Slouching / Not sitting up straight

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9 years 10 months ago #20273 by TheJameSA
Hey Guys

I am a relative beginner and have over the past year systematically improved my gear as I'm improving.

I can do up to 30kms now, so my fitness seems to be okay.

One major problem though, I keep slouching.

I am quite tall(1.86).

Any tips on sitting up straight? Is it just habit?
Would like to sort this out before I buy my next ski.

Thanks (from Langebaan, South Africa)

James

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #20274 by LaPerouseBay
I'm your height and also a relative newcomer to the sport - almost 3 years now. I'm also kinda old at 53.

As I progress, it's clear to me that posture and technique are more important than I once thought.

There is a good reason Oscar (and I'm guessing all the other top pros) devotes a significant amount of his time on the water to drilling his form.

Sitting tall is tippier - but the payoff is huge. It will set your hips better for a good leg drive. That all ties into your hips and back - which is where your real power is.

The timing of a good plant up front is everything. Don't cheat on that one either. A well planted blade is where you should get your stability. Pull up front then rotate the blade out of the water. That's what wings are designed for.

Balance then power then speed.

Advice on the internet it kinda like medical advice. It's very general, we are all different - with various joint issues.

But I've watched all the videos, read all the advice and can say that (in my case) proper form cannot be underestimated.

When I devote a block of time (months) to balance and form - I always come back faster than before. The real icing on the cake is that it's so much easier on my body. That's a win-win situation in my book.

Skis are like any other sport. If you can engage the hips, that's when the magic happens. Sit up straight and use your legs!

Downwinding is our focus here on Maui. It's what I train for. I always refer to this video for inspiration. Clint is tall too, notice how he sits up straight. When he really steps on the gas, watch his legs. Note the rotation. That's not easy when bouncing around and steering, but the payoff is HUGE.


downwind dilettante
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by LaPerouseBay.
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9 years 10 months ago #20275 by TheJameSA
Thanks @LaPerouseBay

Really appreciate this.
I'm gonna have to just set certain times in the week out to work purely on form. Or at least a certain amount of time every session.

I ride quite a lot of chop/waves, which is especially when I drop back into poor form...but if I do enough hours on flat water the habit should make itself home.

Cheers

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9 years 10 months ago #20277 by LaPerouseBay
That's how I do it. Flat water is all about patient focus on balance and rotation. No thought at all to speed. Sounds crazy if you want to go faster, but it works.

Then when I get lighter downwind conditions, I do the same thing. Forget the speed. Let the other paddlers go ahead. I steer the boat sideways to the wave, make the angle just as tricky and difficult as possible. Then I force myself to sit tall, rotate and use my legs as the boat is just on the knife edge of broaching. I'm in an old style V-10, so it locks in to the wave and flies. If I fall, remounting is not hard. Good practice actually.

I do a lot of speed analysis on downwinding, and this seems to be the fastest line... The trick is to do it without broaching - then finding another hole. Books can be written about that subject.

This focus on going sideways along the face is actually the best training for learning how to steer. Keep that nose out of the water. Learn how to yank that boat around on the crest of a wave. I need those crazy moves when the wind goes ape here.

Yesterday was the first big wind day we have had on our north shore in maybe 5 months. I've been training only on balance and form for months. No cardio at all. Watch the vid and see how I'm barely hanging on as the waves are just about to stop my hull speed and spin me. Very, VERY difficult to remount in these winds. So I try to relax and focus on not falling.

Redlining my heart rate is a sure way to lose balance and go in, so the option of arm paddling and struggling is certain doom. Scary stuff. But fun. I'll be killing this stuff in a few months. Doing my homework now.


downwind dilettante
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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #20278 by 1xsculler
Thanks for the bunch of great vids of surfsking and SUP.

I find trying to maintain good, upright posture one of the most difficult things to do. I think I am sitting up pretty straight but images of me show otherwise.

When I got into very tricky conditions for me, 3 1/2 foot washingmachine chop and a very strong off-shore wind, a few months ago my abdominal muscles totally abandoned me. I could sit up-right for only a minute or two at a time and then my upper body would just flop back. It was a very uncomfortable feeling.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by 1xsculler. Reason: error

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9 years 10 months ago #20279 by sAsLEX
Try filming yourself, as we can be our own best critics at times.

