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surfing on saturday.....

rick stoehrer

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with the surf in on saturday, all other obligations were cleared from the deck and a group of us got together and headed to a spot that shall go un-named.

we arrived at 8:15 and a few of us had already had an hour in the water - the surf was breaking onto a beautiful sandy beach and the waves in the morning were from chest to head high dependind on where you were in the set and just lovely. with as many folks as we had in the group, we had a large selection of boats to play in - ww, to shorter sea boats (avocets) to longer touring craft (explorers and greenlanders) this was to be fun!

we had one small problem with a sirius (huh....they aren't bullet proof apparently) and some fiberglass and gel coat repair need to be made before that see's the water again. additinally, we cautiously took out a newbie into the surf and she did wonderfully, grinning and laughing at the antics of others the entire time. which is good as i shall marry her...oh yes, i shall and it's important she not get broken in a boat...

i swam. yes, i typed that out loud (it was shallow...head dragging on the sandy bottom (helmeted, yes) and at some point you just get out) but had the best runs of my life on that beach! the avocet is a dream to paddle in the surf - what a wonderful boat! i endoed and pulled out the roll while vert. and paddled out - the coolest thing i have ever or ever will do in a kayak! totally jazzed!

at one point, several of us were on the same wave, parallel, each running down the wave face...on purpose yet! pulled out of the wave and paddled off pleased as punch!

on the whole we were there until 4 or so and quite exhausted by the time we left the beach. today, we are a bit battered a bit bruised and still smiling from the sand in our hair and the new scratches on our craft.

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Sounds like an excellent day! "Jazzed!" :) Folks were reporting 4-5' clean faces out of Jennesse over the weekend. Enough waves for everyone that relationships between boardies and yakkers were miles of smiles.

SW waves most of this week. If you live in Gloucester, Maine or RI coastlines, you can still fine before and after work surfing. Too far for this Boston homeboy to do readily.


PS. Avocet is relatively short for a touring boat. But go shorter and planing hull if you really want to "dance" on waves.

PPS. The RI Surf Kayakers are planning a fall surf sesssion some weekend in October. This is to be a fun event that will also have fun (emphasis on FUN) focused competitions - singles and teams -- in one open boat category (you can use a touring boat, I guess if you so choose). Participating is "winning" since it's about getting on the waves -- dancing, groovin' and stokin' anyway you like.

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dear evil sing -

the avocets were just brilliant for surfing! we all switched around quite a bit as we had a buncha boats there but for me, the avocet was sweee-eet. got broached and then still able to pull the bow out and around to continue surfing....really got to do whatever i wanted in that boat. and yeah, it is a short boat so i know that's what's goin on...it had little to do with me, i am sure! but boy...didn't everything on saturday just feel right!

tried 2 ww boats but don't know enough about them to tell you why they handled the way they did....one, you had to let the bow bury herself, lean back and then just go! the problem was getting too far ahead of the wave face it was just so fast....truth be told, i enjoyed them but had NO IDEA what the hell i was doing in them! fun though! squirrelly little things...you turn 360 with a stroke for cryin' out loud...the problem was going straight (210 paddle is way too long for this) and it seemed like almost everything was a derivative of a sweep....chris g though seemed to make his necky rip behave quite well and he had a grand ole time....especially once one of his bud's punched a hole in his sirius.....err....yeah, we'll fix that right up....

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That's is the "key" -- the "speed" of the boat -- will allow you to really dance on the wave. This means having the ability to rip back and forth, do cut backs, float up and down the wave, all the while in front of the break, in the "power pocket." It's also possible get off the wave before it totally closes out, locking you in the foam pile. Once you in the foam, chances are you going all the way in.

You have to watch Seach2, or some of the available MPEGs on line on kayak surfing, to get the idea of "classical surfing." Classical surfing is about controlling the boat totally in concert with the dynamics of the wave. Most folks ride boats that are controlled by the wave as opposed to the other way around.

If you have a fast connection, go to this page and hit Joey Hall/SPYDER in 2003 World Comp. Use the low resolution for a faster upload. Basically, you'll see Hall maximize the speed of the Spyder to stay in front of the power pocket.


In the Santa Cruz comps, when the waves were running/breaking just right, folks were able to get in the power pocket and rip all the way from "Steamer Lane" to the beach that is half a mile away.


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Not all short boats are the same. Dedicated surf boats have distinct rails and fins which allow the boat to really carve and stick to a steep face. White water boats have chines,i.e. more square side walls, that tend to slide out on steep faces. It's still more maneuverable and will have more speed because of the planing hull than a (displacement hull) sea kayak. White water boats, however, can also get caught in the foam easier than a good surf yak. It can do more tricks than a sea kayak. As someone said, white water boats can surf in a "white water" kind of way. :) But it's not "classical surfing" in sense of riding on green side of the power pocket. Neckys with their sharp aft chines tend to do better than most white water boats.

Here's what a west coat surfer (reflecting a pretty strong and prevalent attitude) thinks of white water boats in surf (don't even talk about a sea kayak "surfing" to that crowd):



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