Turning a Surfski

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10 years 3 days ago #20743 by drjay9051
Turning a Surfski was created by drjay9051
Silly question but I may be doing this all wrong.

To turn my sea kayak to the right I get on the left edge and vice versa.

In a surfski does one simply use the rudder pedals or edge as well. Edge left and right pedal to go right?

Basic question but I need to know.

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10 years 3 days ago #20744 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Turning a Surfski
Sorry mate no leaning required on a surfski, even in a sea kayak not required. Just turn the rudder!

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10 years 3 days ago #20745 by drjay9051
Replied by drjay9051 on topic Turning a Surfski

Ranga wrote: Sorry mate no leaning required on a surfski, even in a sea kayak not required. Just turn the rudder!


OK Just rudder.

My kayak has no rudder just skeg for tracking so I do edge the kayak for quicker (more efficient?) turns.

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10 years 3 days ago #20747 by Sandy
Replied by Sandy on topic Turning a Surfski
Dr. Jay , edging is a better term than leaning , leaning will bring your center of gravity outside the edge of the ski and....sploosh ! Edging however can be effective in contributing to turning moment in a ski , especially a ski with more rocker and shape. Edging can be facilitated with lateral "hip" flexion /liftng an "edge"and keeping your center of gravity closer to midline of the boat.This effectively decreases waterline length (again dependant on design specifics) resulting in decreased resistance to turning (easier turn). Many sea kayaks have hull shapes designed specifically to respond well to edging as turning "force". Edging can be a very effective tool when surfing a surf ski . I am sure there are lots of other opinions on this , in my experience there is more to it than keeping the ski flat and pushing the rudder pedals.Go play with it on a day you are prepared to get wet. IMHO one of the reasons the intermediate skis are so fun in the bump is the shorter length and more pronounced "shape" makes them more maneuverable (they turn easier ! ) Now if you want to rely on keeping the ski flat and pushing on the pedals....I got a guy that will give you a great deal on a Fenn Mil. :)

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10 years 3 days ago #20749 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Turning a Surfski
Sorry Sandy, this is not what the best surfski paddlers in the world advocate. As an exercise take your rudder off on a surfski and see how far you get in waves.
I should hope a FENN Mil would be cheap. Think they stopped making them nearly 10 years ago and also one of the fastest and most unstable skis around, pure racing ski. Not for a beginner.

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10 years 3 days ago #20750 by Sandy
Replied by Sandy on topic Turning a Surfski
been there done that Ranga , by no means suggesting a ski will work with out the rudder , they are quite obviously rudder dependent , DO NOT agree with you surmise that edging has no effect on the turning moment . Maybe some "Experts" will chime in here.....and I guarantee that if you are paddling in rough water and not "edging" to some degree , then you're swimming.

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10 years 3 days ago #20753 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Turning a Surfski
I think the idea for not edging a ski is to not waste energy on that during forward stroke - edging messes with your posture and decreases your ability to apply power to the water. In a ski and in a fatter kayak - the same. Edging a skinny ski has very little turning effect. I would only use it downwind when I am not really paddling hard or on a face of the wave to counter other forces (such as cross-winds or side chop, where I might edge for stability reasons)

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10 years 3 days ago #20760 by Msal
Replied by Msal on topic Turning a Surfski
At a talk last year Dean Gardiner talked about edging the boat to steer on runs as much as possible rather than using the rudder.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ric

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10 years 3 days ago #20761 by sAsLEX
Replied by sAsLEX on topic Turning a Surfski

Msal wrote: At a talk last year Dean Gardiner talked about edging the boat to steer on runs as much as possible rather than using the rudder.


I would guess that using a rudder would induce more drag than edging?

I only have a K1 at present and I find that edging works on that quite well and is some times easier than using the tiller steering bar, or I use it in combination with the rudder when getting around tight bends in the river.

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10 years 2 days ago - 10 years 2 days ago #20764 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Turning a Surfski

sAsLEX wrote:

Msal wrote: At a talk last year Dean Gardiner talked about edging the boat to steer on runs as much as possible rather than using the rudder.


I would guess that using a rudder would induce more drag than edging?

I only have a K1 at present and I find that edging works on that quite well and is some times easier than using the tiller steering bar, or I use it in combination with the rudder when getting around tight bends in the river.


Maybe in a big long smooth run that may work, but on short wind waves, where a quick and small radius turn is needed, I think the rudder is the better way. I agree edging can help ease some of the work the rudder has to do, however, a long skinny ski has very little curvature to actually turn by edging in a meaningful way. Perhaps edging may be good enough to maintain direction on a straight line. But my question is this - is the negative impact from edging on your power stroke less than the positive effect from turning without using too much rudder? To me, I don't have power to spare on edging, so my rudder (for me) seems the more efficient way to maintain direction or to turn for me - the losses due to little turbulence at the rudder for me seem to be less than what I would lose if I was paddling on one butt-cheek only and not pumping fully with my legs, and having my core twisted in a J to edge... The exception would be going around cans on sharp turns, where edging "might" release the tail to allow the rudder to spin it around faster - I might lose some speed due to edging (or generate some extra power briefly to counter the losses) but the main gain is from the quicker turn so I can paddle straight and fast sooner.
Last edit: 10 years 2 days ago by Kocho.

