Do we expect too much from ski manufacturers?

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10 years 11 months ago #9187 by AR_convert
I've been reflecting on the issue of boat builds after discussion topics such as carbon versus Vacuum glass and the lightness of ski lay-ups.

Are we too hard on ski manufacturers when we start to get cracks and failures in our ski's.

Someone once said our ski's are the formula one of kayaking..., building them to the lightest possible spec and expecting them to handle huge stresses.

We strap them to the top of cars, hang off tie down straps and in some cases use racks that apply those tie down straps outside the bucket area where the most strength is (I've seen cracking as a result of this).

We drive at 120km/hr down the highway with the ski's squirming from side to side in cross winds.

They are dropped, launched through surf and abandoned in surf while owners sprint for the finish.

Tell me, do we expect too much of them?!

Always looking for the next boat :)

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10 years 11 months ago #9188 by cdo
Can I suggest that often the owner has no idea how to look after a ski and this is the real issue. From my experience most damage to skis doesn't come from use in the environment in which it was designed to be used. Most damage comes from transport to and from the water. Also an ocean ski, as opposed to a spec ski is not really designed to be used constantly in large surf break, rather it was designed for the ocean out from the surf breakers. Given the actual environment it was designed for I see very little damage resulting directly from use within the design use. How often do we see a ski without any soft material tied down hard to a small cars roof rack without any form of bow nor stern lines....add speed and a crosswind to the equation and the forces trying to stress the ski is enormous.
I regularly use a ski which others claim are super fragile/poorly made in big ocean swells. It has had years of this use (often 5 times a week every week) and it doesn't have a single stress crack. A lot of the damage is a direct result of the owner's lack of knowledge or lack of care.
I have a friend with the same ski as mine but in a raw carbon layup. Again it survived years of ocean paddling fine....it suffered major damage when he dropped it whilst lifting off his car. This is typical.

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10 years 11 months ago #9191 by jamo
untill such time the manufactures state loading points ie distances between cradles like spirit have with there prs whether two tie the front and back of skis to counter act the side forces of wind when travelling it's a grey area.
when you have dealers running competitions where you start and finnish in a beach break to me thats saying the product should handle the enviroment otherwise all surf ski races should start and finish away from beach breaks and state exactly what conditions there built for.
don't get me wrong i agree with you i've seen a paddle taken back for warranty.
the only thing wrong they should have rubbed the shoe mark off the back first.
and the amount of ski's that have dropped when getting loaded and unloaded or carried up the beach in the wind would probably be a big percentage.
though there are still the ones that have genuine poblems from new.
for myself and the type of paddling i do i would sooner a stronger heavier ski. i'm not about to go pro and take mockes title but i would like a 2800 au dollar ski to last longer than eight months

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10 years 11 months ago #9194 by Rightarmbad
Apart from one incident that broke my ski, it still looked and performed like new after more than a year.

I don't think anybody expects them to survive a less than skillful or very unlucky happening in the shore break.

I don't think anybody thinks that it is possible to drag them up the sand without marking them.
Apart from race organisers anyways.

I think that most unsponsored paddlers want to start and finish in the water.

I'd like to see a standard race be a start in the water standing next to the ski, or lined up already mounted, and finish at cans.

None of this drag it up the beach shit.

In that situation, they are built just fine.

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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10 years 11 months ago - 10 years 11 months ago #9200 by cdo
Perhaps this needs to be a new topic but:

Here are some thoughts on how to make your ski last the distance.
Firstly I am no expert but I have had skis which I have literally driven round Australia 4 times now without suffering any damage from the experience on extended 'holidays'.

Yes the ultimate would be for the ski manufacture to mark exactly where the roof racks are to be placed on the hull.....but the reality is that in most good roof racks the distance between the racks is set by the car manufacture and the two parties will never reach agreement!
So what can be done:

1) The roof rack brand/styles themselves vary from rubbish to adequate. The best type I have seem are the ones which allow a direct bolt attachment to the designated roof thread on the vehicle. Again very few cars have the thread to start with. The side loads placed on a rack from a long boat is big. As a rule of thumb roof racks that rely on the roof gutter for attachment are dubious.

2) As a rule of thumb the greater the distance between the racks the better. This favour stationwagons and most 4wds. The 4wds often also have the designed roof thread attachments also eg. a Landcruiser 80/100 has 3 of these threads to accept a bolt rack along each side of the roof. A 4wd often has a high roof but such devices as the Thule Hullavator mean that lifting is not a risk here.

3) Cushioning: personally I use a reasonable soft sponge material and 10 cms thick. The aim of the pad is not just to stop abrasion scratches but also to allow some shock cushioning.

