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TOPIC: Ocean Surfing

Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18395

  • Mike Siddall
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Help wanted!

I have been trying to surf a Pyranha Storm playboat in the sea, in 3-4 foot waves, but find that I am missing catching a lot of waves. Even when the wave is quite steep, I am unable to get the kayak to drop down the wave face (unless the face is almost vertical!).

In theory, would it help if i moved the seat so that the centre of gravity was nearer the front, or should it be nearer the back?

PS. I normally surf in a Pyranha Acrobat or Necky Jive 8'10\" but would like to use the Storm to see if I can master a few tricks.

(And yes, I know that they are all old boats but I'm old too - too old to start getting radical!!).

Please let me have your ideas. Thanks.

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Re:Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18396

  • chud
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Moving the seat forward might help but be careful with how far or you might end up pearling constantly. Ive not seen a storm before but I reckon the jive looks like it should surf pretty well.
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Re:Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18400

  • Whitewaterules
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Here's an article I wrote on Kayak surfing it may help:

Ocean surfing is exhilarating. The size of the surf can be many times greater than that a river wave. The vast expanse of the horizon gives a sense of a global scale. One may realize that this energy has traveled hundreds of miles. To many, this is the stuff dreams are made of.

Get The BIG Picture:
Before getting in the ocean, take a few minutes and observe. Is the tide coming in or going out? Are there rocks or reefs that pose a hazard? Can you safely handle the size of the surf? Are there any watercrafts that may pose a threat to your safety?

Getting Past The Breaks:
Timing is critical when attempting to get out past the big breaks. Typically, waves come in sets, get out between them. The wall of foam created from a wave that has crashed can be a formidable opponent. If a wave has already crashed and a foam pile is coming, you MUST get the nose above the foam-pile. Rock the bow up and pull on your knees just before the foam pile hits. As soon as the nose is on the foam pile, slam the bow back down and paddle hard. The motion of throwing the bow back down acts like an ollie, bringing your weight back over the boat and the tail up to the surface. This should help keep you from getting stuck in a backward-surf. So to recap, clear the nose, slam it down, and paddle hard.

Catching Waves:
Okay so one quick thing about catching a wave; as the wave comes under you, paddle hard and put your boat on edge. Get on a rail and paddle until you have gained some momentum. You will be able to catch waves more easily as you are putting your boat on a track. You should also be heading slightly right or left on the wave. This exposes more of the surface area of the boat to the wave and may help give you some added forward momentum.

So Now You're On The Wave:
It's important that you DON'T just look straight ahead as you surf your wave. Turn your head and notice where you are in relationship to the wave, next choose where you want to go. Lead with your head. Be decisive and look at where you want to be not where you are going. Some paddlers complain that their bow dives under as they surf down the wave. If this is the case, lean back and travel in diagonal paths so the bow does not bottom out in the trough of the wave. Cutting back and forth also helps pull you higher on the wave as you expose more surface area to the oncoming current.

Quick Tip:
When trying to turn on a wave use a combination of forward sweep strokes and stern rudders on the opposite side. If you only rudder you will not have the momentum to drop you into your next turn (kind of like planting your ski pole ahead of your turn). Ruddering alone, works well to pull you up the waveface. Forward sweep strokes alone, work well to help you fall down the wave faster.

Last But Not Least:
If you capsize try to go with it and roll up the other side. If you miss your first roll, wait a few second for the water to settle down a bit before you try again. Stay relaxed, composed, and confident; two things you won't have to worry about are strainers, and keepers. It can be a bit difficult to roll in a foam pile because of turbulence and foam. Foam is less dense than green water. Therefore, it becomes harder to catch tension with the paddle blade. Waiting for the foam to settle can help give you the support you need. If your Eskimo Roll still fails remember to keep your head down and hip snap!

I hope this helps.

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Re:Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18401

  • Mike Siddall
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Hi Boe.

I've read your article before (it's concise and very good).

The question I need answering, however, is this:

Will more weight in the front of the boat help it take off down down the wave face.

And if it will, will it still surf as well once that initial push has gone.

If you look at any specialised surf kayak, the seat is always well to the rear of the craft, allowing the front half of the kayak to 'plane' and come completely out of the water!

So, should I move the seat further back and just accept that I will always need a very steep wave face to achieve a good take-off?

Any more thoughts welcome (from anyone).

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Re:Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18405

  • AllenG
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I can't really say whether you should move your seat forward or backward, but my personal opinion is this: Start with a seat position that keeps your kayak balanced. i.e. your kayak should sit flat in the water. If your bow seems to be sitting higher than your stern, move your seat forward. If your stern is sitting higher, move it backward. Start with a balanced boat. Once you have this, then you can maybe work out if you want to move it forward or back. Most playboats are designed with a planing hull, so if you have your seat TOO far either way, the kayak won't work as it was designed.

I've recently started getting into playboating and ocean surfing with them. When you try and catch a wave, often you'll need a bit of speed up with the shorter boats, then as you're trying to catch the wave you'll need to lean forward in order to slide down the face and get on it. Remember whenever you lean, lean from your hips, don't just hunch forward bending your back. Also I find I only have to lean a little forward from the hips to get my kayak shooting down the wave. If I lean too much then I won't catch the wave, my bow will just act as a brake. With my leans I try to lean just enough to get the bow down and flat on the water so it can slide down. It takes a little getting used to, but small leans seem the best until your properly on the face.
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Re:Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18411

  • AdrianTregoning
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As was said in the above post - Lean forward to catch the wave while paddling forward. You can also bounce the boat a bit, that helps too. It's the same as surfing or bodyboarding. I'll sometimes have to pump the board once or twice while stroking hard before standing up and surfing. Use weight transitions (forwards and backwards) by rocking your upper body. Two times is often enough. You need to dip the nose a touch down so that the hull gives as little resistance as possible as the boat wants to begin planing. Same as windsurfing. To get on the plane you pump the sail and bounce the board to get it to release. Try that in your kayak. All you have to do is break the barrier between the hull of your kayak dragging through the water and when it starts to plane.

Remember also to paddle using power. Throwing in lots of strokes quickly can be pretty ineffecitve sometimes. Use powerful strokes. Three to four strokes is usually enough. (while leaning forward to get the boat's hull planing and possibly a bounce or two if the wave is small) Smaller waves move slower. Bigger waves move a lot faster and all you'll need to do is take a few strokes and lean forward.

Have fun! :yes: :2cents: :2cents: :2cents: :2cents: :2cents:
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Re:Ocean Surfing 11 years 11 months ago #18426

  • Mike Siddall
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Thanks guys.

Seems like plenty of good advice in those responses. Lots for me to think about and try out. Cheers.

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