Another Stability Question

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11 years 7 months ago #13494 by drjay9051
I have had my EpicV10 Sport for a couple of months now. I am very new to this. Prior to surf ski I paddled 18 ft sea kayak for a month or so.
To this point I have used the Epic on a local lake. Like all newbies I had serious stability issues. After a week or so i questioned my purchase and seriously considered selling the ski and sticking to the kayak. I am glad I persisted. Now I am pretty comfortable in flat and calm conditions.. The milestone for me was being able to paddle across the lake and back without a swim!

Yes,it was only 2 miles total but for me a real accomplishment for a 58 year old overweight guy.

Here is my current problem: I went out on the lake this weekend and it was a bit breezy. I had no problem going upwind or downwind but the minute the wind was abeam when I turned I was VERY unstable. I'm not talking about a 20kt wind just enough of a wind to produce a bit of chop. How do I deal with this? is it just a matter of more time on the ski?

The other thing is I actually felt more stable going upwind as opposed to downwind, is this an unusual situation.

I will no longer have lake access so I'll be moving into the Gulf of Mexico. For sure I'll encounter wind and chop so aside from time in the ski, Swiss ball and weight loss any other hints?

Thanks

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11 years 7 months ago #13495 by Rightarmbad
From my experience, the worst conditions for stability are exactly what you have described.
I find that the ocean is much easier than the local broadwater where there are many boat wakes or short sharp wind waves coming from the side.

As you have found, going upwind is always quite stable and going downwind can feel a little wobbly, especially on the sport as the wide rear tends to rise up quite high and the boat takes on a very nose down attitude.

Don't worry, time in the boat will cure all.
Eventually it will become second nature and you can relax.

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 7 months ago #13502 by Kayaker Greg
Try this, paddle in some water where you can see the bottom and if you tip out you can stand up and jump back on, then you will not be so worried if you go to far, paddle and put your ski on an extreme edge and paddle for about 20 strokes, then put it on the other edge and paddle for about 20 strokes, this way you will learn to feel the limits of the secondary stability and your confidence will increase, your core will relax and everything will become easier.

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11 years 7 months ago #13505 by Physio
i totally agree, relaxation is the most important factor in staying upright, once you learn how yr ski feels on its side it will be much easier.

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11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #13508 by dyno
Replied by dyno on topic Re: Another Stability Question
I too am a beginner and I think the past couple of posts are good advice.
The things that helped me:
1) Search Oscar's video on bracing with a light touch. (I use that all the time now).
2) visualize that your head is tied to the sky, if your body stays vertical your boat can actually edge / rock quite a bit.
3) different than my kayak I think of my body connection to boat being heels to buttocks, rather than thighs side to side, when challenged by rocking, I actually stretch my heels to connect to boat and keep my head to the sky.
4) You are always more stable with a blade in the water, either in light surface brace (see 1), or moving forward. You are a tripod with the paddle in.
5) Trust the hull. if you relax, you will realize the hull is designed not to flip. It's your reaction that flips it. so everything in moderation, and always press with both heels.

All this said, I think skis are difficult for begineers in lakes, and narrow tidal rivers due to sharp chop, boat wake, and confused wake due to reflected wake. The ocean IS much easier as the gulf will be.

Keep on, every day gets better. ;)

Sandy Hook NJ - Any one ski paddling?
Epic v10 double
Epic v10 sport * 2
Epic v8
Epic v8 double (summer '17)
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by dyno. Reason: mistake

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11 years 7 months ago #13510 by GlenRusky

All this said, I think skis are difficult for begineers in lakes, and narrow tidal rivers due to sharp chop, boat wake, and confused wake due to reflected wake. The ocean IS much easier as the gulf will be.


Dyno,

My advice is to still be extremely wary of the ocean. My paddling is in the ocean off the beaches of eastern Sydney, Australia. I have to contend with many cliff faces that provide a challenge in stability that in my opinion are far greater than ever experienced on enclosed waters. Even a small 1 metre swell coming from the south/south east (running parallel to the coast) will reflect waves that I often catch heading back out to sea or diagonally to the swell. I can sometimes be 300 metres away from the cliff and the reflected waves are still performing “the washing machine effect" creating a maelstrom of waves in all directions that is great to test the stability but annoying when you just want to power ahead. I often wonder just how far out they go before they dissipate but I suppose I will need to chat with an oceanographer about that one!
I do miss having just beaches to paddle off as they provide swell that is more consistently running in one direction with no cliff faces to upset the rhythm so I hope that The Gulf will provide this for you and not spring on any surprises.

Good luck with your paddling and enjoy the journey!

Current Ski: Nelo 550 ML (4 WWR)
Previous Skis: Fenn Spark - carbon, Vajda Hawx elite, Fenn Swordfish - carbon, Fenn Elite - carbon

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11 years 7 months ago #13511 by cheeseman
I have a v 10 s for down wind paddling.When you have a beam on, you need to find a smooth powerfull stroke and dont stop paddling.Keep the boat moving.The faster the beter.

