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Topics - alap

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Foil SUP / paddle length
« on: July 31, 2018, 11:13:04 AM »
Just curious about the length of a paddle.
If you on the foil you are a feet in the air, so you'll need a longer paddle to reach to the water.
or you paddle only when the board is about to touch the water, so you are not that high in the air?
So... what the length? longer, so you paddle out with a longer paddle ?

General Discussion / two Qs about Pismo
« on: August 05, 2014, 09:00:14 PM »
will be at Pismo beach for a week Sep 1-7

two Qs:

1. is it possible to rent high performance board there? (like ~9 ft.)
2. what kind of wetsuit should I take with me?

thank you in advance for your answers!

Travel, Trips, Destinations / hanalei
« on: May 31, 2014, 03:07:19 PM »
spent two weeks in April.
was outstanding on all levels.

first of all Kauai North Shore is beautiful. Beats all Oahu + Maui combined.
So many beaches, no problem parking (sometimes right on the beach), and beaches of all possible kind.
Friendly people, locals included (even in the grocery store! no comparison to Maui..)
Never was fingered or honked on the road, despite strictly driving a speed limit (and thats a task in itself if you drove in HI you can only wonder how those speed signs are posted, every 200 meters or so...).
Green, lush, rugged, mountains, one lane bridges.
In short, its real HI, the one can imagine it.
But drive 10 minutes to the East side and the magic is completely gone.

1. break at Hanalei Bay. As good as it can be. Real peeling wave. Never saw anything like this. First hour I just stand 10 meters to the side, just looking on the guys
2. The guy who surfed with his dog:

(the picture doesn't work for me for some reason, so here is a link for the curious ones)

this is a river mouth on the boogy boarding beach. There never was a smidgen of a hint that he may fall. He paddled out, crossing ugly white water, in 15 seconds he made a U-turn, and effortlessly caught a wave. Then did it again... After half an hour his hair was still dry.

3. One day on the wave I saw a Lord himself, Mr. Hamilton. Very low profile, just the best surfer

My surfing:
Well the crowd vibe is very mixed on this main break. Some locals are very friendly, but some not so much so.
The concept of etiquette... well if you catch a wave they lecture you... if they catch it, it's allright, just a party wave...

My main problems were three fold.
1. I am goofy and this is right break (surfers right, lookers left - so I call it right, may be it is suppose to be called left, not sure  :o)
My back side riding skill is about 20% of my open side one. So after take off I had often trouble keeping with the wave, it was peeling faster than I was surfing to the right.
I am sure I would be totally fine if it would be right direction. I mean left... I mean the correct one! for me...

2. the crowd, some localism, the shallow reef didn't add the confidence. Plus it is a windy place. When it was too much I just was surfing the beach break. There I was a king... and  it was uncrowded. and sand. and I can go left... and some protection from wind...

3. I was surfing my ULI, 33 cm wide. BTW, I have seen one Naish, no Starboards, couple paddle surf HI, and the rest is Laird. My guess is that it is probably a right board for this wave. Typical size 10 ft. Narrow tail, wide nose. And take off... they start to paddle early... I am guessing that with such predictable wave a longer board with earlier paddling for speed is a ticket. I on another hand was doing my regular routine: steeper section, two strokes. So probably I wasn't using the best technique and the best board for that wave.

We had a great time. The weather... it may be rainy.., but it is different kind of rain.... comes from nowhere... lasts 10 min, then gone... then may be again, may be not...
And it is a windy place! But I saw just 2 windserfers and about 6- 8 kiters...

Travel, Trips, Destinations / week at Maui West
« on: April 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM »
just came back.

stayed at North Kanapali beach

There is a break at Kanapali South beach.
We drove around a little bit too, just to explore. West and South side of an Island - waves are very small. Got easily crowded unless you go early. And very windy too.

No real rippers (they probably dont bother).
this is the kingdom of SUPs. Vast majority are rented out. In front of every hotel there is a stand. Majority of SUPers just newbies paddling in flat water, 50% on the knees. Almost as many as those who snorkel!
Majority of the rented boards are yellow Naish.

