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

Wave surfing - angle of attack?

  • MCImes
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5 years 7 months ago #32108 by MCImes
Wave surfing - angle of attack? was created by MCImes
last night I was paddling in 15 knot wind, 3-5' waves, around 8 second interval, with bi directional swell. (wind waves coming in from 9:00 and ocean swell coming from around 7:30-8:00). this made for some relatively steep wave faces when the waves would combine. Also, the current of the bay turns towards open water where I paddle, so there is probably a 1-2kt outgoing current that creates semi-standing waves further building wave height and steepness in some areas.

My question is, it seems to me like I am more successful at catching both a single wave and a chain of waves when I surf at a 15-30° angle to the wave, versus going parallel with it. If I angle closer to or past 45° it seems the wave passes me as I am loosing energy transfer from the wave to the boat due to the increased perpendicularity of attack.

What is the wisdom about the best angle to catch a wave? does height, interval, or wave speed matter? if so, how? when bi-directional waves combine and then separate, how do you decide which once to chase?

Last, I remember a kick ass video from a facebook group that had arrows and lines overlaid on a GoPro video explaining how waves combined and what the guy was looking for to catch the next trough. Can someone re-link that if you know where to find it?

Much appreciated!

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5 years 7 months ago #32109 by zachhandler
It is easiest (takes the least speed) to catch a wave if you are pointed directly downhill at the steepest part of the wave. So to catch a wave you often turn a bit to run directly down the wave face. But once you are on the wave you have to stop your descent down the wave face lest you run into the wave ahead of you and stall out. You can hold your position near the top of the wave by braking with a heavy paddle brace, or by cutting at an angle to the wave. So in general catch the wave at 0 degrees, then surf at 15-30 degrees.

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

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5 years 7 months ago #32110 by PSwitzer
Agree with Zach re: at takeoff you are heading directly down the face, then adjust angle as needed to stay high and go where you need to. Prior to takeoff however, you do NOT want your boat pointed directly in the direction of wave travel as this is a recipe for getting swamped and your stern, then bow will be underwater while you're trying to accelerate. Easier to build speed by paddling at 45 degrees or more to direction of wave travel, then as the trough starts to open in front, you allow the bow to swing down into it as you build speed, timing it so that you are pointing straight down the wave the moment you achieve takeoff.

As far as the ideal angle for different wave variables, that's just experience and feel. As long as you have the goal in mind of staying high on the wave crests, going left and right like a surfer, you'll figure it out. The faster the swell= the longer the wavelength= more room between crests= can keep the boat pointed more straight without burying the bow. On the ocean, you are always zig zagging because the runs are constantly being born, and dying, and the goal is to link into a new growing baby runner right as your old grandpa runner is dying and slowing down.

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