Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Jan. 2004
||Posted: June 27 2006,17:44
Ahhh... breakin wind properly is a great relief. But how bout waves?
You might not think so, but waves can be your friend. And you do need friends out in rougher weather. Learn to use the wind and waves and you may even look forward to a bit of stink (now, now this is a NAUTICAL term, meanin bad weather)...
First how bout a little wave theory. Waves develop largely from wind (and currents to a degree). The farther the wind has to blow (fetch), and the longer it blows, the larger a wave gets. As waves approach shallow water, they rear up and get up to 1.5 times higher and then break when the water depth reduces to 1.3 times the wave's height, eg 3-footers will break when the the bottom is about 4 ft deep.
BTW, the wave's height is measured from the bottom of the trough to the crest of the wave.
High winds can cause waves to build very quickly - into frequent, steep waves. Over distance the waves tend to spread out and their frequency decreases. After about 6 hours the wind will also create about a 1 to 1.5 mph current (away from the wind).
Note: when you're being moved downwind this is primarily due to the wind and wind induced current. The waves themselves tend to pass under your kayak.
All of these factors make a great case for planning to head into weather early, so your trip home will be a breeze (pun intended).
There are two more local currents you need to consider. There are mini-currents that flow down both sides of the wave. These are VERY important and can really help (or hurt) your progress. Let's consider some examples:
Paddlin INTO the waves:
Remember when I discussed the importance of a PAUSE just prior to each stroke (Part 1). A proper pause will reduce your cadence and increase your endurance. Without the pause you'll get tired a lot sooner, and waves only make this worse. Remember this:
When you're on top of a wave you've not only got gravity on your side, but also the downhill mini-current. Go for it! Paddle hard and quick, surf a bit. But as soon as your yak slows down...
So do you. Slow down, ease off, glide, keep a bit of headway but not much more. Remember you're heading uphill and AGAINST the mini-current flowin down. Don't fight em, you're beatin yourself up for nothing.
So paddlin against the waves is almost a series of mini-sprints. Accelerate, then recuperate. You won't waste your strength and you'll take advantage of gravity, current and surfin.
Keep your paddles and paddling angle low. Bend forward to reduce your profile. Feather if you are able but only if you are experienced. In very high winds keep a paddle in the water and transition more quickly to do so.
Next: headin downwind...
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