Majority of the boards on the car roofs - SUP boards.

those who surf, also paddle huge boards (eleven footers at least), accelerate in front of the wave with 10 strokes and go straight to the beach, no concept of turning, or even straight down the line (go 90 degrees to the beach). I was ashamed to be the best surfer there. (and at the break there were some regulars, not only tourists)

I still enjoyed small waves, in a way it is a good practice, its like riding a bike very slowly or standing still on it; its not easy. Lots of walking from back to the nose and back again and then rushing to the nose, reading the wave. No aggresive turns though.

Did my first cross step to the nose and back with 180 degree turn to go out again.

if your party is surfing oriented - dont go there.

if this is a family oriented trip (as it was for me, I was scoring points for new sail and mast and board...) and you just want to escape for few hours in the morning surfing, best to stay in Kanapali south (expensive), or stay at Kanapali North and spend 45 minutes paddling to the break (as I did), or drive to and from the break in the wee hours (i didn't). There are a number of public parks south of Lahainia, but the beaches are not the best for the families IMHO.

Best swimming beach is Wailea, but no surfing there. South Kanapali beach is great for swimming too, so thats why it is expensive - you got a break and 200 meters away a nice swimming beach. South section of Noth Kanapali beach (I like how it sounds; south section of north...) is great for swimming too.

Other than surfing Maui is great of course, went to Hookipa (to watch windsurfers). Can't imagine how one can surf there in such a wind. I can imagine when there is no wind North Shore can be epic for surfing. However there is very little chance. If you windsurf and SUP and the rest of your party  tolerates this, there is nothing better than Maui North Shore - you will be busy all the time! Of course if you are a supper, there will be wind only, and if you a windsurfer there will be perfect sup conditions.

mama's fish house is great of course, much better than anything else around, although overrated (e.g. restaurants in Quebec City are much better; never been in France)

no hatred at the break, vibe is mellow (probably because there were no waves, no rippers) - I am talking about West shore again. Otherwise Aloha spirit, its an oxymoron I guess... not very friendly in general. Locals (or because this means something totaly else I should rather say permanent residents) rely on your tourist money but hate you anyways; some gladly show it.

great trip, great memories, some surfing, and some scoring points

Technique / takeoff from white water
« on: October 05, 2012, 10:53:07 AM »
there is an excellent thread going, the one started by punasurf about the surf stance and when to accept it. A lot of excellent answers, but all are dealing with takeoff in the green water.

I have a slightly different question, and first wanted to add  it to this thread, but then I decided to start a new one.

When I takeoff late, and I mean really late, i.e. when the wave is already breaking behind me, the lip is white and it hits me I have really, really hard time not to fall. And when I fall it always backwards, and the board goes to the beach and tugs me, and the following wave breaks over my head, etc.etc.etc.

I wonder, punasurf mentioned his surfing background, and surfers usually are taking off right from the breaking lip, perhaps he does it the same way on standup and ends up like me, falling back?

Regardless, how do you deal with this situation? there is no question you have to be in a surf stance, and from whatever limited success I have, I think your weight has to be on a front foot, but you have to shift it back very fast, and try to lower your stance as much as you could (after all proners use this push of white water for final acceleration, and because the are lying, they never fall back)?

the challenge for me is that the white water always travels fast and always kicks from behind, and standing too much front is scary because of the risk of pearling, and standing too much back or jumping back too early results in this fall...

any ideas?

I was even thinking about falling on my belly, taking off as proner and then standing back up...

Also, my last day at the ocean was huge. My usual beach (wick) was complete mess, the protected bay (Florencia) has huge current - like a river - inside, parallel to the shore, towards the rocks and huge riptide just outside. So I went to Long Beach. This is the shallow, steady almost flat bottom beach. No chance to get out in this beach break whatsoever, but I had spent the whole morning there. I was crossing the white wash as far out as I could and then making 180 turn and catching this one feet wall of boiling white water. All in the waist deep water. Kinda an ultimate late take off, but with no wave. Just white water only. I had way more success than I had anticipated (i guess 80 -90% success rate, and by success I mean not falling). All I did was surf stance, first the whole weight on the front foot, then during the push transfering it all the way back, and trying to stay low.