And someone here had an even better idea and slapped a mirror on the front of the cockpit so they could see themselves when paddling!

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9 years 10 months ago #20280 by Ric
try lots of hamstring stretches... I think short hammies is one of my reasons for slouching.

Other than weak core of course :whistle:

I try sitting on the floor sometimes when watching TV, in paddling position. It is amazing how quickly I slouch back even in then.

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  • Rod Thomas
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9 years 10 months ago #20281 by Rod Thomas
Replied by Rod Thomas on topic Slouching / Not sitting up straight

LaPerouseBay wrote: Yesterday was the first big wind day we have had on our north shore in maybe 5 months. I've been training only on balance and form for months. No cardio at all. Watch the vid and see how I'm barely hanging on as the waves are just about to stop my hull speed and spin me. Very, VERY difficult to remount in these winds. So I try to relax and focus on not falling.

Redlining my heart rate is a sure way to lose balance and go in, so the option of arm paddling and struggling is certain doom. Scary stuff. But fun. I'll be killing this stuff in a few months. Doing my homework now.


Thanks. I always enjoy your videos. Don't you ever fall in?!

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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #20283 by LaPerouseBay
I try to fall in all the time. In smaller conditions. It's good training for me. This big story explains why.

This next video has the worst beating I've ever had on a ski. I was dragged underwater with the ski for what seemed like an eternity. As the video shows it was only a few seconds. Anyhow, it scared the crap out of me and I've since never, ever had a repeat across that reef. I'll get pounded again, it's just a matter of time.

The trip underwater was surreal. It was very violent. Not sure where I was in relation to the ski or the paddle. Came up for air holding firm to both. Probably not a tumble, just a strong drag. I had a small wound on my eyebrow, three stiches to close it. I didn't know it was there until after the run.

Anyhow, at about 3:30 in the vid the water color starts to get lighter. On a maliko run, that color indicates you are approaching a shelf (spartan's reef). I have depth charts for maliko on google earth. Garmin lines and video show exactly where I was on any given run and how deep the water was. I've researched all that stuff carefully ever since that beating. I don't trust anyone's advice. Lots of good paddlers here shoot that reef and smash boats. I don't want to do the big swim.



So, the video shows me in my V-10 sport. I spin to the left, lose hull speed at just the wrong time and a breaking wave nails me on the head.

We can usually hear the white water rolling at us, but this one was a sneaker.

So, the whole point of the post is that yes, I fall in, but very seldom when the conditions are big and windy.

I've fallen in big wind on that reef and it sucks. The swells are steep. If my heart rate is up I have to wait for it to go down. The worst ever was waiting 5 minutes (the video doesn't lie) for my heart to relax. I tried 3 times to remount and kept going over. It took an eternity to get going again - all the while getting pushed into more dangerous water.

1xsculler, we had a ski paddler in his 70's get nailed on that reef - spring of 2012. His leash broke and he did the big swim. Boat was destroyed. The bad news is that the swim in has a bad current. They had the fire dept. helicopter searching for him. They flew right over his head several times - couldn't see him (he had no bright colors on). He finally washed up on a beach in bad shape. The meat wagon took him to the ER, almost dead from hypothermia. He was swimming for about 90 minutes as I recall. Long time paddler, very experienced.

1x - I know you visit here and have already had a rough go on the south shore. Trust me, the north shore is much worse. Take lots of safety precautions.

Ok, safety rant over. But it ties into my falling as much as possible - in light conditions. It's great training. I don't fall when it's big (recently) because I strive to make smaller conditions as hard as possible.

I've learned that if I want to downwind fast, a good line and good form (they go hand in hand) is 100 times more valuable than arm paddling at full effort.

Actually, arm paddling at full gas in big wind is a recipe for disaster. A poor stroke has less stability and power. The swells and chop are so fast they steer the boat. If the boat is steered off a good line, speed goes down. Speed goes down, rudder doesn't work. Rudder doesn't work, Boat spins sideways even more. Now the ocean has you. Good luck.

