Author Topic: Need downwinding advice  (Read 942 times)

nalu-sup

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Need downwinding advice
« on: September 05, 2019, 08:53:49 PM »
I did not get nearly as many downwind runs in this summer as I had hoped, due to work, and also too many great south swell days. However, skills are still slowly improving, with good success at catching bumps, and getting better at making connections for long glides. My main problem is too many unnecessary falls.
I am riding an F16. I seldom fall even in high wind and rough seas when not on a glide. The two things that knock me down during a great glide are: 1. Having the nose or mid-section get hit from the side by a cross-roller, that suddenly veers the board off course, which throws me off in the opposite direction from the turn. 2. During a fast glide, having the downwind rail up near the front catch, causing the board to suddenly veer off course. Since I spend a lot of time SUP surfing, my bracing skills are pretty decent. If the fall happens to be towards the side that the paddle is already on, I have a good chance of saving it. If I need to try and reach the paddle around behind me to brace, odds are not so good.
I would love to finally get in some runs without falling, so I would welcome any advice. My current strategies are to anticipate the most likely side that the cross swells might hit me from, and have the paddle on that side ready to brace, and 2. When on a particularly fast glide, step back further on the tail to try to get those forward rails out of the water so that they do not catch and make the board suddenly veer.
Thanks for any help.
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Luc Benac

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2019, 09:24:45 PM »
Or you could get a board with a "round" nose like the Naish Maliko and improve your chances considerably.
I downwind in washing machine, short period, cross everything conditions and I have found boards like the Maliko or the Bark Vapor a lot nicer than the Maui boards.
DW time is too short to miss-out :-)
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PonoBill

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2019, 10:14:59 PM »
I've found that conditions don't make me fall, what's going on in my head makes me fall. If you think you're going to fall, you will. If you're locked in and going hard with confidence, you won't. If I'm looking ahead, reading the water, anticipating what I'm going to be doing and keeping my focus out in front then I don't fall. If I drop into a deep swell and start looking at the face that I don't want to punch into, I'm going to punch into it, and likely fall.

The major exception is getting your stroke screwed up. Pay attention to which side you're falling on. If it's always the same side, then your stroke might be sabotaging you. In which case a little coaching will help a lot.

The F16's are one of the most forgiving boards ever made for downwind. But you have to move around on them a bit more than on some other boards. It helps a lot to move your feet a little closer to the center. Locking your steering foot to the outside edge so you can work the tiller easily will shift the weight of both feet to the rails and make the board bounce around when chop hits it. Letting the board respond to the surface instead of trying to brace against it make your balance better and makes the ride less tiring. If you catch yourself in a wide stance, move the heel of your tiller foot in towards the center and shift the non-steering foot in as well.

I'm more likely to have a no-fall run on a crazy day on my 12'2 X 25" hollow Ku Nalu than on my 17.5" X 27" Bullet V2. The Big fat Bullet is much more stable, but the Ku Nalu requires my full attention just to stand on it, so I never wander off and start picking daisies mentally. Total focus.
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Area 10

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 11:13:22 PM »
What are your DW conditions like?

I downwind in extremely rippy and confused, steep short period swell. Ruddered boards do not work well in these conditions because you need to be on the tail so much that you cannot use the rudder to steer, and the rudder is insufficiently secure, not the right shape, to control a big board from the tail.

I had a ruddered Naish 17ft, and it was murder to DW in my local conditions. I was getting bucked off all the time, and the board would round up and broach, and the nose would get pushed this way and that. So I fitted a fixed fin finbox, started using a fin with some rake (a 10” FCS Fat Boy) and the board was then lovely to use and I rarely fell.

So on both my 16ft custom DW boards I have a fixed fin setup (actually, I use a 2+1 setup, but with the sidebites having no toe-in). Everyone remarks on how easy they are to use and control, and how stable they feel.

Just a thought. I’m not sure that designs created for Maui waters necessarily translate to other waters. The Maliko was created more with the kind of conditions in kind that DavidJohn (DJ) in Melbourne paddles. I have has the pleasure of paddling with him, and his water conditions are more similar to mine than Maui.

The SIC Bullet V1 14ft works well here though. Better than the V2 14ft, actually. The Bark Vapor also works well. So does the Hypr Nalu Hawaii Gun 12-6, although you need very nimble feet for that. Coreban Dart is good too. JL M14 good. The SIC RS does not really work at all well for downwinding here, once the swell is bigger than ripples. These are not minor differences between boards - on one board you can have a really great time, catching glides like crazy and never falling, and on another you can go nowhere and are falling like a clown every 5 mins, with your legs totally shot within an hour.