Not sure if there are other secrets to this late take off?

May be the timing of moving the weight back has to be very specific... e.g. when the one third or one quarter of your tail is covered with this white water, just guessing here...

Technique / pushing through the white water
« on: October 03, 2012, 02:45:13 PM »
so I just finished my sixth season.

there were many threads here about how to cross the white water and the common wisdom since the beginning of time was to accelerate, to step back, to lift the nose and to cross the white water.

I must say it never really worked for me, except it smacked me couple times in my weakest part (the head that is), but it was unintentionally of course :)

Two years ago I got my Mana 9.0 and gradually things changed, just by trail and error.

What I do now is pushing through white water. The move is really tough to dissect, but it looks something like that. I bend in the knees before and as it hits the nose I extend, pushing the nose forward and under through my heels. (i.e. it feels like I push it with my heels, weird feeling, nothing to compare with) It works really well for me both in the wall of white water and also pushing through the crushing lip. I guess it won't work on a bigger floatier boards with wide noses, but for me on my board it is way easier method. I never do this step back part anymore. And in really powerfull white water the nose still can pop up, if you dont push it enough. With usual consequences. So still have to be prepared.

Another slogan on this forum was "meet power with power" or something like this, meaning that you should accelerate in front of the upcoming white water.  Again I generally avoid doing this. If I see the wall of white water approaching, I'd rather wait. With every meter it travels it dissipates a lot of energy and I have better chances to cross it, why to hurry???

The only times when I rush towards it, is if I see different pattern behind it. E.g. I hope that by clearing it faster I can all together clear the breaking zone faster (e.g. it is a lull)

Another advice was that after it hits you you better have your paddle in the water. This one I am finding very useful, but again the point for me is to stick the paddle in the water not to propel me forward or pull through the white water, but to simply have a third leg in the water. Yes, most of the time I want to start a stroke after I stick it in the water, but not always. With time I had recognized that often it is much better to allow it to do whatever it wants, sometimes the backstroke is required to maintain the balance.

Sometimes with the paddle in the water, when I loose the balance I just rotate the handle clockwise and counterclockwise and clockwise again. Its just like screwing in the blade and it allows me to regain the balance

Sometimes (e.g. the chest high lips barrels and hits me) there is not a chance I can stick it behind the lip. Still attempting to do so results in hitting the wave just behind the lip flat with a blade, and it helps a lot too.

Sitting low is another good thing, also it allows you to position your paddle further away from the board.  You do two things - lower your center of gravity, plus extending your base. But it is not always possible (like with lip starting to barrel if you lower yourself it will hit you in the face, not in the chest or hips).

wow... I just reread what I wrote and realized that I had deviated from my Subject... but while I am still at this let me give couple more thoughts.

Sometimes I loose the balance and one of my rails go under. It used to be the end, but recently I have found that instead of fighting (and loosing) I have to allow the foot to extend as much as the board wants and to bend another knee, releasing the pressure on another rail completely. I was able to recover several times using this approach.

Also, I never kneel (not that there is something wrong with this, haha :) )
I admit, I bend over (and again nothing is wrong with this either)

Jokes aside, kneeling is an act of self defeat, like throwing the white flag. And may be in the beginning lowering yourself closer to the water feels safer, but for me in reality I have way more balance and control standing straight up. Again think of wall of white water hitting you in the chest, what chances do you have?

Bending over is another story, you fight for the balance till very end and if it throws you forward you bend over, but you still standing and after regaining the balance you already in upright position.

And finally, I must say that in our spot crossing white water is just 50% of the game. It is like backcountry skiing, if you don't enjoy climbing up, you better stick to the lifts or pay thousands for heli. So I must say that crossing the tough white water gives me a lot of satisfaction. its different than riding a tough way, but I enjoy it never the less

my 0.02 cents...