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10 years 2 days ago #20769 by greggy.d
Replied by greggy.d on topic Turning a Surfski
I've only been doing this for a short time but anything your turn needs to have some degree of compensation in shifting your body weight or it tips over. The sharper the turn the more you compensate. Everyone knows you lean/edge slightly into turns but the more advanced you become, the less you would be aware of it.
(go for a ride on a bike and hook into a turn without shifting your body weight)

As for laying it over on an edge to turn I'm not so sure about. If you can imagine a rudder fully locked to turn, then on a 45 or so degree angle or lean. It's not actually steering you in the direstion you are trying to achieve, but instead trying to lift the tail and keep the nose down.

I could be way of the mark but what I learn in sport science etc. at uni leads me to think this!

Kayaks do turn if you lay them over, rocker will help but if you have a rudder, use it!

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10 years 2 days ago #20771 by Sandy
Replied by Sandy on topic Turning a Surfski
greggyd , I don't think anyone has suggested to not use the rudder , the hydrodynamics are such that the surfski is ultimately "rudder dependent" . by the same token there is also shape that with edging (NOT LEANING) you can use to your advantage. Edgeing does not mean getting some "twisted J " contortion like your setting up for a c to c roll. Edgeing is actually a very subtle movement , you are changing the relationship of the hull to your mostly upright and in line with gravity body and using the 3D movement of your pelvis to do this. pretend your spine is fixed vertically in line with gravity (hypothetical and not to imply we remain in a rigid static place when paddling) your pelvis can move in pitch (fore and aft , aka tilt) yawl (rotation in a horizontal plane) and the aforementioned "roll" or "edging" where by on "edge" or side of the ski or kayak or whatever rises or lowers in relation to the other. This is a super dynamic place and why some talk about "keeping your hips loose" or "letting the ski roll underneath you" . Rough water /bump is a 3D environment that rewards a dynamic posture that can adjust as needed , the best place to make this adjustment ( IMHO ) is in your pelvis. If this is happening than you can keep thoose blades spinnig efficiently , if not....well you wind up wasting power with some degree of bracing in your stroke. For me I try to think of power and paddling blades/shoulders/abdomen and boat control with feet(rudder)/knees /pelvis and the beauty yin/yang balance of the two happens in one's core (psoas , abs ,lumbar spine.) anyway blah blah blah , been paddling all sorts of "light craft" since a teenager and still amazed how much I'm learning every time out.

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10 years 2 days ago #20772 by greggy.d
Replied by greggy.d on topic Turning a Surfski
Yeah, I think I agreed with what your saying.

There are some kayaks (most rudderless and short) that twisted j shapes and tricky shifts of COG are how you turn/spin etc.

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10 years 2 days ago #20775 by gnome
Replied by gnome on topic Turning a Surfski
May take on this is
If you paddle a down river white water racing kayak, no rudder is installed. To turn the kayak you counter steer. Meaning as the original poster said. To turn left you tilt right and visa versa.

In my sprint boat I only use a rudder if absolutely needed, the rest of the time its paddle technique and counter steer. Yes I agree if you use the rudder it slows you down.
I use a rudder that is less than 2 inches long on my nelo large ski and to me this rudder is too reactive. I only use the rudder when making a 180 degree turn as tight as possible. Using hip (tilt )stearing (counter steering or tilt to the outside of the turn) plus the tiny rudder and around she turns. Yes the big rudder makes it turn even harder but for flat water training I dont need a big rudder.

If I was out in the sea or in river with reasonable current, well yes of course I would use a big rudder.

The reason why the counter steer works is
Think about the centre line of you craft passing staight through water. There is equal force on either side of the crafts. Then if you tilt the craft to the right then there is like a front rudder pointing left which forces the nose to turn left.
Also think if your driving along with you hand out the window.
Holding you hand fingers pointing up and your little finger side of the hand pointing forward. the hand will want to track straight forward. if you twist the little finger side of the hand to the left your hand forces to the left.
Same in a kayak or ski in water.

You will need to adapt your paddling technique to help this happen by using a stroke called a sweeping stroke (or low angle rounder stroke from front to back) Where a forward stoke is long and basically straight stroke. A turning stroke is rounder. Effectively do two things at once turning and still moving the craft forward.Is were you reduce the effect while turning.
By learning this if your rudder does break its not the end of the world.
Cheers
Gnome

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10 years 2 days ago - 10 years 2 days ago #20784 by Kocho
Replied by Kocho on topic Turning a Surfski
Sandy,

We are discussing turning by edging, where, to turn, you have to maintain a tilted position on the same side over more than one stroke. Using sweep strokes in addition to that slows your forward progress. In my opinion, but supported by the opinions of just about every long distance expedition kayaker I can think of - steering with rudders beat steering with edging for efficiency in forward progress.

