Author Topic: Lessons Learned the Hard Way  (Read 125644 times)

OkiWild

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Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« on: September 07, 2019, 07:05:45 PM »
When the waves start getting hollow, you just can't paddle in on your knees...

That's right, I've been dogging it. When the wind is up and off shore, it's hard to paddle in. When the chop is up, it's hard to stand. When the size is up, the water is surging hard on the reef, and it's hard to stand. So when it's tough, I take to the knees, and pop up like a prone surfer. As a former pronie, popping up is no problem, but in most cases, it's slower. The paddle is cumbersome, and with the larger, wider board, my feet never seem to hit the right place, so it takes a second to get stabilized. It's hard to control forward and rear weighting, so far enough back to land in the right spot for steep-drop control, the board is just too slow. Too far forward, and you pearl. The right spot for the knees is not the right spot for popping up. When it turns hollow, that second is a deal breaker.

Typhoon Lingling (TY13) on Friday and Saturday... Storm too close in, and the wind has been bad. Friday I found a spot that was about double overhead, but with a 25-gusting-40 side-off wind. Sets were moving so fast, just couldn't get into them with the wind and chop. Settled for junk on the shoulder, paddling in on the knees. Once the tide started dropping and it started bowling up, it was just beating after beating. Saturday (embedded video) swell turned NW, and more sheltered spots started breaking. Still a lot of current, chop, and surge. 10'-12' faces in the peak, but ledging out in the inside bowl. One of my favorite types of wave to surf, as you can catch it on an outside peak, and have the speed to make the inside before it turns inside-out. But not this day...LOL

Mostly beatings, but the final straw was taking off on the outside peak on a solid double. Popped to my feet, and in the moment it took to get my bearings, it doubled up way before I could safely get into it. I don't know how big the inside bowl was, but probably 10', as I remember being sideways in mid air, looking over at my completely vertical 8'10" board, and neither nose, nor tail were touching water. Hit, skipped, plowed, sucked up and over and right into the reef on my side. Helmet and impact vest did their work (right-rear quarter of the head and right Lat), but my hip hit hard, and I'm limping around now, struggling to stand after sitting...

While I was pinned on the bottom, I was already thinking that had I paddled into that wave standing, I could have turned out before the double, or even went over in a "controlled" crash, and got some penetration. As it was, I was mid-board, and had no tail control, so panicked, tried to turn left, and just fell forward over the ledge.

There are days when it's really frustrating trying to stay standing on the board, but I've made a "no more knees for paddling into a wave" commitment. Maybe that means just toughing it out, and getting better at it, or going to a slightly larger board for those days... There was another guy out there yesterday on a 10'+ SUP with some width, and he was just charging what I thought wasn't rideable on a board that size. I often see beginners struggling on way-too-small boards, and think "What's the point...get a bigger board and have more fun."  I'm going to have to re-think what I'm doing.

Footage not very good in the video, as It was more of an experimental run with the new helmet-cam set up. I was so frustrated, I just left it off most of the time. I did catch three bombs, all from a standing position, but none on camera...sadly. Oh well... Lot's more typhoons brewing up right now.

Shout out to Robert at Blue Planet for the awesome and bulletproof Ninja Warrior. Yesterday was a true test of the leash plugs, and what the board can take and not snap. Also Dakine leashes. I don't usually wear a helmet, but it works well with the mount. Hot, though... May have to think about the "kook hat." Thankful I had it on yesterday. Didn't hit my melon hard enough to be knocked out, but would have had serious abrasion.   





surfcowboy

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 07:32:43 PM »
Dude, stay safe. Those offshores get me too. Iíd start looking for a deep crouch stance like a downhill longboard skateboarder maybe. Get aerodynamic but still on your feet. And report back. Iím not sure Iíll ever ride something that big on a standup. My hat is off to you.

toolate

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 10:39:00 PM »
i find my smaller board much easier to control in the big stuff but admittedly if the wind is up it is hard to paddle into the bigger sets

supsean

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2019, 04:42:41 AM »
Funny, I have never even considered kneeling into a wave. There is somebody local who does this, but I can't even see doing it. I have to admit, onshore/side shores are really tough on a SUP. Since you will attempt a double overhead, you are definitely above my level of surfing--but I have got pretty good at standing in windy conditions.  Strangely enough, I have found paddle technique the key to good balance on the water. I watched this video for by Chase Kosterlitz, and it was huge in its effect on my balance.