Technique / using your paddle under water
« on: May 07, 2012, 12:13:17 PM »
obviously, we all were taken for a rides... When under the water I was always holding to the paddle in a neutral relaxed way, so just not to loose it.

this winter I had an elbow injury and my left hand is not completely healed, because of that last week in Punta Mita in order not to loose it I was holding to the paddle for real.

Couple big waves (1.5 overhead) had eaten me and I realized that I was pushed deep down. I realized that it was a paddle that was pushing me down, and thats because I was holding it very strong and the handle was pointing to the beach and down. Naturally the blade was working like a spoiler on the tail of the race car...

So next time when it took me for a ride I made an effort to position it with the handle pointing up not down. I was also holding the paddle in the different place - as close to the blade; one hand on the neck, and another probably 2 ' up. Thats to reduce the leverage. The result is amazing - you are on the surface while it is still dragging you towards the beach.

You still have to adjust to the situation - sometimes it drags you on your back, sometimes on your belly; just remember to position the blade as a wing not as a spoiler. No matter really where your handle will be pointing, may be not towards the beach, but towards the sea, - but position your blade so you feel how it pulls you up.

Hope this will be helpful for someone...

General Discussion / pismo beach advice
« on: March 29, 2012, 06:50:34 PM »

I am thinking of booking either Kon Tiki, right in Pismo Beach in front of the pier, or Dolphin Bay Resort, 5 km north at the shell beach.

Can you guys let me know how the beaches compare in terms of waves, crowds, and tolerance towards us, SUPers?

Also I just bought a handplane, never done it, how are those two beaches with that regard?

I am a little tired of 5 months of skiing, a week of surfing should heal my body.... and then one more month of skiing. Both hotels are right on the beach and have great reviews, but nothing beats local knowledge. Ill take my ULI fatass quad 9'3"...


General Discussion / natuarally born surfers
« on: June 12, 2011, 07:14:17 PM »

Sessions / one endless wave on ULI
« on: June 06, 2011, 08:49:13 PM »
FatAss Quad 9'3", 33"

Regional / any good standing wave close to Calgary?
« on: May 29, 2011, 05:41:52 PM »
starting my season #5.
I think I am ready for the "safe" easy standing wave if such exists...
I have ULI fatass 9'3"

just dont want to be the first guy.
dont want to use leash
dont want to loose board
dont want to injur myself.

I need my fragile body for real surfing, wsrfng and skiing...

anybody? any ideas?

General Discussion / gopro chest harness
« on: May 29, 2011, 09:21:45 AM »
I used gopro chest harness and I liked it very much.

I always disliked headmount, it looks too dorky, like an antenna to communicate with a mothership, plus its sticking out quite a bit and it may get on the way (you may hit it with something... you may think you duck enough, but its still sticking out), plus you can't see the light (video on)

paddle mount is much better, but it is really becomes a filming session, instead of leaning on the paddle you tend to use it as a camera crane...

turns out chest harness from gopro (~50$) works quite well - points were your shoulders do and never gets in the way, and you always can double check display and LED light, after turning it on/off. I was afraid it will be on the way when climbing on the board, but it is not, it is located quite high.

here are couple vids. I dont know how to embed, so here are just vimeo links:

I will use it for skiing too, not sure it will work good for wndsrfng... but I'll try :)

Gear Talk / sup boards at MEC
« on: March 26, 2011, 05:28:23 PM »
was at MEC the other day, there are five or 6 boards, few useless eleven footers (Laird, Jimmy Stycks) and two real gems: Bark 12'4" and Bark Dominator 14'. Never saw Bark alive. its amazing... piece of art really... made me think...

they also have paddles, from 60$ to 300$. two kialoa models. what surprised me with Kialoa (and not in a good way) is a handle. Just a plain tee, no ergonomics.

MEC is canadian analog to REI. yesterday got their catalog... and the boards are there too... but not Bark.