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11 years 7 months ago #13513 by drjay9051

cheeseman wrote: I have a v 10 s for down wind paddling.When you have a beam on, you need to find a smooth powerfull stroke and dont stop paddling.Keep the boat moving.The faster the beter.


Interesting point. In calm conditions I will just sit without paddling to work on balance. If I encounter a cross wind I have been slowing down, even stopping. I find this actually makes the ski feel much more unstable. Why do I slow or even stop? Great question. Probably a mental thing. I will work on that.

I suppose an analogy would be trying to stay upright on a bicycle with little if any forward motion, very difficult.

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11 years 7 months ago #13515 by Rightarmbad
I also recommend paddling with the ski on it's side.
I go a little further and get beginners to paddle circles leaning both inwards and outwards.
Paddle both directions and figure eights are fun.

Also, paddle on one side for a few strokes and then flip to the other for a few.
Eventually going from extreme side to extreme side with every stroke.
Paddling on the side you are leaning to also encourages a small tip to your paddle side when paddling normally as this is the most recommended style.

Sprinting on flat water with the bucket just dipping water in is good fun as well.

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 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #13516 by 1xsculler
I guess this is a stability question.
I've gotten pretty stable in my S1-X on mostly moderately flat water, which is all I will paddle on unless I give it a try on one of our frequent trips to Maui.
I borrowed a friend's K1 and made my first attempt in it this morning and, as most of you probably know, that's like starting all over again when it comes to stability as a K1 is ridiculously more un-stable than a 21' X 17" S1-X surfski.
So, instead of learning by progressing from a pretty stable surfski, i.e. Fenn XT, Huki S1-R, Epic V-8, etc., and then moving on to a S1-X, Fenn Elite SL, Epic V-10, V-12, etc., I'm going to attempt to progress from the starting point of my S-1X and then on to an elite K1. My thinking is that if I can get to the point of being stable in a K1 I will feel even more stable in most any surfski.
Fortunately it takes only a minute to carry my boat/ski from my shop to the water so I can easily go for a five minute or a thirty minute paddle just about any time.
NE thoughts? Good idea/bad idea?

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by 1xsculler. Reason: spelling

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11 years 7 months ago #13520 by Physio

1xsculler wrote: I guess this is a stability question.
I'm going to attempt to progress from the starting point of my S-1X and then on to an elite K1. My thinking is that if I can get to the point of being stable in a K1 I will feel even more stable in most any surfski.
NE thoughts? Good idea/bad idea?


It cant hurt, give it a go and let us know what yr experience is.

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11 years 7 months ago #13526 by seamonkey
I'm still working on the stability/balance skills too. I realized that the only time by boat capsizes is when I've been in it. :side: If I put it in the water and watch it, it reacts to the surface movements, and does not flip. I conclude that I am the problem :laugh:

I like the idea of the side to side drills and maintaining a solid connection to the ski through the heels and seat. I moved my pedals closer to raise my knees, and that seems to help. I've found it challenging to learn my new boat.

I paddled my girlfriend's ski, which is similar to my Current Designs Solstice kayak (oval cross section hull shape) and instantly had balance and could really crank with my new wing.

I'm curious what others say about learning balance? Is there one day when suddenly you get it: like learning to ride a bicycle? Or is it little leaps and bounds, where you realize after the fact, that you've done something that you couldn't have done before?

As others have stated, balance seems to be about spending time in the bucket. I'm doing as many sessions as I can until I get it!

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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11 years 7 months ago #13527 by 1xsculler
2nd time out in the K1 this evening. No, my feet haven't made it into the cockpit yet and I stay in about one foot of water with my feet at the ready because when you do go over, as most of you know, your boat instantly fills with water and wants to sink.
I can paddle along in it fairly well but one thing I notice is that my paddle seems to play a much more important roll in stability than it does in my S1-X. As soon as I feel it roll I am able to stabalize it with a stroke which is something I wasn't doing in my S1-X. I feel like when I take my S1-X out the next time I will have learned a few skills in this K1 I didn't have before.
Back to rowing training tomorrow for the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston. I'll still try to get at least one paddling session in each day even if it's only for ten minutes.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.

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11 years 7 months ago #13528 by Kayaker Greg
It does take time Sea Monkey, I've always had great balance coming from martial arts, horse riding, moto x riding, mtb riding back ground and I was really surprised at how long it takes to get my balance sorted in my Stellar SES. I took a few months off and only paddled the ski about once a week at the early part of this year and it was almost like starting out again. Now training 3-5 days a week its not an issue in my new Stellar SEL, but that is a lot more stable than my SES, which I really doubt is going to see much water time from here on.

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11 years 7 months ago #13529 by Midlifecrisis
I have just moved from a V10S to an SES and I am learning to balance all over again. I was fairly sorted in the V10S and had even used extra seat padding to try and challenge my balance but it has still been a jump. I suspect that a lot has to do with technique which I could get away with before but not so much on the SES.

