For whatever its worth I figured I would share this. I have had the opportunity to do a lot more surfing this year. On days with boring surf I have made the most of the time by back-surfing almost exclusively, and have continued to back surf in bigger conditions (I am referring to doing so in the ocean surf zone and not whitewater).
It has really helped my paddling in the surf in my opinion. I had always back-surfed a little in the past, but not in a dedicated fashion. Frankly I always felt a little apprehensive for fear of injuring my bad shoulder.
Luckily that has not been an issue. I have been doing a ton of back-surfing and not only is a lot of fun, but I have found it to be a real skill builder.
Of course everything is backwards which makes it interesting, but it seems to really help with edge control and "feel" Next, it has helped me feel a lot more comfortable when I get back-surfed unintentionally by big oncoming waves, last it has really helped my roll in the surf zone. I never had a problem rolling in the surf zone, but backsurfing has just helped me feel a lot better about getting pummeled in the surf upside down, and has caused me to have to roll from a variety of different positions on both my on and off side.
Also has increased my confidence a lot. Getting pummeled moving backwards and pitch poling moving backwards really has made me feel totally at ease in bigger conditions that I always enjoyed but felt a little tight in.
Another thing that I have done a lot this season that has helped me is rolling a lot in the surf intentionally. In big waves I have rolled before getting hit and gotten backsurfed upside down a lot to practice rolling. Also have chosen to get capsized rather than to brace, or to do a totally committed high brace rather than a low brace.
Doing this has really increased my confidence, improved my roll....and helped my shoulders.
Only sharing here since it has helped me a lot in my opinion. Try doing some more back surfing and intentional rolling in the surf zone. I think it will really help you to improve even if your skills are fairly advanced.
The Moose Rack
|Table of Contents|
|Messages in this Topic|
fear of the surf|
Posted by: gnarlydog on Sep-18-13 9:57 PM (EST)
For me, fear of the surf has gradually subsided once I started to back surf. As you say: it has improved my skills and perception of what waves do. On some kayaks (Swede form) backsurfing is almost easier than forward surfing, for me.
I found that video very entertaining.|
Posted by: capefear on Sep-19-13 9:02 AM (EST)
Thanks. I enjoyed that. It looked like a lot of fun. I really like the camera angle.
extra credit to you|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-19-13 11:55 AM (EST)
Great video but you get extra credit, being in Oz and using a Northern Light paddle. You ought to campaign for them to make a model called the "Southern Cross"!
Northern Light paddles|
Posted by: gnarlydog on Sep-19-13 7:21 PM (EST)
I have been using Northern Light Greenland paddles since the early days and have not found a better paddle for dynamic water. For cruising I now prefer the new Northern Light "Skinny", a smaller surface finer edge sectional carbon Greenland paddle.
Posted by: rjd9999 on Sep-20-13 1:39 PM (EST)
that a large blade paddle may catch too much water when surfing and that DOES pose a risk of shoulder injury.
Size of Surf ? |
Posted by: seadart on Sep-18-13 10:47 PM (EST)
You might want to add a disclaimer to do this in small manageable waves.
agree especially regarding roll|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-18-13 11:05 PM (EST)
I think I may take your advice.|
Posted by: capefear on Sep-19-13 9:51 AM (EST)
I try to spend some time on nice easily manageable days playing around with backsurfing in bits and pieces. And even that has helped me a great deal. This might inspire me to take the backsurfing up a notch. I've paddled enough to know you're not talking about spinning a 180 on the face of a wave with a sea kayak. There's really nothing that leaves me inclined to try to minimize taking off backwards just for good fun and learning better control. The problem with waiting for those chance occurrences is that "chance occurrence" rules out dedicated practice. And it seems like that's the point.
Posted by: NateHanson on Sep-19-13 11:37 AM (EST)
Going from front surfing to back surfing on a single wave does happen in a sea kayak. It's nothing like the way a surf kayak or surf board does it, but in medium-large surf (like 4+ feet maybe), when a sea kayak pearls a bit, and the stern broaches around, it's often possible to get the boat to spin on the crest of the wave, and push it back down onto the wave face for a little back surf (quickly followed by rolling practice, at least in my experience). :)
Posted by: bowler1 on Sep-19-13 12:28 PM (EST)
A few responses...
backward to forward surf|
Posted by: jesse59 on Sep-19-13 12:38 PM (EST)
I recall a nice video of someone paddling a delphin where he caught the wave backwards, quickly intentionally broached to high brace the crest, and spun the kayak into a forward surf for a nice long ride.
slightly bigger waves|
Posted by: gnarlydog on Sep-19-13 7:12 PM (EST)
in slightly bigger waves backsurfing can be tricky as I find hard to get enough speed to run the waves.
I like that idea...|
Posted by: bowler1 on Sep-19-13 7:28 PM (EST)
catching the wave backwards and then spinning into a front surf... so that you don't have to look over your shoulder all the time. If I can get that to work reliably that would be a great technique. I will have to try it
Posted by: gnarlydog on Sep-19-13 7:50 PM (EST)
my technique to get a decent glide even on small waves is to lean back just before the kayak starts to surf, paddle backward and then suddenly transfer weight to the front once under way to prevent pearling.
Posted by: bowler1 on Sep-20-13 7:12 AM (EST)
Exactly what I do when back surfing. I have found that on a bigger wave you almost HAVE to lean way forward to prevent purling. I almost do a crunch forward.
Posted by: rick_s on Sep-20-13 12:49 PM (EST)
i need about a 4 footer or so...start backward, throw weight back and get the stern sunk...the bow rises up on advancing water while the stern is sunk...now that you're vertical, spin it around and ride it out with bow down wave...i think it's called a pirouette? fun as hell.