Problem Solvers

For a few years I've been looking for the a kayak that will paddle to the inlets where I like to surf.  I  mostly like to play near inlets that are a few miles out from any car parking as these places have the  fewest board surfers and swimmers that I might disturb.  Also inlets usually provide a good mix of conditions in a small area so I can almost always find something challenging without being over my head.

But the perfect boat for this mission has eluded me.  I really like how a Dagger Kaos and Cobra Revision surf, but they can't keep up with my sea kayaking buddies on the paddle out or back.  If I try a maneuverable sea kayak for surfing like a Dagger Alchemy, I miss the real feeling of surfing. There is no bottom turn, cut back, or even a faded entry for me with these boats. They just are not as easy to turn and it is really had to set a rail when all you have is a softish rounded chine.

But finally Clipper canoes had published the answer on their Facebook Page!

I guess Clipper makes the best surf boat hauler.  I think I want one set up with oars. I let you know how the experiments turn out.

Consciously Incompetant

The shape of this boat makes it handle much differently than my other boats

My new Cobra Revision  does not respond well to an outside edge but really turns with an inside edge which is opposite of what I use in my other boats most of the time.  It is really taking me a long time to adjust. I hope to become unconsciously competent with it, but then I wonder if I'll be able to go back to a sea kayak and paddle using mostly the outside edge.

I noticed when helping with a class last year that one of the students asked the instructor if they were making correction strokes and edging the boat as the class weaved its way along the shore.  The instructor guessed so but stated that she was not aware of it, she was just naturally paddling along.  This month I got reminded of how it feels to not have a feel for a skill, I hope I can learn to use the boat better, maybe it will make me a better mentor as well.

Surf Lessons from the Sea

Throwing your weight around can be a good thing.
Foot straps and foot plates really help to shift your weight forward and back.

The foot straps in the picture above are actually re purposed handles rivets in place on my Cobra Revision.  So far it has worked well for me.  On my next project I am thinking of installing a pulling bar on my Kestrel 140 like some of the racing paddlers use for even less floppiness and more secure footing.

Surf straps save hands.  I never let go of the boat soon enough.  Surf straps made of 2 inch webbing with a knot in it can be a real hand saver when attached to the bow and stern.  They drag in the water and can look a little dorky, but they really help when you are trying to lead the boat on your way out or in from the surf.

Playing in the white wash can really help your skills.
Maria calls this playing in the weenie waves, but it really help to be very comfortable here.  Working to be able to take these little white waves right on your side has really helped my bracing skills.  I've also learned a lot about the easier ways to get out by not trying to get out.  I learn move about paddling and boat handling here than anywhere else.  It is also nice that you are right near the shore so you can just stand up when you get dumped.  You can get dumped a dozen times in a day here before you are worn out.  It's a lot easeir than learning on a deeper break where each capsize or failed roll can result in a long swim accompanied by multiple beat downs from breaking waves.

Winter Surf

It was in the upper 70's this January Saturday which made for a perfect day at the beach!

It was mostly a small surf day which was perfect for me to start learning about my new boat.  I really liked the way it handled.  I learned a lot about using the foot straps, if I didn't use a lap belt or thigh straps, then I could really shift my weight forward and back on the boat.  This helped a lot.  Weight forward helps to catch the wave. I think weight back helps you turn diagonally so you don't dive nose first into the sand.  And once the wave closes out, weight forward lets the boat swing out facing the sea so you can paddle out.

Mostly the rides were really short with only time for one or two quick strokes before the waves broke, But we had a few good rides each.

I think this is the best shot of the day.  All pictures were provided by Hank, who we met for the first time that day on the beach.  I hope he comes out every time we surf. He takes wonderful pictures!