How big is too big?

Riding the waves
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davebrads
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How big is too big?

Post by davebrads »

I was out today at Widemouth, Magic Seaweed reckons it was 3-4 feet but I am sure it was bigger. I think I have been out in bigger surf, but it has not felt so powerful before. It was a real struggle getting out, and sometimes when I rolled under a breaking wave it still picked me up and chucked me about. Don't get me wrong it was exciting when I caught a wave, but the wipeouts were fierce and I soon got weary of being battered. More than once I nearly had my paddle ripped from my hands.

I am no expert, I usually only get to surf on my holidays, and sometimes I choose to do something else, but I'm no noob either.

Is there a point where the waves just get too big for surf kayaking?

Tomorrow's forecast on Magic Seaweed is 6-9 feet. I suspect I will be finding something else to do!
it's not a playboat, it's a river runner

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Jim Tait
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by Jim Tait »

There's pictures and video of the good folk in huge conditions........ going back to the video of the worlds at Thurso. It all depends on the size of your cojones.....
I start to get twitchy at 4-5 ft. Once it gets bigger, its a serious battle with that little bit that asks "do you really want to do this......"

I've been working on it for what seems like ages..... I'm slowly getting comfy in bigger stuff, but I tend to paddle on my own, so I'm very conservative in what I go out in
Once I stop enjoying it, I soon head in

Jim

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davebrads
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by davebrads »

I found some video of the 1991 worlds at Thurso. Pretty big, and some classic boats. I also found this video of Chris Hobson on some big waves, a bit bigger than my session at Widemouth but he is younger and fitter and with way more skills than me and he was still having trouble.
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Jim Tait
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by Jim Tait »

I wouldn't be anywhere near the water on a day like that!!


Look at the footage of the Santa Cruz Paddlefest competition as well- there's some F-ing big waves there.....

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Jim Tait
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by Jim Tait »

And then, there's Alejo Panecho........


lennart
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by lennart »

there are many things ofr me , to consider. the period of the waves is 1 , the shape of the beach/ seabottom is 2 the tides can make a huge difference as well. and the there is the weather. wind water and air temperature. last part is the human part me am i fit when was the last sessoin i had what boat do i paddle,, and yhtere si the people around me. are there any kayakers with me if so how good are they, if not do i know the surfers if they are there.
Propper Writing in English, how do you do that, with dyslexia, bad hand eye coordination, ect. and in a foreign language
sorry fore all the mistakes.

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davebrads
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by davebrads »

Thanks for the videos Jim. In the video of Chris Hobson he just mans up and takes it. The size of the waves in the other video are just mental, I can only assume their was a decent rip to get out on.
it's not a playboat, it's a river runner

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Re: How big is too big?

Post by yabbadabba »

For me generally 5ft and under is what I prefer to play on if using the surf kayak. Anything over 5ft and I start to get a little nervous.
If bigger than 5ft I will often take the Wavesport XXX playboat out, not as good as a surf kayak but a little more forgiving with stability and the paddle out etc (my opinion).
Other variables I find that are important would be, do you know the area and have you surfed it before, are you alone or with paddling buddies, are other people in the water who might be able to provide help if needed, wind and tide conditions, get out options if it all goes totally wrong.
The wave its self is pretty important for me, some days a good strong ocean swell at 5ft is fine, locally generated wind swell at 5ft can be horrible and messy.
My biggest thing before I hit the water is if possible to watch other surfers & kayakers and see how well that are fairing in the conditions.
For me its also finding that balance between pushing the boundaries and having a good session.

TomFR
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by TomFR »

Jim Tait wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:22 pm
I wouldn't be anywhere near the water on a day like that!!


Look at the footage of the Santa Cruz Paddlefest competition as well- there's some F-ing big waves there.....
You won't find me out in anything near that size, but that does look like a blast!
Always in search of the right waterproof bag

kayakr
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Re: How big is too big?

Post by kayakr »

Santa Cruz has a peaky wave with a consistent peel and an outside paddle out. I've surfed double overhead hurricane like that and it wasn't that hard, although I had to wait until low tide because otherwise the beach break would have cracked my spine. It would have been really easy in a longer boat but I was in a super slow boat. Basically anything over 5-6' and I'm looking for a reef. Lots of the videos of big waves are reef breaks not beach break. Reef breaks can be super consistent because the wave doubles up at a certain feature and the pocket forms within 15 feet of a single spot. Many times in our hurricane surf the swell will be huge but the waves peel mostly at the top, so even though it's a 10' wall of water if it falls on you during the paddle out it's more like 4'. A lot of the video guys do have way better bottom conditions with a consistent peel that can come down on your head, so yeah, respect...

What sucks is when I go to the beach for 4' surf and it's 6-8' with an offshore so it's cracking down and with a lot of storm mix in so that sets are continuous. Sometimes I go out only to hop 30 waves on the paddle out, drop one close out and say F that. That usually means I went to the wrong place and might have to drive 30-45 minutes elsewhere to find a reef. Unfortunately the reefs can get really full so it means looking for unused "trash" breaks or waiting outside for the big sets that are open because they are falling on the heads of the line up.

Some days when you've got 15 knot offshore and the wave faces are crashing hard it can be just better to watch.

Really the best I ever have usually gotten is at a beach that has a definite reef tendency on one side, so you get a right where a long period wave will form a long pyramid. Often time the reef breaks here that double up give you one super fast tall drop but then the shoulder fags out into a weak lump and a small pocket without much power.

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Re: How big is too big?

Post by StoneWeasel »

Ah but is this too big ;)

Image

Dan Green in Bali.

Both him and Tamsin were taking on waves of this size to celebrate their marriage :D

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