How do beginners progress?

11 years 1 month ago #16307 by Wally
No, I am no novice. I have been paddling for over 30 years. I can keep the V12 at over 12km/h on flat water very easily.

The XT should only be about 2-3min slower over 10km.

If you are not rotating your body forget the tippy ski, your knees should be lifting up and down, this shows you if you are rotating properly.

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11 years 1 month ago #16311 by Kocho
I theorize that in any conditions where balance cannot be maintained solely by being supported by the hull stability, in order to keep up the speed, one needs considerable core strength on top of good balance skills. By working on good technique and balance skills, most will eventually progress enough to be comfortable on flat water in craft that has at least some positive stability (i.e., that helps you stay upright, even if just a little bit).

It may take years, but even a ski like the V12 I'm confident will feel stable on flat water, eventually.

But IMO, when paddling in lumpy conditions, one cannot rely only on good balance, no matter how good one's sense of balance is. This is because the ski does not have sufficient stability to counteract the external forces outside of the paddler (waves, wind, current). With any ski, stable or not, there comes a point where the waves and wind will be strong enough to tip the boat beyond its stability even if the paddler has perfect balance skills and is not doing anything wrong. There, the paddler needs to actively balance through the paddling stroke or even a brace, occasionally, or they will swim.

The point I'm making is that it does not matter which ski one chooses - i can always find conditions that disbalance me enough to not be possible to rely on the ski's stability alone in order to stay upright. One can challenge oneself in any boat - just pick harsh enough conditions. For me, even flat water is a bit challenging in a ski like the V12. I feel quite comfortable in it. I can edge it and paddle it casually without any need to brace or support myself on the paddle. I can feel its stability. But if I paddle it at near 100% of my rather limited power, the imperfections in my own stroke disbalance me more than the ski's stability can compensate for. At this point and I have to apply a stabilizing component in my stroke to restore my balance. And, because i don't have power to spare, I slow down a bit. In contrast, I'm at a point where this no longer happens in the V10 Sport on flat water - I can paddle it any way O want on the flat. But in the V10 Sport I can still get the same challenging behavior if I paddle in more challenging conditions.

In the V10 Sport I challenge myself in two ways. One is to improve my form, the other is to improve my balance. The two are not necessarily directly related, but should eventually come together. I practice in currents and waves to work on balance, where even the relatively stable V10 Sport is not stable enough to just paddle it passively. By being disbalanced enough, I now work on efficient ways to stabilize myself without going as far as bracing rather than paddling. Because I do a lot of white water paddling (in whitewater boats), I have developed pretty good active balance skills, meaning I have learned to lean on my paddle during a stroke so I can stabilize myself and correct the balance without having to stop paddling and brace. In the ski I try to brace as little as possible - if I brace often, then I'm in conditions that are too challenging and I dial back a bit and move to some place that is a notch calmer...

Separately, I work on stroke mechanics on flat water, where I don't want to be distracted by balancing issues. As my balance improves, I can feel that I can keep my form in lumpier waters better than before.

All of the above - subject to reevaluation, once I get my new V10 and see how that less stable than my V10 Sport ski will treat me and my theories ;)

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11 years 1 month ago #16312 by Love2ski
Thanks Wally,

Its the classic beginners dilemna. Having paddled my XT for 6 months I have hit the limits of my technique. 10kmhr is as fast as it will go unless I train myself to paddle correctly and build the necessary muscles.

In the races I do, the guys like Tim Jacobs are not 2-3 mins quicker over 10kms, they are about 15minutes quicker than me.

The dilemna is that beginners like me feel we need to go faster. The obvious thing is to buy a faster tippy ski. I think you can pick up about 1km/hr doing this, but the sacrifice might be developing a good technique.

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11 years 1 month ago #16313 by Marieski
How is developing a good technique a sacrifice? Do you mean on a tippy ski your technique will be crap? If so, I think you've answered your own question.

Past skis: Spirit PRS, EpicV10Sport Performance, Epic V10 Elite, Stellar SES Advantage. Current skis: Fenn Elite Spark, Fenn Swordfish vacuum. Custom Horizon, Epic V7

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