Balance issues or just age catching up?

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8 years 8 months ago #20805 by bursty
I have been paddling for over 10 years. Never a drama with falling out of my ski. I Had a Fenn elite for the last 5 yrs, fell off once in a burly s/east chop soon after I bought it but that was only because the cable screw came loose and I didn't have any control over steering it , so plop out I went when the screw slipped down the cable. Seriously struggled to get back that time from 500 meters out. Since then , 4 yrs since never fell out at all. Paddle twice a week every week since, sometimes in rough water, decent chop and large side swell. Until recently I fell out through no apparent reason and really struggled to get back on. The following week I fell out three times in the bridge to beach paddle. I thought I must be getting too old for this level of ski so I sold the elite and bought a swordfish. All was good until yesterday I fell out from on only from small side swell from a passing boat on calm water. Im now 58. Am I losing it or what's going on. Do we get more unbalanced as we get older?, or as we tire during paddles. Is it a confidence thing? I only worry because I love paddling as a fitness exercise and want to keep going until Im 85. I love downwind runners, never want to give it up, but its getting scary. Not the falling out bit but trying to get back in. I can't keep getting back in because after the first time, that's it I've little strength to do it again. Also why is it more unstable paddling on really shiny glassy water, than on water with a slight wind chop on it?

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8 years 8 months ago #20807 by Ranga
Something is not adding up!
Yes I had the same problem, but it was not that pronounced and sudden. I shifted from a V12 to a V10 Sport and had a wonderful time on the Sport. I then when to up the new V10 which was more unstable than the Sport but manageable for me.
I know the Swordfish is sold as a stable ski but for some it is not. But from an Elite it should be a breeze, like an armchair.
The best solution is to try something very stable like the new V10 Sport or even the V8, this will give you an idea if something else is up, it is almost impossible to fall out of the V8.

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8 years 8 months ago #20809 by antonsa
Bursty, I think you need to get a medical - if balance is becoming a problem it can me a symptom of a number of other ailments. Yes the joy of getting old (I am 58)!

Getting back into the ski is a very real problem for older ex good paddlers as they are not practiced in the art of the remount as they hardly ever fell off. A while back there was an article on how to remount on this website - check it out and practice the remount in calm waters and rebuild your confidence until you can easily do the remount in rough conditions. As you get older you have less flexibility thus the remount takes a bit more effort.

BUT go for a medical checkup just in case there is some problem other than age. I had Bell's Palsy a while back and it affected my balance before the actual Bell's Palsywas evident.

Good luck and keep paddling.

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8 years 8 months ago #20811 by Dicko
Everyone falls out sometimes. As you age, your reflexes get slower, your core strength reduces etc, etc. Your ability to remount is reduced because you are simply not as strong as you were 10 years ago.

Surfski is like all sports. If your confidence is down, you get tentative. When you are tentative you tend to fall in. I don't see a problem with you falling in but I reckon your inability to remount is a problem and has affected your confidence.

I remember Rob writing an article about an elite paddler coming out in tricky conditions and not being able to remount, because he simply
never fell out and didn't pracice getting back in. I think he needed to be rescued.

You need to look at a boats that have shallow buckets that are easy to remount. From my experience the new v10, red7 pro, think ion, stellar skis are all relatively easy to remount.

Practice remounting regularly. A mate told me he saw Tim Jacobs jump out of his ski before the Doctor a few years ago, just to cool off.
He said he was almost back in before he realised he had jumped out. He must practice that.

Don't look at it as falling out...it is simply an excellent opportunity to practice remounting....and find a ski you can get back into.

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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #20812 by Kayaker Greg
Think you summed it up in your post, your too knackered to get back into your ski after your first attempt. Sounds to me you are just not fit enough, no core strength. Get fit, your balance will improve with increased core strength.

One of my older friends summed it up when he said to me, "Don't paddle to get fit, get fit to paddle".
Last edit: 8 years 8 months ago by Kayaker Greg.

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8 years 8 months ago #20819 by [email protected]
I also had a Fenn Elite for years and absolutely loved it.

I also came out of it in some fairly hairy weather on occasion and never really had a problem getting back into it. (In fact the only time I really battled was in some sloppy water when there was hardly any wind...)

But... I also never rid myself of the sweaty feet syndrome that I got whenever I contemplated launching at Millers Point to go out 800m into big side-on swell and wind to get to the start of our Millers Run downwind route.

And when I tried a couple of intermediate boats including V10S, Swordfish, Evo II, I discovered that my downwind times were as good, if not better. My PB for a Millers Run is still from paddling the Elite, but I've got close in the Evo II.

