Author Topic: Lighter is faster- real world test results  (Read 18373 times)

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 11:56:58 PM »
pdxmike, you are a funny guy and I'm looking forward to meeting you in person.

I uploaded two videos to youtube, they are the half mile downwind leg with 30lbs weights and without.  I'm planning to do the sprint test again tomorrow and will try to satisfy robon by testing if spreading the weights out over the deck makes a difference and will let the board run after I stop paddling to see how much longer the heavier weight will travel on momentum alone.
I could read the speed on the HD video replay off the camera but just realized that you can't make it out on the youtube replay, so I will try to mount the camera closer to the GPS and at a better angle.
Any other ideas or requests for things I should try?

Here is the video of the run without weights.  You really just need to watch the first 30 seconds or so of each video to see the difference:


Here is the video with weights:


Here is what I noticed watching the videos:
With the 30# extra weight it took me 7 seconds and 8 strokes to accelerate to 5 mph
Without the extra weight only 5 seconds and 6 strokes.
As my friend Scott pointed out, this can be the difference between getting into a bump vs. missing it in downwinders.
I also noticed that the weighted board has more of a wake and turbulence behind the tail and seemed to make more noise over the water.
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
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LaPerouseBay

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2010, 02:03:14 AM »
For me, I feel that this proves board weight is essentially irrelevant/ snip /  This is especially true for downwinders.../ snip / ...so as DJ has said, it's all about lifting the board on and off your car.

In my humble opinion, this is may be true for some, but certainly not in my neck of the woods.  I'm very fortunate to be in a place where there is a great market for used downwind boards.  It's very easy to sell a board and upgrade to a new SIC custom. 

My latest downwind board is identical to the previoius one, yet is 25% lighter.  The difference in performance is astonishing.

Ironically, I find it much more difficult to load on the truck.  The board is deceptively easy to handle until the wind gets it.  In an instant it's twisting or diving, nearly smashing into something.  A 21 foot canoe is easier to handle in the wind.  YMMV   
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Six Feet and Glassy

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2010, 09:30:43 AM »
I gotta agree with LaPerouseBay

I tried a 40 lb board and could not catch anything. Then jumped on a 24 lb board and could catch a lot.  I know....there are other factors besides weight. But the difference in performance and feeling is Ginormous!

And I think an important thing to remember is bigger folks will feel less of a difference with the same weight change because it represents a smaller percentage of their body weight.  30 lbs to a guy at 225 is 13% of his weight.  30 lbs to a guy 150 lbs is 20%. It's also an individual strength thing.

I tried a board recently that was obviously heavy (noticeable carrying it, and hard to accelerate) but could still catch bumps because, I figure, it's really narrow and has little rocker.  I'm probably going to have one made almost same shape, but as light as can be.  It's gonna FLY!   (Well...as fast as I can go...maybe not flying...maybe a really good trot) 
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PonoBill

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2010, 11:55:34 AM »
Its like all the guys big fat guys you see buying carbon fiber parts for their bike or race car to shave a few pounds when they could loose 100lbs themselves ironic LOL

Cool test though thanks for the info :)

Hey, I resemble that remark. Actually if you're a smart race car owner you spend money on making things light where they count. I can take five pounds off the unsprung weight of my car and make a huge difference. Ten pounds taken off up high, or at the ends makes a big difference. Ten pounds down low or near the center of rotation doesn't do much. My ass is down low and in the middle of the car, if I could take ten pounds off my head that might be good.

At the peak of the sport everyone is skinny and small. Power to weight.

Thanks for doing this test. Nice job.

I don't think it's very important to evenly distribute the weght. There isn't that much weight carried at the ends of board--narrow in width, thin in cross section, and relatively pointed. Most weight is near the balance point.
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1paddle2paddle

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2010, 01:39:27 PM »
Downwinders are a series of hard accelerations to catch the bumps, and easy strokes to maintain a bump once you are riding it.  Since the extra weight in Robert's tests was very noticeable in accelerating from a dead stop to full speed, its pretty easy to see how the extra weight makes a difference in downwind conditions.

pdxmike

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2010, 02:14:12 PM »
I love how this experiment is making all kinds of answers fall into place--why it's logical that board lightness is a big advantage for downwinders, why heavier racers are at a disadvantage, etc.