I was on the edge of disaster in that entire first video in this thread. Very scary. Video does not relate the size and power of those swells. I didn't fall that day, but I had a few close calls. Getting bashed off a line is terrifying when you are on a big swell.

A big day at maliko is a lot like decending - then acending - a stairway. We have stairs to negotiate on the staircase as the flight of stairs goes up and down. When you miss a stair and begin to lose hull speed alarm bells start ringing - because the staircase is still pitching down (or up). Hard to explain in writing and the video barely shows it unless you know what to look for. But the idea is to always keep the nose going downhill, maintaining some hull speed.

When those alarm bells ring, it's time to get your ass in gear and get moving before a spin. It often means taking a risky line across knarly bumps - immediately.

As an intermdediate paddler, this is very scary. It means accelerating on a tough path - leaning forward, sitting tall, planting that blade up front and driving with all you have. In a relaxed manner. Whew.

So, I use lighter conditions to practice that situation. This means sitting tall, with the best rotation I can manage, on the hardest part of the wave, on stability pads. It has served me well.

We have a few ski paddlers here with level one K-1 experience. They have great posture. They are also our fastest ski paddlers...

downwind dilettante
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by LaPerouseBay.
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9 years 10 months ago - 9 years 10 months ago #20286 by 1xsculler
LaPerouseBay, Thank you! This is the best info I've yet to read about putting it all together and about safety. The vids are also excellent. You've really got my attention. Like Ronald Reagan said when they admitted him to the hospital after being shot and the nurse asked if he had any allergies, "Yes, I'm allergic to bullets!" We'll, I'm allergic to emergency rooms, 90 minute swims, hypothermia, more that one or two remounts even in easy conditions and crashing my (Richard's) ski or my 70 year old body on a reef.

Please keep posting your experiences and vids. The more you write the more some of us will learn.

Do you do big conditions solo? That seems even more dangerous.

current skis: SES Ultra. sculling boats: Fluidesign Lwt, Wintech, Empacher.
Last edit: 9 years 10 months ago by 1xsculler. Reason: error

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9 years 10 months ago #20288 by LaPerouseBay
Yes, all downwinding in big conditions on ski is solo on some level.

You may be part of a group, all watching out for each other. But when things go bad in a ski, it's just plain ugly. They don't work very good at anything with zero hull speed in big wind.

Big conditions require a VERY strong ski paddler to render any type of assistance IMHO. I've watched it, it's ugly.

Us intermediates NEED to keep the boat going or suffer a spin. I'm not out there watching others, I'm focused primarily on my own safety. We lose sight of each other pretty fast on a maliko run. Not until we finish do the faster guys make sure everyone made it.

If you break a leash and swim, you are out there on your own. Sheer dumb luck may have another paddler see you and call for help. I've had to do that for people too. That was in a RACE. She had been floating so long, that the wind had blown her WAY outside. The safety PWC happened to be near and I flagged him down to go get her. He may not have heard her screams. It took 3 tries to get my attention... It's nasty out there in big wind without a boat.

downwind dilettante

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9 years 10 months ago #20291 by Love2ski
Great comments. I have bought a personal location beacon for offshore. Being new to big offshore conditions I'm quite at risk. It s registered with the maritime rescue and the gps finds me within two feet. It was pretty costly but it may save my life or the life of a buddy.
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9 years 10 months ago #20296 by Stew
Day to day I get lots of people through the door demoing new skis. While a lot of people have posture issues due to bad ergonomics sitting at desks all day etc etc, the number one reason for slouching I see is people paddling boats which are simply too tippy for them. If you're on a craft which is pushing you beyond limits, the first thing to stop moving is the hips, and with that technique is out the door. Slouching will bring down the center of gravity and make a higher performance ski feel manageable for many, but long term will lead to poor technique, and worse still, injury. The funny thing is, most will actually paddle faster, and enjoy the sport more, by paddling a ski which they believe is below their skill level. I see it all the time, guys paddling intermediate skis and beating, and paddling technically better than their buddies who have chosen elite level skis. Unfortunately, some people can't leave the ego on the bank and insist on paddling the wrong craft.
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9 years 10 months ago #20299 by Kayaker Greg
Try bringing the foot plate slightly back towards you, this will tilt the pelvis differently and may reduce your slouching, just bring it back little by little as you get used to it, otherwise a big change can make you feel cramped up and less stable. This tip was given to a friend of mine recently by a top paddler in these parts, makes sense and I've also been bringing my foot plate back closer over time.