Also, he has a great video on popping up on a shorter board. Guess what the key is, paddling!



and beyond that, another on the j-stroke if you want to paddle on one side and go straight.



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surfinJ

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2019, 05:02:52 AM »
You should not rush your progression. If you are still on your knees the board is too small or you just need more time.
And why did you think the other guys 10í+ board would not work?  The waves you were describing were in the plus double overhead size.  If you 8-10 is your only performance shape, you need a longer one.
A prone gun is in the lengths +-9í.  A standup gun will be longer. Or a longboard with a gunny tail.
I forgot how big of a guy you are but donít be scared of board size when the waves come in XL size. Longer and more voluminous shapes give paddling mobility and stability.  For me it is getting into the big mothers easily and then making it some or all the way to the channel that make it work.

toolate

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2019, 01:59:32 PM »
Supsean: thanks for these vids! Excellent

supsean

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2019, 03:29:58 PM »
Supsean: thanks for these vids! Excellent

No problem.
For me the first one made my stability and speed much better. Maybe
Twice as good. Still not going to try 20 knot  onshores or anything.
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lopezwill

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2019, 10:10:28 PM »


Great video and story.  Thanks for the post!

I'm with surfinj.  A longer (close to ten foot or over) "gun type sup" would be much more comfortable in those conditions.

Beautiful video of the reef and sup take offs.  Good job! 

OkiWild

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2019, 10:47:40 PM »
Funny, I have never even considered kneeling into a wave. There is somebody local who does this, but I can't even see doing it. I have to admit, onshore/side shores are really tough on a SUP. Since you will attempt a double overhead, you are definitely above my level of surfing--but I have got pretty good at standing in windy conditions.  Strangely enough, I have found paddle technique the key to good balance on the water. I watched this video for by Chase Kosterlitz, and it was huge in its effect on my balance.
and beyond that, another on the j-stroke if you want to paddle on one side and go straight.

I see "former surfers" doing it. It's a trap... What happens is we can surf the SUP well enough, but the paddling technique is lacking. I'm exactly two years deep now, and I remember last summer watching sets that I wouldn't think twice about prone paddling into, just go by while I sit in the channel, because I was too afraid to paddle into the bowl standing up. Too much water moving made it really spooky. So here we are at typhoon season #2 on SUP, and my paddle game is much, much better, but still not great on a performance SUP, so like others, I came up with a compromise to be able to get around the lack of technique.... 8'10"x29"x116L, and I'm 5'10" and 85kg. When on my 10'x32" board, you can't knock me off, but I didn't think it would work for the larger, more hollow surf, so I've been struggling with the gun...

To be clear, "double" is not Hawaiian scale, but rest-of-the-world-real scale. Like for someone like me, a 12' face, trough to crest is double. A 15' face would be double overhead. This is the outside of my comfort zone on reef.

Dude, stay safe. Those offshores get me too. Iíd start looking for a deep crouch stance like a downhill longboard skateboarder maybe. Get aerodynamic but still on your feet. And report back. Iím not sure Iíll ever ride something that big on a standup. My hat is off to you.

Roger that. I went out yesterday. It was only about head high, but the wind was off pretty hard again. I practiced paddling in a deep squat, and it was a game changer.

You should not rush your progression. If you are still on your knees the board is too small or you just need more time.
And why did you think the other guys 10í+ board would not work?  The waves you were describing were in the plus double overhead size.  If you 8-10 is your only performance shape, you need a longer one.
A prone gun is in the lengths +-9í.  A standup gun will be longer. Or a longboard with a gunny tail.
I forgot how big of a guy you are but donít be scared of board size when the waves come in XL size. Longer and more voluminous shapes give paddling mobility and stability.  For me it is getting into the big mothers easily and then making it some or all the way to the channel that make it work.

