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Topic: Break Wind (Part 5), and quartering waves, kewl stuff...< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Capn Jimbo Offline
The Godfisher

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Posts: 1712
Joined: Jan. 2004
Posted: July 02 2006,09:57

And the break, er beat, goes on...

Paddling with wind blowing from the side is perhaps the most frequent, and most aggravating condition we face almost every time we go out.  Let's start with...

Wind directly from the side - at 90 degrees.  

Most of us hate this and it's easy to understand why.  Our course is constantly shifted - to one side or the other - or both!  We are reduced to constant, wearing course correction.  What's the answer?

Stop fightin it so much!

If your kayak starts to turn say left, let it.  In a moment it will likely turn back, maybe even to the right - things will average out and you'll be a lot less aggravated.   Now you may find that your kayak does indeed favor turning in one direction.  Now you can use the standard responses (covered earlier):

1.  Shift your weight to the same side of the turn (if the yak wants to turn left, shift your weight left).  This will cause a lean on the same side - which will tend to correct the turn.

2.  Shift your grip to the left, making your left paddle longer.

3.  Make your left stroke more of a sweep, longer and stronger (the right closer to the kayak, shorter and weaker.

4.  In extreme cases paddle only on the upwind (here the left) side, much like paddling a canoe.

Bottom line:  don't be anal.  Let the kayak shift back and forth, right and left, with the passing waves.  This is typical of most kayaks and does NOT need constant correction.

Now for waves coming from the front quarter:

There's two simple rules here.  First, lean toward the wave - both as it approaches and as it leaves.  Second, paddle on the same side as the lean.  Example:

Wind coming from the left front.  As the wave comes up under your kayak (from the left), lean and paddle on the left side.  As the wave passes under you (and is now on your right), lean and paddle on the right.  In essence you are alternating leans and strokes on each side of the crest (KEY: always TOWARD the crest).

Leaning into the wave accomplishes two things:  it keeps you stable, and, it keeps your stroke in the water.   For example when the wave approaches from the left, the water is higher on your left and your paddle catches more water earlier, longer and more reliably.

And I would be remiss not to remind that waves are passing hills  that can be of great advantage to you.  Of course you can surf down the front of a wave (and you should), but you can also surf down the BACK of a wave!  This is also true of passing boat wakes.

One final little tip:  let me remind you once again how you can take advantage of the mini-currents that all wakes and waves produce.   The wave is a HILL, and mini-currents do in fact run down both the face and back of a wave.  So if you're paddling INTO a wave - you are fighting the mini-current that is flowing down the wave toward you.  Relax.

OTOH, if you a heading down either the front of back of a wave, you are now travelling WITH the mini-current, as well as heading DOWNHILL.  Go for it and use the momentum.

KEY:  Plant and paddle downhill, relax goin uphill.  Logical.

The tip:  try to time each stroke to take advantage of the mini-currents.  Example:  if you are heading into the waves, plant your blade on the BACK of each wave and take advantage of the  wave's energy.  

I'll tell you how important this is.  Using the hills provided by waves (and wakes) is SO advantageous that it's worth going off course to gain a lot of easy ground (pun intended)!  Better you should be surfing back and forth accross your course than battling for harder won straight ground...


Next: some of the exceptional techniques of master paddler Nigel Foster....

Edited by Capn Jimbo on July 03 2006,10:04

Tight lines,
Capn Jimbo

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