4)Attachment of ski to rack: Obvious is at each rack but critical is how tight. Best advice not too tight but firmish. Again here the thick padding aids the not too tight. Importantly a bow and stern attachment is a must if you really want to be kind to the ski. Some manufactures have a solid handle at each end to aid this others nothing. For those without, attachment can be achieved by a web strap which is sewn to form a loop which will pass over the end but not open up enough to move too far from the ends. These bow and stern need to be firm but again not tight.

5) Cradle effect: hard for me to describe this but you need more than a flat roof rack. Look at the aftermarket kayak cradles and you will get the idea. You need some sideways support on the racks themselves....again I personally would pad these as most manufactures don't provide shock cushioning. Often the more area to spread the "cradle effect" the better (ie. pressure point over a larger area but use commonsense as which part of the ski!).

6) My skis almost never touch the ground nor beach. If you want cheap cradles buy the folding style fabric chairs and cut the back off them. I usually have these locked onto my car exterior...they are there ready to use on my return from paddling. Helps that it is a 4wd here with bull bar side bars and rear bars that allow either a side attachment or front or back.

7)Carrying a ski: personally I like to carry at my waist with both hands far apart and my paddle across the ski. Everyone is different but make certain that you use a technique which allows you to cope easily with wind gusts!

8)Placement on roof rack: hull needs to be somewhat balanced fore and aft. Which way up...depends on shape/strength of ski. Please use commonsense here and yes some require a good cradle that provides support in the right (solid) location of the ski. The variables here are too great but commonsense should provide an adequate solution!

My motivation for writing this dribble: for every one ski I see being transported correctly I would see at least 20 that are not. One day I might want to buy your used ski and obviously I would prefer one that is still structurally and cosmetically good!

PS: reality check. In the state of Australia where I live, carrying a 21 and a 1/2 foot ski on a Mini roof for example is illegal. The overhangs are too long under the traffic regulations....the police in my state aren't very proactive and I bet I wouldn't be pulled over. However if I crashed the car my insurance would most likely refuse payout because it was illegal for me to drive that car with that ski attached.
Last edit: 10 years 11 months ago by cdo. Reason: added ps

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10 years 11 months ago #9202 by f0xxee
Hi all,

Thanks for the tip.

I recently drove 400k across some of the busiest part of Thailand (From near Pattaya to Hua Hin) with my Evo on the roof of a Honda Civic. What I found:

1. Drive a few K and recheck all lashings.

2. A bow and stern line of light line from a webbing round sling (you can buy the webbing round sling from Motorbike shops as they use them to tie down bikes in the back of utes) are a must, and should like wise be checked after a few K.

3. Aerodynamically the front wants to lift and the stern sink as the speed increases, so make sure the front is more firmly secured.

4. Speed humps are evil things designed by people who don't carry surf skis.

5. 90kph was really the nominal safe speed... wind forces particularly the lifting force on the bow of the ski is really noticeable above this speed, and its unlikely but still possible to peel off a roof-rack going faster. (especially if the bow of the boat is not secured.) Wind force increases exponentially with speed. (Note this is also the recommended top speed in the Thule guidebook. Probably conservative but better than ending in tears.)

6. I use Thule Portahull racks, and on a Civic they balance around the seat of the bucket adjacent to the drain and just in front of the footplate.

7. Check and retighten often, and avoid big potholes!

Regards,

Foxy

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10 years 11 months ago #9204 by owenfromwales
Going back to the original question, I think we can get more out of this by asking `What more do we deserve to expect from ski manufacturers?` In truth, I think `you gets what you pay for`, but here are some of the things I`d like for my $:

Solid safety handles at both ends, like the ones on Think skis (although I`ve never tested how strong they are on that particular brand, I think most paddlers know what I mean here). They would serve a multitude of purposes, from carrying, securing to a vehicle and -very importantly, in my opinion, - somewhere to attach a leash away from the centre of the boat.

Info from ski builders on where the strongest parts of their boats are (you can tell by looking inside - but this usually only happens after already having snapped it!)

As well the general safety and care notices, I think all manufacturers should give in-depth info about the insides of their craft.

A buoyancy rating, something similar to what PFDs have, showing the maximum flotation a broken ski should have.

And finally, all makers should have outlets on Okinawa so that I can actually get to see skis in real life instead of trying to ship them here from wherever - ok, that last one was for me, but seriously, agents and outlets will continue to expand as long as skis are recognised as being as user friendly ( a small hatch for keys and snacks would be nice, maybe even built-in bottle holder) and as safe as is reasonably possible.

Happy paddling,
Owen

189cm 90~100kg
Present skis:
2017 Stellar SEI 2G
1993 Gaisford Spec Ski
1980s Pratt Spec Ski
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor
Previous
1980s UK Surf Skis Ocean Razor X 3
1987 Kevlar Chalupsky (Hummel) (Welsh copy!)
1988 Kevlar Double Chalupsky
1992 Hammerhead spec
2000 Fenn copy

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10 years 11 months ago #9210 by Bill L

cdo wrote:
8)Placement on roof rack: hull needs to be somewhat balanced fore and aft. Which way up...depends on shape/strength of ski. Please use commonsense here and yes some require a good cradle that provides support in the right (solid) location of the ski. The variables here are too great but commonsense should provide an adequate solution!