But my advice would first to try a fixed fin in your F16, if you haven’t already, and if your seas don’t look like they do in the Maui videos. Then you can ditch the rudder mech to give yourself a clear deck to work with. A lot of the symptoms you are describing might be due to inadequate or inconsistent fin control in messy seas. Be prepared to move your feet a lot, constantly changing from front foot just behind the handle, or even in front of the handle if the bumps are small, to having your back foot almost on the leash plug. The footwork is a large part of the fun, and if you are a longboarder it can help a lot.

burchas

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 08:47:01 AM »
As Bill said, the F16 is a very forgiving shape, DW or otherwise, up until now it's my favorite shape in Maui.
That said, I'm familiar with the issues you brought up and these are exactly the reasons I found my self in the water
during a run from time to time.

My take on it, it's easier to change board than to change habits. That's why I made my board with different rails that don't catch
and a lot less volume to make sure getting hit from the side (wind or chop) will go unfazed. It worked great for me.

Maybe you can find a shape that will do that for you. The Bill Foote Maliko (V3 maybe even V1) looked like a great shape if you could find one.
I would love scoring one of those on my next visit to Maui
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PonoBill

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2019, 03:21:00 PM »
Foote Malikos are rare as hen's teeth, though you could get Bill to shape one and Nelson to glass it (or more correctly, carbon it. Then you could get the dimensions you want. I wish I still had mine.
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nalu-sup

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 10:42:43 PM »
Thanks all. Some great points that make a lot of sense:
Pono- Good points. The frustrating part is that the falls I am dealing with are happening when I am fully confident and charging. Catching bumps, the board is flying at top speed, and then wham. I am certainly the least stable when I not paddling hard enough to keep the board planing, but I can usually brace through those lazy, or lack of wind, moments. It is the full speed, having a blast surprises that get me. I will pay a lot more attention to the angle of my tiller foot, and see if using that to narrow up the stance will help. Someone suggested that I stay in a more side-by-side stance, and that did not work nearly as well for me as staying in more of a surf stance.
Area 10- I had to laugh when you mentioned conditions that are not like the Maui videos, because that is where I live. Kihei is where I do 99% of my runs. It is pretty predictable with dominant larger bumps coming from the right, and smaller tighter bumps coming at almost 90 degrees from the left. What usually gets me is when I am going left on one of the bigger bumps, and then the left rail gets hit by one of the smaller bumps coming from the left. I think that you are right about the rudder being much of the problem when flying at full speed. I will sometimes surf the F16 in small clean reef break waves. I have found that when the board is trimming fast along a wall much over knee-high, it feels like the rudder starts forcing the board up and out over the back of the wave. I can fight it, but it really feels like the fast water flow is forcing the rudder out of alignment.
Despite that, the rudder has too many important pluses for me at this point to let it go. I love using it to make sharp cuts left or right to switch from riding one direction to the other. I once got caught being pushed up onto a rocky point without a rudder to steer against a crosswind, and that bad memory is pretty well embedded. Also, a run that we do a lot, if we are short on time, is half a Kihei run, and then a turn in towards our home, which means a quarter to half a mile of paddling straight across a 25+ mph sidewind. With the rudder constantly turned against the wind, this is pretty easy. Without the rudder, I have no confidence that I could nail my land target from that far offshore in a 90 degree crosswind.
Burchas- I must admit that I was really intrigued by your custom board with its thinner rails. It went against my previous concepts of what would be fast and stable, but it sure seemed to work great for you in the video, and I can see the thinner rails with maybe some bevel in the front third solving many of my problems. The trouble with a Foote or other option is my addiction to the rudder, which it sounds like may also be the source of some of my high-speed crashes.
Thanks for all the great insights, and I continue to welcome them.

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8'8" Blue Planet 'All Good' 120 L
8'10" Sunova Speeed 130 L
9'0" Tabou SupaSurf  145 L
16' S.I.C. F16 downwinder 323 L

tarquin

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 11:04:54 PM »
Am I missing something. Cant see the vid of Burchas.
 Great info. I am starting to downwind. The 2 big things I found made a difference was letting the board get pushed around a bit rather than fighting it and being able to look around more and anticipate things.

Area 10

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2019, 03:45:30 AM »
Nalu-sup - Fair enough, if you live in Maui then what is the right board for you is  well-established. Where I paddle, a rudder is no good for paddling against wind and swell. All it does is create drag. To paddle side-on to the wind you have to stand far forward of the handle (ie. away from the tiller), and preferably have a low volume board: my 16ft custom DW boards are only 4.5” thick. This compares with the typical thicknesses of Hawaii-grown DW boards of 6-7” thick. It’s a massive difference. And if you paddle in shallow, confused waters with strong winds, it it a HUGE relief when you step on a low volume board. My DW conditions sometimes look more like white water SUPing than what you guys get, and there is an awful price to pay for fat thick rails in those kind of conditions. You want no more volume than you need to catch the bumps. Anything else is just a handicap.

