Turning a Surfski

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10 years 3 days ago - 10 years 3 days ago #20851 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Turning a Surfski

Ranga wrote: Sorry Sandy, this is not what the best surfski paddlers in the world advocate


Sorry Ranga, but last season in our local Seadog Series "round the buoys" dice, I was told by one of the best female surfski paddlers in the world (your mileage may vary) to do this. :unsure:

Not to take off the rudder of course, but to use leaning in combination with the rudder to turn better.

To emphasize: on flat water, this is countersteering. I believe on waves that if we want to go right, we have to lean to the right, yes?

So I conclude that this is a good technique, since it gave her a good few metres on me each turn, which I then had to work real hard to catch up. Last lap I was dropped like a stone, partly due to those extra catch ups I had to do 3 times a lap.
Last edit: 10 years 3 days ago by Ric.

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10 years 3 days ago #20853 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski
Great story Rob. You're right with variables of rocker, bow volume, rudder size, strength and conditions. In my case was paddling stable SEI with 9" rudder for big conditions, the boat has little rocker and a low volume bow. All in all shouldn't be too bad in cross wind so given I was doing all the right things (Ranga yet to put me straight) variable would have been the strength to pull the boat around. Conditions were extreme but that's how I get better by pushing boundaries a little each time.

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10 years 3 days ago - 10 years 3 days ago #20854 by Kayaker Greg
Replied by Kayaker Greg on topic Turning a Surfski
I too was taught by a past NZ sprint champion and Molokai winner (Womans) to edge my ski in the turns, to the opposite side of the turn, I have to admit it doesn't feel natural to me and I find myself leaning into the turns when trying to get around the cans quickly.

But on the waves Ric I believe you have it backwards. When traveling a long a wave, imagine the wave is heading into a beach and think "fart at the beach" and lift the butt cheek on the beach side and drop the hip on the wave side. Water travels up the wave and if you lean into the down side of the wave you have a good chance of the nose grabbing and broaching or capsizing. Lean the opposite way the nose lifts and planes along and down the wave. In fact in most skis and kayaks I have paddled as soon as I edge the boat like this I can feel the boat accelerate on the wave.
Last edit: 10 years 3 days ago by Kayaker Greg.

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10 years 3 days ago #20855 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Turning a Surfski
Greg, thx, I've edited the question to try make it clear what I was suggesting, which I think is in agreement with you.

But just to be sure... so on a wave, you want to surf to the right. You lean to the right, right?

Whereas on the flat, to sharpen your right turn, you lean left.

You gotta be glad we aren't paddling in the same waters with all this farting going on ;-)

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10 years 2 days ago #20856 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Turning a Surfski
Just a quick question Ric. The lady you were racing she was obviously on the same ski and weighed the same as you? You also tried what she was doing in the next race and beat her?
As for going out in conditions that you are not experienced enough for is very dangerous, for yourselves and those that you put at risk that have to rescue you.
I know some guys that went out with you the other day Watto. They did not want to go out but you thought it was fine, they did not want to let you go out alone but eventually thought they could have done nothing for you even if you did get into strife as the conditions were not suitable so they let you go.
As for turning a kayak without a rudder on calm water is as mentioned already is to lean to the opposite side you want to turn, this I have done racing whitewater kayaks many years ago, plus the paddle plays a big part in turning these short boats. Leaning into the wave is generally for catching waves, not for open ocean swell, unless you are being spun out on a very big run. This has happened to me and this was only to stay upright as you would if close to shore with breaking waves.
If I need to turn a ski in strong winds the best way is to make the best use of the conditions, if your ski is fully in the water you have around 6m. to try and turn around. If you wait for the nose to lift over a wave the ski becomes half the length which makes it easier to turn, I also would use the wind to help turn the nose around. All sounds very easy but takes years to get competent . These sort of conditions are not for the inexperienced.
However generally you will not find me in these conditions as I love downwind paddling and skis are designed for those conditions, I only paddle in flat conditions to be fit enough for downwind, sorry to be elitist but I paddle for the enjoyment.
By the way Rob, it is a sad day when your paddling buddies leave you like that, I don't care who they are. When we go paddling it is generally an unwritten law we wait for everyone to get out before we start. It can be a pain as some take ages to get through the waves we also have the odd equipment malfunction. We will only start when satisfied all is well.