As when I started in the V10S, I am trying to mix it up a bit and do some flat water and ocean paddling. It was some time before I was comfortable paddling in the ocean and still had the occasional swim when it was very rough. But persistence did pay off and I am hoping for the same in the SES.

I have discovered some unused muscles in the SES and hopefully this suggests I am improving my core strength. But it is a gradual thing. I now try for shorter sessions so that I'm not worn out completely as my balance goes right out the window when I'm tired. I usually paddle 3-5 times a week.

I do use a Swiss ball to practice my balance but it's hard to know how much it helps. My wife suggests I only use it because it is fun. I have just about mastered drinking wine while balancing and watching TV. Maybe the wife was right.

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11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #13530 by Zephyrus
The few times I've sat on a Swiss ball, it seems fairly easy to balance (I have an aunt who sits on one all day at work).

Are you supposed to use two Swiss balls, one for feet and one to sit on?


Not having a Swiss ball available around the house, I found an old soccer ball, pumped it up really hard and put an old book on it. This seems to make sense to me as the angle of "capsize" appears closer to that of a narrow boat.

I started with my feet out stretched on the floor. Then as I gained more balance, put one heel on a platform, and crossed the other leg over it (so there would be no rotational stability from the feet)

Then I started closing my eyes, and rotating like I was paddling the boat. But these two things are difficult for me to do for more than a minute.

Since then I've added leans to the side and oscillating between sides, stopping at random places in between.

One day while I was balancing, my sister came into the room with her ipod blasting as loud as those little speakers can muster. I started feeling the beat, and moving with the song. All of the sudden balancing got easier, my core muscles started loosening up, and my balancing movements became less "twitchy".

It made a huge difference on the boat (I only go out once a week (when not busy :dry: ), so I always felt a little timid.) I thought to myself This thing is way easier to balance on than the book and soccer ball

Glad I got the tricky wing paddle to keep me busy, otherwise I'd be itching for a tippier boat (come on, suppress the itch for a few more months, you can do it)

Anyone else use a soccer ball?
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by Zephyrus.

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11 years 7 months ago #13531 by seamonkey
I can't get on the water as often as I'd like to, but the balance ball seems like a good in-between exercise.

Almost forgot to mention it, but, my straddle remount is getting "bomb proof". Remounting the ski is much easier than I imagined; as I Eskimo Roll my closed cockpit boats and didn't routinely practice that skill before. In this case practice makes perfect. I usually swim half a dozen times in a three hour session, usually when I'm experimenting....

I appreciate the tips and good advice. I feel validated that I'm not the only one who's paying their dues to paddle a fast craft.

Cheers!

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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11 years 7 months ago #13532 by Zephyrus

seamonkey wrote: Almost forgot to mention it, but, my straddle remount is getting "bomb proof". Remounting the ski is much easier than I imagined; as I Eskimo Roll my closed cockpit boats and didn't routinely practice that skill before.


Nice! Remounting is one of the things I'm wary about, (Its extremely difficult to remount my tippy kayak, w/o a paddle float, even in calm water.) How would you compare remounting a ski vs rolling a kayak? Which one would you rather do if your tired and the wind is blowin?

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11 years 7 months ago #13535 by seamonkey
Zephyrus, it's really apples and oranges.

In a kayak when I capsize, I remain in the boat, set up, roll, recover. In my surf boat, I'll capsize on purpose to let large breaking waves pass over my upturned hull, and roll up after it passes to make it outside the break. Much better than getting hammered and back-surfed.

On my ski, in embarrassingly small waves and boat wakes, I lose it and fall off. Losing connection to the ski. I keep hold of my leashed paddle, swim up to the bucket horizontal on the surface, (I tend to mount from the left) stick my right elbow into the seat and lunge-scissor kick until I pull my torso across the bucket, staying low, I rotate my right leg across until both legs are in the water, sit upright in the seat and put feet into foot wells. The best visual explanation is under the "Getting Started" tab on this sites' front page. I've tried the Side Saddle method but to me it feels less stable.

If done correctly, either technique (roll or straddle) doesn't require much energy. If done wrong they're very difficult and tiring.

My problem with the ski is I'm at like Square 0, not even Square 1. I have considerable experience in very stable closed deck craft (24" beam), I have 2 planing hull surf kayaks, 1 white water boat, and a touring sea kayak. I wouldn't hesitate to take them into very rough, windy conditions. I've rolled a few Sit-On-Top kayaks, that have had either thigh straps, or a seat belt (Tsunami X 15). The ski on the other hand I can remount, but staying stable is my problem.

PS I have seen Youtube of someone rolling a surfski, I'll have to try that! Yeah that's the ticket! Assuming I can stay in the bucket.

Link:

Rainer Lang

Seeking balance

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11 years 7 months ago #13537 by [email protected]
There are a couple of surfski rolling aficionados in South Africa and I paddled with one of them last weekend.

They have a thigh strap arrangement to keep them in the bucket when rolling - looks horrific to me but they've clearly mastered the technique.

Maybe I'll have a go at filming Tim as he rolls his ski, and I'll do a piece on his fittings.

cheers
rob

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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