Having said this about “Hawaii designs”, I’ve got a 14ft Hypr Nalu Hawaii gun on order. It’s a new design for them, and they are based on the Big Island. I have been downwinding their 12-6 gun recently and it works surprisingly well here. The designs are unique in that they combine (a) low volume, thin rails; (b) low rocker for a surf shape; (c) their patented concaves and bottom contours (yes, apparently they actually have a patent for the design). So I’m hopeful that the 14ft version will downwind even better. It will be interesting to find out. The 12-6 catches bumps freakily well given how wide it is (29”) and how heavy it is: I have a tropical hardwood board that is very strong and stiff but feels like it weighs something around maybe 28lbs or so. The 14ft I’m getting is going to be, I think, 26” wide and I’m getting a double-carbon full PVC sandwich which I hope might be a little lighter.

The Hypr boards are crazy stable for their width, and cope well with any kind of crappy sea conditions. I’m hoping that the 14 sells well, and so they then make a 16ft... anyway, my point is that not all Hawaii designs are the same, and some do actually seem to work very well where I paddle :) And you don’t need a rudder with them.

burchas

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2019, 09:38:50 AM »
The trouble with a Foote or other option is my addiction to the rudder, which it sounds like may also be the source of some of my high-speed crashes.
Thanks for all the great insights, and I continue to welcome them.

Yes I understand your stand on the rudder, We just had too many issues with rudders in our conditions. All SIC boards I've ridden here had the rudder Jammed at one point, usually on 30+knots winds, F.A.S.T and A.S.S both. In most cases you're just having a bad day but we do go out on really strong winds and if that happens, it could pose a real danger.

My board design came about addressing all the issues I encounter during runs namely riding in 30+ crosswind with heavy side swell/chop having the confidence I could get safely to my destination but also to be able to take advantage and maximize fun on a days when I would just be fighting conditions with other boards. That day on the video was one of those days, I think you could tell I'm having a good day, better than my friends the the SIC boards. BTW, my experience shows that with no rudder I tend to focus more on surfing which is my real joy in downwinding :)

Am I missing something. Cant see the vid of Burchas.
 Great info. I am starting to downwind. The 2 big things I found made a difference was letting the board get pushed around a bit rather than fighting it and being able to look around more and anticipate things.

No. The video is from another thread:

« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 10:07:15 AM by burchas »
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PonoBill

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2019, 02:31:16 PM »
Open ocean downwinding, especially the South Side Maui variety that likes to push you offshore and send you to Tahiti, has a much lower pucker factor with a rudder.
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burchas

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2019, 03:26:31 PM »
Open ocean downwinding, especially the South Side Maui variety that likes to push you offshore and send you to Tahiti, has a much lower pucker factor with a rudder.

We have those too only we end up in Europe if not careful. Either way, we'll be freezing our a$$es :D
- M15 15x27x4.5 https://bit.ly/2WmuEpt
- Ocean Ripple 16x25 @ 251L
- SIC Standamaran (S-16) - https://goo.gl/7myGAo
- Wide Tail 10x31x4 @ 149L
- SIC FX 12.6 2X - https://goo.gl/GOkSHT
- Red 2017 Elite 14x25
- ZRE Lightning 75
- Kenalu Mana 82
- Kialoa Hulu 87
- QuickBlade Trifecta 86

Luc Benac

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2019, 03:33:47 PM »
I dig Bruchas' design and also Supuk/Area10, and teh soon to come 14' gun Hypr.
After going lower volume, I fin it difficult to go back to thick high volume boards.

If we had stringer wind (30knots)  more often, I would also be tempted by this:


Curious to try this on messy side chop.
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Area 10

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Re: Need downwinding advice
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2019, 04:13:55 PM »
Open ocean downwinding, especially the South Side Maui variety that likes to push you offshore and send you to Tahiti, has a much lower pucker factor with a rudder.
They’d be an even lower pucker factor if you were in a board that could cope with offshore winds without the need for a rudder. I suspect you’ve just never tried one. Which is not surprising because they are very rare at the moment - it would pretty much have to be a custom. But I suspect that they won’t be rare in the coming years. They give all the advantages of unlimited boards but without the disadvantages of the typical thick floaty ruddered mega-litre boat.

And rudders are indeed very unreliable, as Burchas says: The water is too cold and the wind too strong here to be taking any chances, especially with something that adds weight, doesn’t work at all well in our conditions, limits your movement around the deck, makes board stacking difficult, and reduces the surfability of the board.

So try to suspend your disbelief until you’ve tried a really low volume DW board, especially an UL, with the correct design fixed fin in a finbox positioned for the board’s design, in short-period steep conditions. You’ll wonder why you ever bothered with the palaver of a rudder and huge floaty boats, and you’ll rediscover the joy of footwork.

 


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