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10 years 2 days ago #20857 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Turning a Surfski
Ranga, no I'm not good enough to be beating world champs. Not even female (ex) world champs.

I have tried what she was doing on many occasions since, and I believe it works.

Are you saying that this technique does not work on surfskis, only on K1s and other kayaks?

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10 years 1 day ago #20885 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Turning a Surfski
No I am not saying it does not work, but it is pointless. Rudders have been invented, leaning the craft only gives a very little effect in steering therefore it is essentially used to steer a craft in a straight line in calm conditions. It will not offer much help if turning around markers.
Why not just turn the rudder keep upright and do a proper paddle stroke as opposed to leaning and not paddling properly and then ultimately going slower.
Do a test, take the rudder off and see how well you manage to steer by leaning, this will give you a very good idea of how effective you think it is.

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10 years 1 day ago #20886 by Ric
Replied by Ric on topic Turning a Surfski
I appreciate that taking the rudder off will show how much the rudder helps.

Based on many turns around many buoys since being given said "advice", I must humbly disagree with you. In my experience it has made a metre or so of race distance difference.

It could be that we are very different skill levels, have different boats, weigh different amounts. But I'll leave my observations around in case anyone else has similar boat/weight/skill to me and wants to know a (questionable? good?) tip about turning buoys in a flat race.

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10 years 1 day ago #20888 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski


Hey Ranga, I didn't need rescuing, I put no-one at risk including my self, with wind blowing directly onshore with no shore break in a stable boat (SES was at home) and the only one with pfd and leg leash. AG wasn't going out because of crook shoulder. My turning 'histrionics' were trying to get out for a second run twenty metres offshore, which I did before joining mates so they weren't worried. In terms of the conditions not being suitable, I was not the one who initiated the paddle on the day. I do push the boundaries but I also consider consequences. I respect your experience (and your boat fixing abilities) but don't pontificate. It doesn't have to be blowing a gale to push one's limits. I do not cease to be in awe of those who are doing it in every other post on this site.

Re the pic attached, the storm is metaphorical. For some it's bumpy water in 3 degrees centigrade or maybe just getting out there offshore alone. For others it may be Force 4, but whatever, its pushing the limits some. Yup it's fun going with it but for some of us it's fun going against it.
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10 years 1 day ago #20898 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Turning a Surfski
Sorry Watto, never said you required rescue this time!
As for your histrionics to try and turn close to shore (never mentioned before) the safest way is just go straight in and turn around on land and then paddle out, a lot easier on your body and mind. For other peoples interest there is no or very little wave at the said location.
I do fully agree we have to challenge ourselves in all aspects of life, and yes some challenges to others might seem mundane but huge for the challenger.
By the way your profile picture shows you in a whitewater kayak in big rapids, everything else should be a doddle!
We must get out paddling sometime, I need the training, been out of action for a few months.

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10 years 1 day ago #20904 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski
Cheers Ranga, all good. Unfortunately you'll have to wait awhile for a paddle as just had right hand operated on for Dupuytrun's contracture with left to follow in 6 weeks. Basically little finger and ring finger go claw like (the Pope said I would go blind so I'm not complaining) so they operate and chop out offending palm tissue (fasciectomy). Will certainly contact you when I'm back on the water.

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10 years 1 day ago - 10 years 1 day ago #20905 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski
Profile pic Avon Descent Extracts early eighties - see www.johnwatsonsite.com/Assets/Paddling/Extracts3Fwx.jpg

Lot of people walked that one was fairly hairy. Came to a very sudden standstill millisecond after pic taken, hit the rock under stopper in front of me, felt like all my fillings shot out. Think I DNF'd that year with hypothermia Day 2 - cocky not having fallen out previous year in fatter boat so no thermals. Came out in ti trees in a pile up Day 2 then Superchute. All over red-rover. Think I warmed up by about Wednesday.

Excuse digression in this thread ... but if I had turned somehow I just may not have hit that rock ..
Last edit: 10 years 1 day ago by Watto. Reason: Schpelling erra

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9 years 11 months ago #20934 by Watto
Replied by Watto on topic Turning a Surfski
Your fame has spread:

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