Gear Talk / ULI Lopes 10' review
« on: January 24, 2011, 09:42:00 PM »
I own ULI Lopes 10' for two years, and I
just came back from the week of surfing in Mexico. Strangely enough it was my first real surfing trip with ULI (we been to Oahu a year ago, but i haven't logged a real surfing time there).

I am 56, 170 lbs, finishing my year 4 on SUP, I surf 30 - 35 days a year, plus some time on the lake, which is irrelevant for surfing. My rate of improvement doesn't slow down that indicates that I am still a beginner. Boards owned - 11' Infinity, 9'8" Starboard and now 9' Mana. Plus I had rented a Blair 10' (and it was exactly on the same beach 2 years ago, I remember how I did a backside take off first time in my life on this Blair).

There are obvious attractions in ULI; high tolerance to the "friendly skies", very light (I walk with it 20 minutes one way to the lake) and it is safe for others in the lineup.

Still I was worried how well will it surf, with a wide rail and a bit out off the beaten path construction.

I tell you right away, that my worries were totally unsubstantiated (like the most of the worries in this life). The board really surprised me. It surfs very very good, on the par with "real" 10' boards. It is a little different, you have to adjust your style a bit (standing may be closer to the back, not digging the rail too close to the nose, etc.), but it is in the same class. Its like comparing Toyota Tundra, F150 and RAM and Chevy trucks. Some better, some not, some have avid fans, but those are all comparable and function wise all are within the same class.
as an example, Just a week ago I still strongly preferred the take off to the left (I am goofy) to the open side. But not anymore! See, the break I was surfing breaks to the right and sometimes it got crowded, so I forced myself into going only right, and this board didn't fail me at all. I now can take to the left or to the right, at will! And also typically I surf the beach break (Vancouver island) and it turned out such a pleasure to surf it in this bowl, with a green water in front of you, white water just behind and ride it forever. And when I did outrun the wave I just made an almost 180 degree turn to the open side and immediately back 180 to the right. It was all very natural for me on this board. Other skills that I already have, I had no problem at all (paddling without yaw, takeoff from full stop with one-two strokes, bottom turn to the open side leaning on the paddle). Around 50 waves, 300 turns in four hour sessions.

The only area where this board is a bit inferior to the regular boards is going out. Because it is soft, when white water hits it is more difficult for me. On another hand in hindsight because it is soft I shouldn't be afraid to press the tail more agressively (there is no danger if the nose hits you if you overdo this) - but I guess after being hit in the past few times by real board it would be difficult to overcome this fear.

Oh, I should tell, in the beginning 2 years ago it was a bit of a bouncy feel when standing on it, but it is gone long time ago, after just few sessions.

One obvious suggestion to ULI: please make 9' or better yet even shorter board! just cut one or two feet in front, add couple inches of width. In my 4 years of surfing not once did I fall because the board was too short. All my falls are to the side. Also long boards are so slow to turn and impossible for late drops, those pointy noses like to pearl. Once again, it is generic comment about longer boards, not specific to ULI.

Otherwise it is beautiful board, and it was a real hero on the beach - I was asked about 50 questions about it in this week.

To summarize it, it is great travel board, you may loose just a very tiny bit in performance, that you can easily compensate by adjusting your technique, and it is unbeatable for travel - flying, carrying to the beach, carrying it in the hotel, stairs without worries for damage to the board, furnuture and walls, avoiding renting hassles and saving a lot of dow in the process.

Thank you Jim!

Technique / paddle on the right... and turn right!
« on: August 15, 2010, 07:20:41 PM »
I finally did it. Full circle, 360 degrees.

As usual, vertical paddle, reach out, etc.

What was different (and I was on ULI Lopez 10 ft 29 inches, 3 fins, in absolutely flat water), I stepped a bit back and buried my right rail all the way, with my left foot on opposite rail, way in the air (the feeling is that a bit more and I put my board on the rail). And thats all - 100 or so strokes on one side and I came more or less back.

And then I did it on the other side (a bit less efficient though, i am not completely symmetrical, i guess).

I then played with less rail, and I can go straight unlimited number of strokes. Simple and amazing. Have no idea if it will work with another board.

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