Rushing...that's the problem here. I'm two years on a SUP now, and want so badly to surf what I would surf when paddling in prone... I had a bad experience last year on a 10'x32" board in heavier surf, so I went to the shorter, narrower, much lower volume performance shape, and have been struggling with it in the chop. It surfs so good, that I just love the board, I'm just not comfortable on it in the rough. So yesterday I talked to the Japanese guy that was charging on the longer board, and it was a 10'x33" NSP. I've come to realize that the trouble with the longer board I had last year was mostly me not being used to anything longer than 6'10"...LOL. At 5'10" and 85kg, that's a comfortable board in the heaviest stuff I ride. I totally see what you're saying with those surfers riding 9'+ in massive surf. The "problem I was "seeing" was in the width.  Those guns are around 20" wide I believe, and I wrongly thought a 32" board wouldn't work.  I have my eye on two new boards this fall, one of which will be a 10'11" gun. For the choppy days a 9-something x 32"ish. Like I said above, the 10'x32" board I have, you can't knock me off of. Even tail turn it in rough conditions. I got sucked into the trap of wanting the board that goes once you're in the wave... Thanks for the input!

« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 10:59:17 PM by OkiWild »

supthecreek

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2019, 08:16:49 AM »
Hi Oki.... another interesting video and conversation. Thanks!

I can relate to the intimidating aspect of paddling into a bigger wave on a standup.... the perspective is totally different.
The first time I paddled into a sucking 5' beachbreak, I looked down from this new vantage point and went "HOLY S*&T" .... it looked like an insane drop off the ledge, into a gaping hole!
It wasn't a big wave at all.... but the difference really stunned me!

Surfers paddle in with their head at the lowest point on the wave....
SUPster paddle in with their head at the highest point above the wave. (fig 1)

Now I love that look... nothing like paddling into a nice set and seeing the whole wave laid out before you!

To your point on boards that would give you more confidence paddling into larger waves:
Ian Cairns, Sean Poynter and Daniel Hughes have designed their own SUP line called GenRation, working with Bert Berger over the past year.... taking time to get them right.

as Ian told me:
"We didn't design SUPs.... we designed surfboards that can be paddled into waves."

If you want to talk about a board to handle your waves like a surfboard.... get in touch with me, I'll tell you what I observed last week at the NY APP Pro!

Keep the vids and stoke coming!







nalu-sup

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 10:28:42 AM »
Hi Oki,
I just wanted to follow up on your comment about a 9' X 32"ish board for larger waves and windy chop.
This is my own current solution for changing conditions (I am about your weight, but 68 yrs old, two artificial hips, back surgery, post-concussion syndrome and a damaged eye from a surfing accident, so my balance is not as good as it once was):
Glassy: 8'7" X 30" Sunova Flow, or 8'10" by 29"
Small to moderate wind and chop: Blue Planet All Good 8"8" X 31". The fairly wide nose and thin profile (under 4") really help the stability. If I could only have one board, this would be it.
Really rough water with wind while going for larger waves (for where I surf, that is overhead to head and 1/2): Tabou 9' X 31.5". The Tabou has the wide point forward, with a fairly pulled in tail which is critical to making that wide a board work in good-sized hollow surf. The only thing I would change about the Tabou would be to flatten and thin the deck to get my feet lower to the water and to get rid of excess volume that does not help stability. For what its worth, I have tried going to 32" wide for stability in big wind and chop, and it really did not work. The boards were just to bouncy in the chop. I would rather go longer than 9', rather than wider than 31.5". A board I am looking forward to trying for those conditions is the Sunvova Flash at 9'1" X 31.5" with 10 less liters than the Tabou.
8'7" Sunova Flow  121 L
8'8" Blue Planet 'All Good' 120 L
9'0" Tabou SupaSurf  145 L
16' S.I.C. F16 downwinder 323 L

supsean

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2019, 12:50:08 PM »
Hi Oki.... another interesting video and conversation. Thanks!

I can relate to the intimidating aspect of paddling into a bigger wave on a standup.... the perspective is totally different.
The first time I paddled into a sucking 5' beachbreak, I looked down from this new vantage point and went "HOLY S*&T" .... it looked like an insane drop off the ledge, into a gaping hole!
It wasn't a big wave at all.... but the difference really stunned me!