Your points about roof racks are quite valid. And, as you point out, how one positions it lengthwise is very important.

I think the tendency is to "balance" it so that it hangs equal distance forward and behind the rack. But the further forward it hangs, the more moment there will be induced by wind if the ski is not exactly straight, thus the ski will try to "turn" one way or another and cause a stress in the area where the front end of the rack holds it. Due to cross winds and turns in the road the ski will not always be straight relative to the wind, and so this torque will increase significantly at higher speeds.

Thus in some cases, particularly at higher speeds, it may be better to hang the ski further off the back of the vehicle to lessen the induced torque out front.

Bill L

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10 years 11 months ago #9212 by Rightarmbad
In regards to overhangs and the tendency to be pushed sideways.
It's downright bloody hard to get your ski pointed exactly straight ahead.

The front of a ski also presents a higher sideload than the rear, so it is nigh on impossible to get the center of pressure towards the back, and this is what will try and keep your ski straight.

So in reality even before you get a sidewind, the bloody thing is always going to want to go sideways.
It's like taking the fins off a rocket and expecting it to do anything but zoom around in random circles.

So large area cradles that extend high up the side to support it against side loads.

If the area of the cradles is sufficient for the ski to not flex out of it's elastic zone, you will do no damage.
So extra padding should not be required and may even make things worse by allowing the ski to move more and develop higher forces before dissipating it in the cradles and boat flex.

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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10 years 11 months ago #9214 by Bill L
ah, yes...

a 21 foot rack with 12" sides, bolted through the vehicles roof ought to do it.

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10 years 11 months ago #9223 by Kayaker Greg
A warning to those strange soles who prefer to carry their ski upside down on their racks, and I see many. A few months ago I did a 3 1/2 hour open road trip with a fellow paddler who insisted that we carry our skis upside down on his SUV even though we had foam cradles to carry our skis. We had to re tighten the straps and tie the skis together 3x during the course of the trip to try and stop them moving. On reaching our destination his Fenn had developed a crack along the seam in the cockpit area. Pulling down the straps to try and stop the skis moving had pulled the hard cockpit area onto the racks themselves through the foam and I guess the pressure and vibration had damaged his ski. Our club trailor requires that the skis are carried upside down and I will not use it for this reason even though it has foam on the racks.
On the return trip we carried the skis the right way up, as I always do and the skis never moved at all and they did not have to be tightened either. I think its a lot easier on the ski and spreads the force through the hull area rather than on the join, which in my mind is the weakest point.

The main area of damage while paddling is when the rudder contacts something and damages the hull. I know of hulls being damaged this way not infrequently and the skis getting gradually lower in the water requiring the paddler to dismount and basically do a T rescue with another ski to try and drain the water.

It would take no real effort or extra expense for ski makers to isolate the rudder area with a waterproof bulkhead within the hull and even a stringer running width ways just behind the rudder post would prevent the rudder being pushed up into the hull as I have seen some do.

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10 years 11 months ago #9242 by AR_convert

owenfromwales wrote: Info from ski builders on where the strongest parts of their boats are (you can tell by looking inside - but this usually only happens after already having snapped it!)


Maybe something like aircraft wings that say (do not step hear), they could put small arrows that indicate which areas not to use for tie downs.

In know a glass V10 sport that was on those extended racks that developed cracks in the hull from the tie down about 1 1/2 foot behind the bucket. A few months later the hull went on to fail in that area. Seems even if you can have supports further forward and aft of the usual roof racks they may help with side to side movement but the strength forward and rear of the bucket it not as strong.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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10 years 11 months ago #9248 by cdo
If you have to make a choice between strapping a ski down hard or having it move slightly (so long as it is moving into a cushioned material)....then personally from my experience I would take the moving slightly approach. A too tight strap with no cushioning give can destroy a ski quite quickly at highway speeds with potholes....even quicker on a trailer with stiff suspension.
I might also add I have in my extended ski travels, broken straps whilst driving at 100km per hour but I have never looked like damaging a ski because of this. Two rack straps with fore and aft lines ensure a safety margin. If the colour of the straps look sun faded then replace them ASAP.

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10 years 11 months ago #9251 by Rightarmbad
I agree, speed bumps are evil.

Cradles work just fine.

Don't crank down hard on the straps, the cradles do the work.

You broke a strap! You sure got your full value from them then.
I've got straps here that are at lest 10 years old, they show no sign of weakness.

Roof racks are plenty far apart as standard.

Upside down is silly, they move about with anything less than god like power applied to the straps.
May get you down the road OK, but highway speeds, forget it.

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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