Author Topic: Tracking Tips  (Read 3583 times)

safetyboy

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Tracking Tips
« on: August 28, 2017, 12:06:18 PM »
Let's hear your best tips for paddling straight (assuming it's a flatwater race).

How many paddles-per-side should I shoot for before switching?  I know it depends a lot on board size - I have an 11'6"x30".

Fin Placement: Is farthest back always the best?  Or does it vary depending on the board and rider?  Do I need to experiment?

Paddling technique - I've heard it possible to basically paddle on one side indefinitely with the right paddle stroke, but I've never managed it.. can you really go "out to in" and still get good overall speed?

Any other secret tips?

- Thanks, Kevin

connector14

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 12:35:23 PM »
I veer off to the left when I am paddling on the port side,  so I have attached a small trim tab on my fin that helps steer the board a bit to the left to counteract my tendencies. I know, I know.....I should be fixing my stroke instead of correcting via a mechanical "fix".  But it works for me and my 14ft. boards.....and I do not race so I guess I am not "illegal"! :).........
"never leave the dock without your paddle"
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2014 Bark Dominator 14....smooth and quiet
2014 Imagine Connector 14...the "barge"

PonoBill

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 12:56:56 PM »
you wouldn't be illegal anyway, the only thing you can't do to your fins is add a lifting foil to them or make then act as a steerable rudder, and you can do that if you call it an unlimited.

I can paddle a very long way without switching sides, but if you're getting a good catch and paddling hard, ten or so strokes per side is about optimal. Technique is everything for this. If you bury your blade to the ferrule or beyond before you start pulling, have your shaft as close to vertical as you can get it, and keep your shaft close to the rail, the amount of turning torque will be minimal and can be countered with just a tiny bit of foot pressure.

It's easiest to see what you need to do by doing it totally wrong. Stick your blade halfway into the water and pull immediately--you'll have air behind your blade so the flow on the blade is turbulent. You can't pull it close to the board because of the blade. If your shaft isn't vertical the blade is angled out, making the board turn. In fact that's HOW you do a gradual turn.

Fin placement is board-related. If you can manage it, a small fin pushed forward should give you good general performance. Fins are draggy, the better your technique is, the less fin you need.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 01:01:59 PM by PonoBill »
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

Quickbeam

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 01:35:12 PM »
you wouldn't be illegal anyway, the only thing you can't do to your fins is add a lifting foil to them or make then act as a steerable rudder, and you can do that if you call it an unlimited.

I can paddle a very long way without switching sides, but if you're getting a good catch and paddling hard, ten or so strokes per side is about optimal. Technique is everything for this. If you bury your blade to the ferrule or beyond before you start pulling, have your shaft as close to vertical as you can get it, and keep your shaft close to the rail, the amount of turning torque will be minimal and can be countered with just a tiny bit of foot pressure.

It's easiest to see what you need to do by doing it totally wrong. Stick your blade halfway into the water and pull immediately--you'll have air behind your blade so the flow on the blade is turbulent. You can't pull it close to the board because of the blade. If your shaft isn't vertical the blade is angled out, making the board turn. In fact that's HOW you do a gradual turn.

Fin placement is board-related. If you can manage it, a small fin pushed forward should give you good general performance. Fins are draggy, the better your technique is, the less fin you need.


Agree with everything PonoBill said. And while he alluded to it, another way to help you is to “foot steer”, or weight one side of your board to help keep you going straight. Some boards are easier than others to do this on. With my Whiplash, it is very sensitive to weight on either side of the board and will either turn, or compensate to avoid turning, accordingly.
ONE SUP Edge Pro 12' 6" x 22"
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 24”
Infinity Whiplash 12' 6" x 24 1/2"
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 26”
Bark Competitor 12’ 6” x 29”
Red Paddle Explorer (Inflatable) 13' 2" x 30
Red Paddle Race (Inflatable) 12’ 6” x 30”

ZRE Power Surge ZX4, Kevlar braided shaft (75”)

safetyboy

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 02:02:42 PM »
another way to help you is to “foot steer”, or weight one side of your board to help keep you going straight. Some boards are easier than others to do this on. With my Whiplash, it is very sensitive to weight on either side of the board and will either turn, or compensate to avoid turning, accordingly.

Which way do I lean?  If I want to keep from turning to the left while paddling on the right, do I lean to the right, or to the left??  How much?  I can pretty much bury the right rail if I want to...

