #15967 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Re: upwind paddling technique
I sometimes paddle the V10 Sport in similar conditions and it is not fun directly upwind either. I think it is due a lot to the length of the ski relative to the wave length and height. I much prefer to paddle a bit diagonally to the wave and zig-zag my way upwind. Paddle for a few minutes a bit to the left, then turn a bit to the right for a few minutes, so I almost never end up paddling directly upwind. That won't win a race, but for a workout paddle is good as it eliminates the slamming completely yet you are still climbing upwind rather steeply.

You are right some hulls are better upwind. And not just for weight. I had a Valley Rapier 18 racing kayak before the Epic and that kayak was terrible upwind in choppy waves or for that matter if I would burry the nose surfing downwind - the deck would not shed water as well as I think it could. The Epic is better...

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11 years 1 month ago #15971 by kevin brunette
I also shorten my paddle for upwind as this maintains a higher stroke rate. For me, a shorter, faster stroke with power at the catch seems to pull me through the best. With a longer stroke and more rotation, I find that my balance is overly compromised at the exit, reducing my available power.
Things I try to focus on when paddling upwind are boat speed and keeping the boat going. I try to retain my momentum by taking a hard stroke as I land after cresting, if I can. This makes the boat go forward rather than down. I attempt to lean slightly forward and then back to minimise the horizantal movement of the ski. My balance is not all that good, so I tend to brace on cresting which can bring me to an almost standstill. To remedy this, I concentrate on keeping my paddles turning over all the time to retain forward motion.

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Author and publisher at South Easter Communications of books in the SURFSKI series, aimed at recreational to advanced paddlers. Look at the Facebook page Surfski know-how and visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/southeastercommunications

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11 years 1 month ago #15972 by Sandy
Replied by Sandy on topic Re: upwind paddling technique
Some good points , Rhythm seems to play a big role . For myself (old enough for an AARPcard ) I can paddle comfortably for longer periods upwind with rhythm. Power strokes on the windward sides of bumps and NOT on the leeward faces(which effectively launches you into slamming the windward trough in front of you. The point of Momentum is totally at play here ,use it or loose it.The point of line just off straight upwind is also a good one for me , just a slight diagonal significantly reduces slamming. Just like downwind , look fore the "holes" or edges of the bumps coming at you. Seems like every time I point it straight upwind and try to hammer it out I get slammed and beaten. Snaking through the soft spots , kinda like mogul skiing , and applying power with good rytym makes for a smoother connection to the water and In my opinion (and relative experience) a more efficient transit to the prize , the TURN DOWNWIND , and the reason I, and I believe most of us ,paddle surf skis in the first place.I do my best to keep weight forward , getting in the backseat climbing the leeward face automatically puts your nose up and in the wind . As soon as I get worn down , I start slamming and get beat up , so I do my best to keep it efficient for me and NOT get sucked into chasing , find your rhythm and go with it.I humbly submit that technique and timing are way more important then boat weight , though boat shape certainly is a factor in going to weather.

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  • darebet
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11 years 1 month ago #15993 by darebet
Replied by darebet on topic Re: upwind paddling technique
I pretty much concur with Sandy. A slight angle of attack cuts down on the slapping greatly. It can take a bit more out of your core. I mostly deal with chop. Unlike most of you going upwind is my favorite direction since my downwind is less the spectacular.

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11 years 1 month ago #16009 by coastbouy
A response to the question of up wind paddling. I was out today and there was lots of waves coming from various angles in front of me, slapping after going over the crest of the larger waves wasn't so much the issue as was staying balanced. In these conditions I tend to slow down and catch myself bracing a lot. What I did today was increase my stroke rate and try not to dig to hard and i found my going a notch faster and feeling more balanced. Long light boats tend to catch a lot of air and wish I could thread my way over the crests with out slamming down but the water was quite "messed up", Cheers!

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  • photofr
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  • SURFSKI: K1 560M - 560x43.8 / K2 Viper - 650x56
10 years 4 months ago #19622 by photofr
Replied by photofr on topic upwind paddling technique
Today's paddling took me head-wind (35-40 MPH) and against an incoming tide (in France, so pretty massive). The things that most likely "saved" me:
- Core muscles were warmed up nicely, before going upwind
- Extensive focus on technique before upwind (early catch and plenty of rotation)
- Having trained all week
As it turned out, I purposely put my ski (and myself) at the mouth of the rushing water (the tide) and paddled with a good rhythm. My focus was early catch, power, early exit, and super quick setup for the next catch. As mentioned above, I usually try to faster strokes, but I also shorten my paddle length (which takes me seconds). Downwind, however, I find myself lengthening my paddle about 2cm longer than I would on flat water.
None-the-less, today's conditions were extreme upwind - when glancing at my GPS, I was doing 2.6 km/hour - for the 17 minutes it took me to get the heck out of dodge.
It was training that I do not regret, but just like in longer sprints, I often watch my technique go to &#%@$# and therefore slow down little by little. The more I train, the longer it seems I can keep my technique to good use.
Hands down, the Chalupsy from TwoGood Kayaks was the best upwind boat I ever owned, but with the right technique, faster pace, shorter strokes - I find upwind paddling very rewarding.

I also use another technique - perhaps not faster, but keeps "me mind going":
I try to take a stroke ONTOP of the top of incoming ripples / waves - it seems to motivate me to the point that my technique doesn't turn to &#%@$# as fast.

Hope this helps.

PS. Currently paddling the equivalent of a V10, with 3" raised seat, that is not designed for my 120 pounds.

(Brittany, France)

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