Author Topic: Dynamics of catching a wave  (Read 1248 times)

SUPdad

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Dynamics of catching a wave
« on: May 15, 2019, 12:00:00 AM »
Can anyone explain the dynamics of catching a wave on a foil?  I understand completely how and why an airplane flies but some of that correlates to how a foil works and other things donít.

My first thought/confusion is when paddling for a wave, youíre generating flow over the wing. But as the wave approaches, water is moving from back to front, i.e. tailwind. That would reduce lift. But then as you move down the face, speed increases again and then more lift.

The reason for all this over analyzing is Iím struggling with getting on the foil. Iím on a board thatís a little small for me. Iíve been trying to catch small waves just as they are about to break. Sometimes, I just keep the board on the water until the wave quickly dies out but other times if I lean back a little, the foil will pop up and Iím unable to push it back down...it just seems to keep going up and I fall off the back. I donít think Iím standing too far back on the board, itís actually the opposite as the board is so short, if I have my back foot on the mast, Iíll usually lose my balance and fall.

Any thoughts or advice? 

Badger

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 03:02:57 AM »
I don't know much about foils but I do know that the water in the wave is not moving forward like a tailwind as you think. The water in the wave stays in place as the motion/force of the wave moves through the water.
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Dwight (DW)

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 03:51:23 AM »
You donít lean back to foil up. You unweight the front foot, then re-weight. Maybe your foil is too small.

SUPdad

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 09:28:51 AM »
Badger, Iím sure youíre correct. Maybe itís better to envision the water rising and falling?  Iíve also seen waves depicted as a rolling body of water...not easy to describe what I recall.

Thanks, Dwight.  Thatís probably a bad habit learned from a jet ski lesson. It was a big board and I had my front foot where I was told to place it, but then had to stretch to move my back foot rearward. Then I had to, or at least it felt like I had to, lean back against the pull of the rope to get the foil up.  I have an Armstrong 1600 wing and have it in the middle of the boxes. The board is 6í0Ē x 28Ē, maybe 5Ē thick, volume is unknown. Should I move it forward or backwards?  Or just leave it alone and try to figure it out?

Dwight (DW)

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 09:45:45 AM »
Badger, Iím sure youíre correct. Maybe itís better to envision the water rising and falling?  Iíve also seen waves depicted as a rolling body of water...not easy to describe what I recall.

Thanks, Dwight.  Thatís probably a bad habit learned from a jet ski lesson. It was a big board and I had my front foot where I was told to place it, but then had to stretch to move my back foot rearward. Then I had to, or at least it felt like I had to, lean back against the pull of the rope to get the foil up.  I have an Armstrong 1600 wing and have it in the middle of the boxes. The board is 6í0Ē x 28Ē, maybe 5Ē thick, volume is unknown. Should I move it forward or backwards?  Or just leave it alone and try to figure it out?

Yeah, getting towed doesnít feel like real foiling. You have to drop the rope to really learn the true sensations of foiling.

You can try moving the mast forward. Just be aware that going too far forward affects the board stability paddling and tracking. So if the board starts to feel like youíre paddling on top of a Pogo stick, move it back until it feels manageable.

exiled

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 09:57:18 AM »
You really do want to get that rear foot over the mast to start out. Mark out the area where your front foot should be if you aren't using a foot strap. I used an extra piece of deck pad to make a bump I could find with my foot quickly. Getting your foot placement right was the first key for me.

Second was watching Sam Pae'e on the Blue Planet Videos, especially the part about squaring your shoulders and unweighting the board by moving your upper body forward and back.

Third was somebody explaining that pumping a foil was like an ollie on a skateboard. That helped me model the feeling of popping up in my head, but if you've never skated it might not help.

Fourth: Going out on days that were big enough to catch but no bigger. Catch and go straight! I was getting super frustrated because I was trying to make a normal bottom turn and trying to pop up on my foil at the same time. Once you are up you will have plenty of speed to make the rest of the wave.

Fifth was getting a big wing. I wanted to foil on the days that everyone else thought were too small. This is harder when you are a big guy (100 kg+) but once I got a big wing (Gong XXL) foiling was very, very easy.

WindJunkie

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 11:40:15 AM »
Hard thing about learning on a 6 foot board is that it has basically no glide.  With my sub 6 foot board, I take off on a wave like Jeremy's downwind video.  Bigger board you can glide into a wave more like you're probably used to on a regular stand up.  Your choices with that small board is to take off on whitewash, take off just the right time where the wave peaks, or pump on to the wave. 

When I saw video's of myself learning, I saw that I was leaning forward while my weight was actually over the back foot so I would fly off the back like you're talking about.  Seems pretty common.  One of the blue planet video's Sam explains the three positions.  I used to practice shifting my weight forward on land.  If I'm taking off on something late my back knee is on the board.  Generally, my foot is in front of the mast on a late take off then scoot my foot back.  If you're not using a strap, you can use a tail pad to find the sweet spots by feel.  It will help a lot. 