- Thanks, Kevin

connector14

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 02:41:17 PM »
I am going to try and pay more attention to this "foot steering" concept. I think I am going to try and consciously
stand biased to one side (in my parallel stance) and see what difference it makes. Guess I should also try some of the other fins that I have that I haven't messed with yet.
 I would also think the rail shape or profile is also going to have alot to do with how effective foot steering will be.
I would guess that a more rounded rail board would be harder to foot steer as opposed to a board with a sharper edge. What say you Pono?
"never leave the dock without your paddle"
Imagine Rocket 14 ...my new favorite, smooth and fast and lite
2018 Red Paddle 14 x 27 Elite
2014 Bark Dominator 14....smooth and quiet
2014 Imagine Connector 14...the "barge"

PonoBill

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 03:15:18 PM »
The rail curve, tail and bottom design all influence how the board turns under foot pressure. It can actually go either way, depending on where you are standing. Some boards turn so easily on the rail that all you need to do is look in the direction you want to go. the little changes your body makes will make the board turn. Some boards require so much steering effort that you feel like a passenger. Standard surfboard shapes with lots of curve in the rail, flattish bottoms and pin or somewhat narrowed tails will turn towards the rail you push down on. More rounded bottoms, straight rails, and squared tails might turn away from foot pressure. Almost any board will turn towards the foot pressure if you move back. You have to play with your board to see which way it's going to turn when you push down on the rail, how much you need to do it, and where your feet need to be. .
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

Quickbeam

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 03:19:46 PM »
another way to help you is to “foot steer”, or weight one side of your board to help keep you going straight. Some boards are easier than others to do this on. With my Whiplash, it is very sensitive to weight on either side of the board and will either turn, or compensate to avoid turning, accordingly.

Which way do I lean?  If I want to keep from turning to the left while paddling on the right, do I lean to the right, or to the left??  How much?  I can pretty much bury the right rail if I want to...

- Thanks, Kevin

If you are paddling on your right side, weight the left side of your board. Weighting the left side of your board will make your board want to turn right. I should clarify that this is with single fin, race boards. Also works on the multi fin race board (Larry Allison fin set up).

I've been told that multi fin surf boards are the opposite but have never been on one to verify this.


O.K., didn't see Pono's reply before I posted. I was only going on my own experience, so I'd go with his explanation. And probably the most important thing in his explanation is to try it out on your own board and see how it works. To give a quick example, I don't get much rail steer out of my Lahui Kai, but with my Whiplash, it is very sensitive to weighting the rail. Good luck with your experimenting!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 03:23:19 PM by Quickbeam »
ONE SUP Edge Pro 12' 6" x 22"
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 24”
Infinity Whiplash 12' 6" x 24 1/2"
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 26”
Bark Competitor 12’ 6” x 29”
Red Paddle Explorer (Inflatable) 13' 2" x 30
Red Paddle Race (Inflatable) 12’ 6” x 30”

ZRE Power Surge ZX4, Kevlar braided shaft (75”)

connector14

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2017, 03:59:10 PM »
Great week here on the Canal for paddling. I've been out every morning and look forward to my next outing so I can practice and experiment. I'll be on my 14 Connector with my modified fin,  but if my wife doesn't go with me, I switch to her fin which has not been modified with the trim tab.
When downwinding the trim tab works a little too good as the increased board speed then causes the tab to steer the board to the right too quickly.
"never leave the dock without your paddle"
Imagine Rocket 14 ...my new favorite, smooth and fast and lite
2018 Red Paddle 14 x 27 Elite
2014 Bark Dominator 14....smooth and quiet
2014 Imagine Connector 14...the "barge"

safetyboy

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2017, 04:05:33 PM »
You have to play with your board to see which way it's going to turn when you push down on the rail, how much you need to do it, and where your feet need to be. .

I experimented with it today... on my pointy-nose board, it is definitely lean right, turn left.  This will definitely take some practice, since I'll have to try hard to paddle with good technique on the left, while I apply foot pressure to the right...

- Thanks, Kevin

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2017, 05:04:24 PM »
This post and video has some tips on making the board go straight:

https://blueplanetsurf.com/news/sup-tips-paddling-in-a-straight-line/
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

robcasey

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 04:53:38 PM »
-Vertical shaft from your catch to exit.  This is a biggy. Bugs me in races when I can't draft a paddler when they're zig zagging around. 99% of the time their shaft isn't vertical for the forward stroke.

-Place blade a few inches from the nose, following a straight line to your feet. Get on sand or grass and standing on your board drag a line with your paddle parallel nose to feet. Placing the blade at your nose then curving around turns it, essentially is a sweep turn, every stroke.

-fin back but can vary.  Learn to paddle first then get the big funky race fin to solve other issues. 

Back in the day, before knowing the above info, i pushed and held down the rail of my laird 12-1 then adjusted my board position (trim) to find a sweet spot. When i found it, i could paddle on one side. Glad i found another option. 
Rob Casey
Salmon Bay Paddle
PSUPA
Seattle

connector14

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Re: Tracking Tips
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2018, 12:46:49 PM »
http://distressedmullet.com/2018/01/14/improve-reach-rotation-coach-seychelle/?mc_cid=02251736b7&mc_eid=6656e4bb93

I am going this to see if it can help me loosen up and get my paddle more vertical. I think that is why I go so "left" when I am on my "right"  ::)
"never leave the dock without your paddle"
Imagine Rocket 14 ...my new favorite, smooth and fast and lite
2018 Red Paddle 14 x 27 Elite
2014 Bark Dominator 14....smooth and quiet
2014 Imagine Connector 14...the "barge"