A couple of weird observations about stability

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11 years 6 months ago #14570 by Marieski
Stability is a complex thing, dependent on more variables than we recognise (hull shape, practice, core strength, fatigue, wave frequency and amplitude and steepness, wind strength and direction, confidence, concentration, drunkenness etc). I wonder what people have to say about a couple of counterintuitive observations:

I have now noticed several times that when I've been away and unable to paddle for several weeks at a time, I tend to have a really good day when I first come back; like I never even take a brace stroke regardless of conditions. I alway worry that I will have lost paddling condition but balancewise this never seems to be the case. I am familiar with the precompetition taper and consequent peaking in physical endurance and strength, but it seems weird that this seems to apply to balance. Any comments? Does this happen to you?

I often feel what seems disproportionally wobbly in glassy conditions with swells, or boat wakes when I feel quite comfortable in far messier water in which the same waves would be smaller than the ambient ones. Is it because the balance system gets tuned into not having to do much so can't cope when something happens? Or is there some other explanation?

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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11 years 6 months ago #14571 by [email protected]

I often feel what seems disproportionally wobbly in glassy conditions with swells, or boat wakes when I feel quite comfortable in far messier water in which the same waves would be smaller than the ambient ones


Me too. It's almost as if it's a muscle memory thing - I don't often paddle on glassy water so my body is not familiar with it?

Another underestimated factor (IMO) is the comfort of the seat. I find that if I'm not fully comfortable, I feel unstable. I like to be touching the sides of the cockpit with my calves for example - some skis have such wide seats that I feel like I'm not at-one with the boat.

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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11 years 6 months ago #14572 by RHamady
Yeah you're right....glassy water sometimes can be tricky, I've though of that as well. I wonder if it's because a lot of times when it's glassy, you have a harder time comprehending the horizon because many times it meshes with the glassiness, so no defined horizon to look at for balance???

When it's bumpy or choppy, you have perfect vision of the waterline, the bumps and water in front of you and where the horizon is, so you have a lot of fixed marks to train your eye on and therefore keep your balance?

Just something I have pondered as well and that is the only thing I can think of with glassy water, a lot of smoothness and many times reflection of the sky on the glassy water, so you have sky, horizon etc....is kind of muted and therefore affects your balance....Just a thought.

Enjoy the paddle!
Aloha,
-Rich

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11 years 6 months ago #14574 by Kayaker Greg
I think the issue we have with glassy conditions is that the secondary stability doesn't kick in as early as it does in rougher conditions, our skis are balancing on their initial stability curve, however the water under the hull is moving off horizontal as is the hull, once the water gets rougher its higher up the sides of the hull and the ski feels more stable because the secondary stability kicks in with the ski more up right. Make sense?

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11 years 5 months ago #14576 by Marieski
Here's a sort of related question: Why are standing waves so much more discomfiting than moving ones?

The bouncing-off-sea-cliffs ones are familiarly annoying, because the water is coming from many directions, but often they aren't actually moving much, and the ski is moving in one direction in relation to all of them.

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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11 years 5 months ago #14578 by Kayaker Greg
Standing waves the water is moving a lot quicker from front of wave to rear rather than the wave energy moving through the water. So the moving water on a standing wave is trying to lift you over the back of it, where as with your normal wave the energy is trying to move you forward. In both cases we need to keep the nose lower than the rear for us to move forward stay positioned on a standing wave. Quite different dynamics of the water though in the two different waves. If you watch your normal wave you will notice the water travels up the wave face then behind the wave the energy moves forward, under the wave the water circulates, where as a standing wave all the water moves backwards.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Marieski

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11 years 5 months ago #14586 by RedBack
I find the same thing in glassy conditions sometimes.

My theory is that in messy stuff we learn to "read" the conditions and we compensate for what we are about to encounter. ie: We see it coming and react accordingly.

I suspect we don't consciously realise that's what we're doing though.

On a glassy sea, I find it difficult to see swells and bumps and judge their amplitude, particularly if they're coming from multiple directions. Therefore I can't compensate until after they hit.

I've taken novice paddlers out in both conditions and they always prefer the glassy. Probably because they haven't yet learnt to read the ocean.

Personally, I prefer a bit "texture" to the water, so I can see what it's doing.

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