Surfers paddle in with their head at the lowest point on the wave....
SUPster paddle in with their head at the highest point above the wave. (fig 1)

Now I love that look... nothing like paddling into a nice set and seeing the whole wave laid out before you!


Once again a perfectly timed observation Rick. I was out in some pretty big (for me) post hurricane swell, it was also getting quite windy, and some of the overhead outside waves just scared me off. It was also high tide and there were a lot of close-outs. A fellow paddle boarder, who was on a wave storm prone board for this swell and was killing it, gave me some encouragement, and I went for it. But still being so far up and seeing that beach break wave below, is quite scary.



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supsean

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 02:11:42 PM »
oh and I loved the minimalist technical drawings.
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OkiWild

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 07:35:48 PM »
Hi Oki,
I just wanted to follow up on your comment about a 9' X 32"ish board for larger waves and windy chop.
This is my own current solution for changing conditions (I am about your weight, but 68 yrs old, two artificial hips, back surgery, post-concussion syndrome and a damaged eye from a surfing accident, so my balance is not as good as it once was):
Glassy: 8'7" X 30" Sunova Flow, or 8'10" by 29"
Small to moderate wind and chop: Blue Planet All Good 8"8" X 31". The fairly wide nose and thin profile (under 4") really help the stability. If I could only have one board, this would be it.
Really rough water with wind while going for larger waves (for where I surf, that is overhead to head and 1/2): Tabou 9' X 31.5". The Tabou has the wide point forward, with a fairly pulled in tail which is critical to making that wide a board work in good-sized hollow surf. The only thing I would change about the Tabou would be to flatten and thin the deck to get my feet lower to the water and to get rid of excess volume that does not help stability. For what its worth, I have tried going to 32" wide for stability in big wind and chop, and it really did not work. The boards were just to bouncy in the chop. I would rather go longer than 9', rather than wider than 31.5". A board I am looking forward to trying for those conditions is the Sunvova Flash at 9'1" X 31.5" with 10 less liters than the Tabou.

Thanks for that, Nalu.
Funny, as my normal surf buddy and I were just discussing this matter. In the short board world, wave size dictated board size, and I don't remember ever considering surface conditions... Yet another thing I see where SUP is quite different, in that the surface conditions may be the dominant factor for board choice.

Yesterday I went to a spot by the house that's pretty bowly and surgy. It was a little overhead in the peak, shoulder down the line, 8-10kts on-shore so mixed up and some chop. I took a 10'x32"x3.5" thick  cruiser. While not the best board on the wave, other than the occasional wipe out, in two hours, I never fell off the board while paddling it, never had to sit down while waiting. So while there was less performance while riding the wave, I had a much, much better time.   

Buying two boards this fall, and I'm now looking at the All Good or Sweet Spot for one of them.   

Beasho

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Re: Lessons Learned the Hard Way
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2019, 06:34:27 AM »
Oki:

I see you are relatively new here on the Zone. 

I took up SUP 10 years ago from a 10 year background in Surfing and 15 year background windsurfing.  My objective was to catch big waves.

And to catch more waves but in Half Moon Bay, CA in the winter they get big.  I learned from Haley Fiske and Jeff Clark that

THERE IS NO BETTER MACHINE FOR CATCHING BIG WAVES UNDER YOUR OWN POWER THAN A SUP

Haley will claim he, and a few select Hawaiians, converted the prone guys to longer boards.  They were all trying to paddle in on 8'6 and 9' boards into huge waves.  Then tow-in came along and he was out catching 50 footers ALONE at Mavericks on a SUP.  No prone guys.

Take off early and wide.  And find your wave, your outer break that holds size. 

Board for regular 10' to 18' faces should be 10' to 10'6 X 28"

Board for regular 15' up to 40' should be 12' X 28"
- PSH 12' Gun (Shown) or Jimmy Lewis 12' Bombora are good options.

I never went wider than 28" on my quiver for big waves. 

Here is a fun video showing some size, looks slow but its not.

« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 06:36:25 AM by Beasho »