In regard to whether distributing the weights on the board makes a difference, to me logic says it should make little or no difference at all for going straight in flat water--as long as the weights are balanced in relationship to the balance point of the board.

This wouldn't be true if boards were flexible.  If they were, putting all 30 pounds in one spot would telegraph through to the bottom of the board.  But with a stiff board, the bottom of the board shouldn't know where the weights are at all, as long as their positions are balanced.  Think of a teeter-totter--you can make it level by putting a 30# weight in the middle, or one 15# weight at each end, or one 20# weight close in on one side, and one 10# weight further away at the other...

Where the location of the weights would matter could be in chop, or when turning, but even then if the weights were balanced relative to the board's balance point, I'm not sure it would even matter much then. 

What would matter would be how high above the bottom of the board the weights were.  The higher up, the tippier the board.  This wouldn't matter with a perfectly efficient paddler on perfectly flat water, and going perfectly straight, but in real life it would.  Imagine how tippy you would be with a 30# helmet vs. putting a 30# lead mat on the deck.  I guess that's basically the same thing PonoBill was saying about race cars--weight up high (away from the axis of rotation down at axle level in cars or through the board in boards) matters more, just like weight away from the axis of rotation in teeter-totters matters more.   


blueplanetsurf

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2010, 02:19:32 PM »
Sprint test take two:
This morning I re did the sprint tests with much better video results.
All you number crunching tech geeks like me will love this, you can watch the speed on the GPS and draw your own conclusions.
I will also publish my training log which I'm sure will incite some tech geek discussions.

Like PonoBill and pdxmike I did not think the weight distribution would matter for the speed test for the same reasons they mentioned and I don't think it did but I tried it anyways.
To my surprise, the board seemed to handle a little better.  I tried to figure out why and then it made sense- with the weight spread out over the length of the board it yaws less (I'm not sure I'm spelling it right) especially from a standstill.  
I know you could turn this into a science project as well but here is the simple explanation I came up with: When you are doing a flip off a diving board, you can speed up the rotation by pulling in your arms and legs closer to the center of rotation, while spreading out arms and legs- weight away from center of rotation- slows down the rotation.  Same thing on the SUP.  If all the weights are at the center, the board will yaw more easily (center of rotation is center of board), while spreading the weight away from the center of rotation makes it yaw less- makes sense, right?

Today my results were as follows:
400 ft sprints:
with 30 pounds extra:

Run 1: 48 sec
Run 2: 48 sec
Run 3: 48 sec
Run 4: 49 sec

So results were a little less conclusive as I was a second faster with the weights and a second slower without.  Still significant though.

Without extra weight:
Run 1: 46 sec
Run 2: 46 sec


Run without the weights: 46 sec. top speed: 6.7 mph


Run with the 30 lbs weight: 48 sec. top speed 6.4 mph
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
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http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

pdxmike

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2010, 02:24:43 PM »
Its like all the guys big fat guys you see buying carbon fiber parts for their bike or race car to shave a few pounds when they could loose 100lbs themselves ironic LOL
This exact issue came up in swimming a few years ago with the advent of the full-body tech racing suits.  You could cut your times by 5% or so by spending a few hundred dollars on a suit, or by losing a few pounds or training harder.  Most people decided they'd buy the suits, get the immediate benefit, then work on the other stuff.  Then the suits were banned and it all became irrelevant. 

The other way to look at it is like one of my biking friends does.  He bought a $$$ carbon bike a few years ago.  He figures if he'd lost weight then, he would have gained it back by now.  Any training effect from extra training back then is gone by now.  But he still has his carbon bike. 

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2010, 02:30:08 PM »
Downwinders are a series of hard accelerations to catch the bumps, and easy strokes to maintain a bump once you are riding it.  Since the extra weight in Robert's tests was very noticeable in accelerating from a dead stop to full speed, its pretty easy to see how the extra weight makes a difference in downwind conditions.
I think 1paddle2paddle and LaPerouseBay got it right.  The speed difference might seem very small in the controlled flat water test but in downwind racing it's all about catching and connecting bumps.  That slightly faster acceleration can be the difference between making and missing a bump, which can compound the effect.  If you race in downwinders you know that connecting one good bump train can put you 50 yards ahead (or behind if you miss it) of you competition, and it does not really matter if you are at the front or in the middle of the pack.

