Technique Tip: Extreme Remount with Oscar Chalupsky

Monday, 29 October 2018 07:45 | Written by 
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Technique Tip: Extreme Remount with Oscar Chalupsky Credits: Oscar Chalupsky

There are quite a few how-to-remount videos on YouTube - but once again Oscar shows us the best technique for remounting and he makes it look easy (it is easy, you just need to practise!).  Remounting is one of the core skills in surfski paddling - along with the brace stroke.  Best you don't come out of your ski at all, but if you do, this is the best and easiest way to get in again.

Key Points from the video

Wind at your back

In the "old days" I was taught to point the surfski downwind before getting on, face first...  Face palm, more like!  The most natural (and most stable) configuration is with the ski at right-angles to the wind.  It will automatically assume this position, so don't fight it.  

A classic mistake is to try to remount from the downwind side of the boat.  It's almost impossible, because the surfski moves downwind, and you end up underneath it.  If you find yourself on the wrong side, just relax, take breath and bob under the boat.  You may need to spin the boat to untangle your leash.  

Remount: the setup

The setup for the remount is as follows:

  1. Place your rear hand on the other side of the seat, holding your paddle and the rail together.  Your elbow is in the deepest part of the seat.
  2. Place your forward hand on the nearside rail.

Remount Step 1, onto the ski

Boost yourself onto the ski, face-down, kicking your legs to help if needed.  

Note that you can pause at this point to get your breath back if you want.  Keep your head low to keep your centre of gravity low and you're in a pretty stable situation.

Remount Step 2, Bum in the Seat

  1. Turn your forward hand around so that it's gripping the rail.
  2. Turn over and get your bum in the seat.  Don't rush it!

Note that your body is now acting as a sail and the wind is pressing against you and the ski, and this also makes for a stable setup.  

You can leave your legs in the water (both on the upwind side of the ski) and relax!  Get your breath back.  

Remount Step 3, Legs in the Boat

Finally you're going to get your legs back in the boat.

A couple of points:

  1. Before swinging your legs in, take hold of your paddle and start taking strokes.  Back in the dark ages, when I was learning, I was told "your paddle is your friend, it's how you stay upright"...  
  2. I've found that in some skis (particularly skis with deep, narrow seats) you can end up with your bum wedged in the bottom corner of the seat leaving you in an uncomfortable situation where the ski is leaning over to one side.  An easy way to get your bum into the bottom of the seat is to lean back onto the back deck; your bum will automatically centre itself in the seat.
  3. In with the downwind leg, in with the upwind leg, and you're off again.


Don't panic!

I paddle with two leashes - a belt leash that attaches me to the boat and a paddle leash that attaches the paddle to the boat.  The belt leash is a non-negotiable - most people use leg/calf leashes and that's fine - but if you're going offshore you MUST be attached to the boat.  Rescuers will find a surfski much, much more easily than a swimmer.  The paddle leash is more of a nice-to-have.  I use it because I quite often find myself helping other people - and it's much easier to work on something with both hands if you can let your paddle go without losing it.

"Ah," people say, "Your leashes will tangle up!" 

In the ten years or so that I've been paddling with two leashes it is true that on a couple of occasions the bungie paddle leash has become mixed up with the coiled belt leash.  But because they are very different materials, they are easy to untangle simply by pulling them apart.  The key is not to panic.  It takes a couple of seconds to pull the leashes apart - before doing your remount.  Don't panic!

Thanks to Oscar for the video!

And Practise!

There's nothing like practise to build confidence...  On a recent interval training session, our coach made us dismount at the end of each alternate interval - and on the very last one, made us remount from left AND right before heading out... By the end of it, everyone's remounting skill had had a significant boost.

Finally, note that remounting in calm conditions is NOT the same as remounting in proper downwind conditions!  You need to practise in both!

Happy paddling!


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