Go foiling with someone who is already proficient.  So many good SUP foilers on oahu willing to laugh, I mean help. 

Lot to think about when you're learning to foil.  Totally normal what you're going through.  Keep paying your dues.

SUPdad

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 04:08:29 PM »
Thanks for all the tips, guys!  Just got back from the beach. It was a little bigger than I would have preferred and kind of windy. Managed to catch 2 waves, still unable to get up on the foil. First one, I popped up, breached, settled back down without pearling but then fell off. ;D Second wave was big and just about to break. I was in the right spot so just paddled for it. Made it about halfway down and the speed picked up a LOT!  Possibly a little off the water but I got spooked and somehow went off and over the front of the board. :o

Yeah, Windjunkie has it totally right...no glide. The place I like to surf, pretty much limits me to taking off right when the wave is gonna break. Maybe some whitewash once in a while. And also highly likely Iím leaning forward but off balance so the weight is towards the back.

Iím beginning to think I should get another board. I really like Dwightís boards and want to order one. Do you think a 6í4Ē will have any glide?  I might have an opportunity to buy something locally but if that doesnít work out, I can get a Jimmy Lewis board pretty quick. Thinking his 6í11Ē. Or just suffer and wait for a custom.

fatfish

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2019, 04:43:29 PM »
Hey Supdad

Just my POV with 7 months experience so take it for what it is worth.  My SUP is 7'9, I over sized my sup foil just so that I could focus on learning to foil as opposed to learning to catch a wave.  It has helped tremendously.  I was catching waves after a couple of sessions, learning to fly took a lot more sessions.  I am starting to feel comfortable on foil and am getting some long flights.  Even tho the board is a beast it doesnt hinder my ability to catch a wave, pump and fly.  Point being, even tho the board is a beast, it is extremely stable to learn on, easy to catch waves and get on foil.  It does feel big when I am cutting back and trying to pump into non breaking waves.  Other than that it has been great training wheels for me.

Dwight (DW)

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2019, 04:56:49 PM »
What wing are you using? A wing used by proners is too small.

Forget me, my lead times are too long this time of year. 

SUPdad

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2019, 05:47:03 PM »
Thanks, fatfish...I think you did it right!

Dwight, I have an Armstrong 1600 foil. Itís 1600 sq centimeters in wing area, 780mm span. It seems quite large.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 05:52:45 PM by SUPdad »

WindJunkie

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2019, 05:51:54 PM »
If you're floating on a 6 foot board the armstrong 1600 has plenty of lift.  I can't say whether the 6-4 has enough glide but will have more than a 6 foot board.  I rode the 6-11 for a while and I know it can glide onto waves.  If your foot position is not on center and you're not squared off you will fall off all over the place and likely get hurt.

SUPdad

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2019, 05:57:12 PM »
Cool, maybe I should pick up a Jimmy Lewis then. Whatís your  weight at?  I watched those Blue Planet videos and am not sure which one you mention. And I donít get what squared off means?  Sam says it a million times but I still donít get it.  ;D

JEG

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2019, 07:12:08 PM »
I would recommend getting longer board with more float/glade say somewhere around 7ft at least 10 to 15ltrs more than your usual sup surfboard. I think 6ft and under boards are more for intermediate and advanced foilers.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 07:21:56 PM by JEG »

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Re: Dynamics of catching a wave
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2019, 08:06:10 PM »
It's really not about the board, though you definitely want something you can stand on without paying too much attention to it. Little Fugly has kind of a sinker nose, so I needed to learn a different way to catch waves, and in the process I relearned that getting up consistently on a foil is body position and timing. End of story.

When you are starting out, the easiest way to get up is whitewater--the fresher the better. Find the spot where the waves are breaking consistently, move ten feet closer in. Stand with your front foot where it belongs, facing forward. Your back foot can be a reasonably close to the front foot is you like, but as soon as you get moving fast it needs to be on top of the mast. Push your hips forward, weight on your front leg, head up, knees bent, shoulder square across the board. Stroke hard, then brace to handle the turbulence of the whitewater. Once the whitewater catches you and you are moving out of the turbulence, lift your front foot and then plant it right back down. Don't lean back, don't change your position or your weighting, just lift the foot, then put it back down before you feel the board lift.

You'll be up and flying. To get higher just lift again and push down--wow, you're pumping. Your back foot stays on the mast, your hips are forward, you're centered across the board, head up, flying.

And now you can learn the ten thousand more things you need to know.

In the unlikely even there isn't any whitewater to make life easy, the way to catch a wave is to push forward as you paddle, as if you were trying to shove the nose under water. The foil won't let this happen. What's really going on is that the board and wing are more or less flat with respect to the wave, no matter how hard you think you are pushing the nose down. The wave is letting the water fall away from the board as you move forward. The more you can shove down and push the nose down into the wave, the quicker it will catch and lift you up.
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