If you are not racing, or want a board to train on, save yourself a bundle and get a solid, less expensive board, but in racing, light weight is KEY
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
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pdxmike

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2010, 02:35:01 PM »
blueplanetsurf--your yaw comments sound like they make sense.

Thanks again for the experiment.  

One question--could it make sense to add weights for training (or use a heavier board) then race without them?  Or do you feel like the extra weight changes your stroke or balance--perhaps to the point that it would be disruptive to train with weight, then try to adjust to a light board for racing?

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2010, 02:46:41 PM »
I meant to post the training log.
Background:
Training for the Battle of the Paddle in 2009, I started writing down my times over set distances to see any improvement through training.  Later, I found these training runs to also be a great tool for comparing boards, different paddles, stroke technique, etc. and started to record everything.
I tested a bunch of different boards this way as you will see on the spreadsheet. 
There are too many variables in downwinders to get conclusive results- wind, current, tides, windswell, groundswell, etc. unless you paddle with a buddy that paddles the same speed as you do, which is the only effective comparison I found.
In flatwater conditions you eliminate most variables with the biggest variable being the wind, so I include the estimated wind speed on the log.
As the half mile course is into the wind, then back downwind, looking at the total time is more useful although the total time is usually faster in lighter wind or no wind.  I don't think any board comparison results are conclusive because of the variables but you can clearly see that at my weight of close to 200 lbs., 14 footers are clearly faster than 12'6 boards.  You might find some things confusing, let me know if you have any questions.
Weight test results are highlighted in yellow.
https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Au9qxAnW7ZMddEphZnVCb1U5M0I1ek1HVWl0QkpkUVE&hl=en
One disclaimer- just because a board is fast in flat water does not mean it will be fast in open ocean conditions.
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
Hawaii's SUP HQ
http://www.blueplanetsurf.com

blueplanetsurf

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2010, 02:59:21 PM »
pdxmike, I think training on the same board you will race on is best.   A heavier board won't hurt but I like to go fast, even when training.  I'm not the kind of person that puts on ancle weights when I'm running, but I guess it works for some people.  It may be worth a try though.  After taking the weights off the board, it felt noticeably lighter and faster.

Still, I think it's most important is to have a good feel for the board and use it as much as possilble before a race.  I have used boards in races that I have never paddled on before and that's fine but certainly not ideal.
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
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blueplanetsurf

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2010, 03:28:47 PM »
By the way, you didn't mention what board you used for the test. I wonder if a longer and more buoyant board would make much of a difference with additional weighting.
The 12'6 Amundson board I used is very stable and has a total volume of 247 liters, so it can float up to 247kg= 544 pounds.
For more information on this board, check Evan's review at standuppaddlesurf.net:
http://www.standuppaddlesurf.net/2010/11/04/amundson-126-sup-stand-up-paddle-board/#comment-65369


To see pictures of the setup I used and what lead to the experiment, read the "Heavier boards faster" post:
http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=9373.45
Robert Stehlik
Blue Planet Surf Shop, Honolulu
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dalidali

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2010, 03:47:48 PM »
Can you tell me what board you used for these speed trials?
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robon

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Re: Lighter is faster- real world test results
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2010, 05:37:50 PM »
By the way, you didn't mention what board you used for the test. I wonder if a longer and more buoyant board would make much of a difference with additional weighting.
The 12'6 Amundson board I used is very stable and has a total volume of 247 liters, so it can float up to 247kg= 544 pounds.
For more information on this board, check Evan's review at standuppaddlesurf.net:
http://www.standuppaddlesurf.net/2010/11/04/amundson-126-sup-stand-up-paddle-board/#comment-65369

It's cool that you used the Amundson T/R. It's a board I'm considering along with the Fly Race, Angulo Shaka, and a few others for a do everything board. I read the review link you provided. It's a great deal for a 12'6" board. How do you find this board performance wise compared to other boards in it's class and just in general?


To see pictures of the setup I used and what lead to the experiment, read the "Heavier boards faster" post:
http://www.standupzone.com/forum/index.php?topic=9373.45