The biggest difference was in my enjoyment of big, bumpy conditions. I just don't have any worries anymore, just get out and focus on going as fast as possible catching runs.

Maybe just a mental thing (as I say, although I came out of the Elite on rare occasions, I never had any problems getting back in when the wind was blowing, but I just felt nervous.)

So I'd say, go for an intermediate ski - in rough water you'll most probably find that you're as fast, if not faster than on the Elite.

Just my 2c

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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8 years 8 months ago #20820 by bursty
Yeh cheers ranga. I used to have a v10 sport years ago and yes it was rally good, but I love the Fenn skis, and the swordfish is great, and don't want to sell it, so ill just have to keep on practising getting back in , I think. Thanks for your help.

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8 years 8 months ago #20821 by bursty
Cheers antosa. Yeh its not really the way I get back in as I have done it plenty of times in the past but its getting harder as I get older and its a co-ordination issue trying to balance with one hand on the paddle and manouvering/sliding my body into position without falling in again. This is where I use a lot of energy up, just doing that as any little misjudgement means plop, back in I go and it is where i need core strength to come in. At the end of the day i need to be able to remount without having a heart attack, so ill just keep up my core strength excercises.

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8 years 8 months ago #20822 by bursty
Yeh, rob I agree its got a bit to do with mental awareness and confidence. Ive been in the ocean since I was five in surf clubs and have covered all conditions at one stage of my life. I recall for years never being in trouble when I had heaps of confidence just ploughed on through anything, but now recently once I fall in im always aware and hesitant that its going to happen again and it transfers to the confidence thing. I think paddling through bumpy conditions takes confidence, fitness, and good old sea-dog awareness, and when one gets tired over a long period my age catches up a bit and im left vulnerable to the above. I think we all need to just adjust a bit as we get older to external and internal conditions. Im a firm beleiver you can do anything you want in life physically up until any age but just age with grace.

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8 years 8 months ago #20843 by Fath2o
Looks like I have a similar background as you Bursty, I'll be 54 next month. I had an Elite for a couple years and was always tentative, switched to V10. Love that boat and paddled almost exclusively up until last July. Tore my rotator cuff on a somewhat difficult downwind. Haven't paddled the V10 much since then. Definitely a fear of re-injury and confidence issue.
I am mostly paddling my XT and EVO now, (no more ego issues). The XT is my seriously abused paddle hard, put away wet and store outside boat. My more pampered Kevlar EVO is kept in reserve for bigger downwinds.
Besides rarely falling out of either boat, I find them less fatiguing to paddle. A little easier on the lower back and hips.
I enjoy paddling them just as much or more because I'm not thinking about stability issues, taking a swim or how bloody cold the water is if I do. I've also found that if I fall out on a big downwind well offshore, I tend to lose my "MOJO". Start thinking about all the things that can go wrong, start getting cold, fatigued, a little nervous, etc.
My wife is 30 year emergency room nurse and I hear a lot about strange misdiagnosed or undiagnosed conditions and I think Antonsa right. If you haven't already, Get a good physical exam.

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8 years 8 months ago #20845 by cdo
Bursty as other have said please get this checked out thoroughly by the medical experts. Personally I know that each time I had another cancer developing my balance suffered greatly. Not trying to scare you as your observation is hopefully nothing, but it is worth having checked out sooner rather than later.
Balance can be compromised by so many factors including mental confidence. You need to do what ever it takes to regain your 'peace of mind' of not fearing a swim.

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8 years 8 months ago #20846 by Marieski
Bursty, I have to add my voice to the "get a checkup" group. Sure, you do lose balancing ability as you get older but it wouldn't manifest as suddenly as yours seems to have.

The other possible explanation is the loss of confidence from the first fall, because confidence definitely is correlated with balance, but I definitely wouldn't assume that without excluding new neurological or muscular or inner ear problems.

I haven't fallen out except on purpose for several years but I practice the remount several times every month. Yes, even in winter in Tassie. Because that would be the worst time not to be able to do it, wouldn't it?

Get a checkup. From a really switched on GP or a sports physician or a neurologist.

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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8 years 8 months ago #20852 by sAsLEX

Marieski wrote: Yes, even in winter in Tassie. Because that would be the worst time not to be able to do it, wouldn't it?


Cold water habituation is something that could save your life if you do fall out accidentally! Good thing is it lasts a while so you don't need to practise in the cold too often...

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11072768
The following user(s) said Thank You: kwhatmough

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