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9 years 10 months ago #20300 by Stew
Greg is spot on. Most guys on a ski which is too tippy set the leg length too long. Pull it back and you will get close to your correct setting. The best setting is one which allows a solid connection with the foot plate (heel through the bottom of the plate), but is still long enough to allow the hips to rotate on the seat. Keep playing with it until that feeling arrives.


I know a bunch of elite guys who shorten their leg length one setting on big downwind days. When you're surfing down a steep run, a solid leg drive on the first stroke sets the hips back in the correct position and you get good power down to pop into the next hole, or over a run.

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9 years 10 months ago #20301 by Metro
Jeez, way way WAY too doom and gloom. If you paddle a ski outside of an Olympic size swimming pool your boat will broach, you will take a humongous swim, your leash will become wrapped around your neck and will then snap, helicopters will swarm overhead and your friends will watch helplessly as you get dashed to bits on the rocks.

None of that is going to happen. This is a marvelous sport that you just need to take in stages. Stew has it right, paddle a boat that you are comfortable with. If you are comfortable and stable in a boat, you are unlikely to fall out and, if you do fall out, re-mounting should be easy. Work your way up - Think EZE to V10Sport to Carbonology Flash to Fenn Elite Glide (I'm trying not to pick favorites among the manufacturers!) Also, work your way up to gradually bigger and bigger conditions.

This is not a sport to be afraid off. You are not going to be dragged under the boat along a reef for Pete's sake. Eventually, yes, you will get caught out and have a few exciting moments. Those are character building experiences and will make you a better paddler.

Although we are all guilty of breaking the rule from time to time when friends bail, etc, as a rule you should paddle outside with experienced mates. They give you somebody to learn from and can assist if you are struggling.

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9 years 10 months ago #20342 by Davidw
Hi James
Also from Langebaan. Don't think I've seen you on the water yet but if you're looking for company we have a small group that paddles from the Yacht Club Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.45am
David

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9 years 10 months ago #20344 by TheJameSA
Hi David

I'd love that. I've been looking to join some paddlers.
I only have a basic ski but want to get a little more serious soon.

How many KMs do you guys do on those mornings?

Ps. I see LYC has a friendly race this weekend. I'll miss that onw (work) but hope to join next month's.

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9 years 10 months ago #20345 by Davidw
James, we're paddling for about an hour,+/-10km. Sometimes downwind in the arvo to Mykonos or Saldanha when there's a decent southeast blowing. Surf down Friday Island way when there's some swell running. Find me at Pearly's Restaurant most days. Speak to Marc, my boet, if I'm not there. He'll give you my contact details.
C u on the water!

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9 years 10 months ago #20379 by 1xsculler
Back to the title of this topic, I'm convinced that slouching in tougher conditions or near the end of a paddle which is at or near your limit in length is mostly caused by fatigued abs. Good form, i.e. sitting up pretty straight or slightly forward, pressing your heels into the footboard, pumping your knees up and down, rotating your hips, reaching forward to get your paddle in out in front of you, having your footboard in a position so you can pump your legs and rotate your hips can only be accomplished if your abs can take the punishment.
For me, a 70 year old semi-novice paddler I must really get to work on my already pretty good abs if I'm going to paddle longer than an hour or try to tackle bigger conditions.
IMHO almost all paddlers, other than true elites, appear to be slouching and appear to be arm paddling even though they don't think they are. I can sit up my straightest (only my butt pressed into the bucket and no part of my back anywhere near the bucket) and do my best rotation and non-arm paddling with my heels pressed against the footboard and images of me make me look like I'm slouching.

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

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