I do not believe anyone who wants to maximize their forward progress and is making a relatively minor course correction, say going around a smooth bend on the shore or a wide river bend will be able to prove that edging through such a long turn and using sweep strokes will be faster than someone using the rudder and paddling straight up with no sweep component in his stroke.

Again, sweeps and a strong edge will help turn faster on tight turns, no doubt. I do that all the time. No argument there.

As for being lose in the hips in bumps or even edging stroke to stroke to plant the ski to work with the "wall of water" as some call it, yes of course! That's changing the direction of the edging several times during one stroke (for balance) or once per stroke (to work with the water for power transfer). But that is not to turn but to maintain your center of gravity and body position and to increase your efficiency going forward and maximize the power transfer. That's not edging for turning, that's dynamic balance and interaction with the water for straight line performance.
Last edit: 10 years 2 days ago by Kocho.

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9 years 11 months ago #20813 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski
Paddling yesterday out of Hillarys Marina into it - winds gusting 60kmh. Turning back around after a run with that kind of breeze took every trick in the book I knew. Obvious hard rudder left, edge the boat to buggery to the left short tiny stroke to the left and giant extended and sometimes repeated sweep strokes (out wide) on right hand side. Doing the latter hard because of the chop, needed some support to the left especially with boat edged left.

Anyway after nearly wrenching all of my shoulder ligaments a couple of times found the best way to get around was with some speed up - that is don't come to a standstill and then turn but have some momentum and commit to bringing the boat around with some way up - not too much of course otherwise broach.

That's extreme but it's interesting when you have to do all of those together to complete a successful turn. Couldn't have come around without each of the above in tandem - as posted each of these are turning strategies. Ultimately I ran out of steam from turning and trying to keep my nose into it going out against a wicked breeze. Shame it took so long to get out (soooo long at about 3kmh) only to come back in in a flash.

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9 years 11 months ago #20824 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Turning a Surfski
Should you be going out in those conditions if you are not experienced enough!
Should take a few seconds to turn in those conditions if experienced without any of the histrionics mentioned.

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9 years 11 months ago #20825 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski
Been paddling for 36 years or so but keen to pick up anything I might have missed along the way.

Was gusting to 37 knots at Ocean Reef at the time I was out - nearly 70 kmh - blowing steady 50 kmh all the while. Once a ski side-on in that stuff, especially with steep wind chop, the boat just wants to go sideways and is a devil to bring around. Try holding your boat on the beach in those conditions to bring head to wind.

Anyway very keen to know how to bring a boat around in a few secs in very blowy conditions like that, never too old to learn.

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9 years 11 months ago #20826 by Sandy
Replied by Sandy on topic Turning a Surfski
Ok Ranga , waiting for the video of you casually paddling figure eights in 30 knots of wind.....

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9 years 11 months ago #20850 by [email protected]
Just a point about how hull shapes affect turning ability too...

I used to paddle a Red7 Surf 70 Pro, it had very little rocker and quite a fat nose and was an absolute bugger to turn into strong wind.

I had a horror show of a Millers Run once years ago, where everything went wrong. The weather was hectic and the other guys were all super heroes like Dawid Mocke so I knew I was going to be paddling on my own at the back...

As soon as we reached Millers Point, I raced round to the trailer, got my ski off, hastened to get ready to launch first. Waited for a gap (there was a fair shore break on the ramp), launched, took a stroke and found that I'd set up the paddle with a left hand twist, and, simultaneously, that I was in the water.

Now on the rocks next the ramp, I was falling about in the surf, managed to get myself and the ski out of the water... Set up the paddle again and relaunched. By now of course, everyone else was already on the water and rapidly disappearing.

So I launch again and immediately a gust catches the nose of the boat and I go broadside to wind and waves, heading straight towards the rocks the other side of Rumbly Bay.

I try to turn into the wind, but what with the pathetic response to the rudder, and my inability to produce the really strong strokes necessary to get the damn boat to turn, I just can't do it.

Eventually I realise that I'm not going to make it, and my only option is to turn downwind and go into the tiny beach, through the massive surf. As I turn downwind though, I realise I can pull a 180 and I make it back to the ramp.

And there, with the help of Dawid's dad, Godfrey, I got out of the water and put the boat back on the trailer.

Sometimes you just have to know when the conditions are too much for you.

Anyway - the point is that skis with rocker and smaller noses are less difficult to turn into the wind!

And I'd also like to hear more from Ranga on best practise for turning into big wind!

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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