Big wave surfing...

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Dan Mahon
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Big wave surfing...

Post by Dan Mahon » Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:02 pm

Just how big a wave can kayak surfers ride just now? Can we get anywhere near the size that board surfers are achieving at the top of their sport and if not, why not?

Having had only minimal experience of surfing on a chilly December afternoon at Pease Bay I may have a tainted view of the sport so far, I just wondered what it can really be like, is it anywhere near the rush board surfers talk of having?

In addition, if I were to get myself into surf kayaking, what kind of boat should I be looking for if speed and carving big turns were more my thing?

Dan

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:55 pm

Excuse the crap website, but a composite surf kayak of the type that can be found:

http://www.mega-kayaks.co.uk/ is the kind you want for speed and carving.

Personally I find surfing more exciting than runnning a simple river like the dart. And thats just bouncing down the front of a wave in my plastic boat :)

Plus you dont have to float around in cold water waiting for a wave in a kayak, you can stay nice and dry and even have a drink whilst you wait :)

I'd rather have a nice continuous grade4 paddle... But then never really had proper big clean surf conditions to compare against :)

RobMoffatt
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Post by RobMoffatt » Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:00 pm

I once heard that there is a limit to wave height that anyone can ride, because of the speed at which water is drawn up the face of the wave. But Im no expert and couldn't verify this or give a figure on it.

Remember that it is a lot easier for a boardie to "bail" because they can simply jump off their board into the wave. In a kayak your stuck there until you roll up!

Also Id be wary of anything too big because of the power of the wave crashing down when it breaks. Having paddled 6/7 ft surf in a playboat it can certainly sting a bit when you get it wrong!

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:33 pm

Paddling out in bigger stuff can be bloody knackering, I've probably not mastered the technique, tryed rolling under waves, but I just seem to get carried by them anyway... Still waiting on my first nice clean day of pure groundswell tho.

surfer girl
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big wave surfing

Post by surfer girl » Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:51 am

hi gang

interesting debate, depends how gutsy you are, ive surfed 15-17ft in a surf kayak. I have friends who have surfed thurso east when its easily been 20ft, not for the faint hearted I can tell you.

generally the bigger the wave the easier it is to surf but you have to think of the consequences if you get it wrong.

Reefs are easy to paddle out as you dont have waves to paddle over you can paddle around them.

sitting in the soup in a plastic boat getting beaten up by the white aint surfing.

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meatballs
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Post by meatballs » Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:07 pm

Is that a surfers proper 20ft, or just 20ft faces?

surfkayaks.com
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Big Wave surfing

Post by surfkayaks.com » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:22 pm

certainly seen Thurso in excess of 20' peak to trough ,Worlds 1991, theres some good video around of "Big Wednesday" and some big spankings. Was a case of drop in and run for your life. Santa Cruz can also hold a big wave ,has to be around 20'for 3rd reef to work. Somewhere in Costa Rica.
Figure boat and paddler around 1mtr, so what size is this?
http://www.mega-kayaks.co.uk/cyclone

RobMoffatt
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Post by RobMoffatt » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:31 pm

Thingking back a few years now, I seem to remember hearing about the first kayakers to surf Teahupoo (spelling), which is certainly big, but compare that with a video I saw of a boardie surfing 60-70 ft waves and I think they have the edge!

surfkayaks.com
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Anyone know?

Post by surfkayaks.com » Thu Dec 29, 2005 2:39 pm

How big it needs to get before boardies go over to "Tow in"

RobMoffatt
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Post by RobMoffatt » Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:05 pm

Just done a quick google search:

Biggest wave surfed by a boardie:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/conditio ... rview.html

unfortunately it seems that kayakl surfers are a little more modest about their achievements and a quicjk google search didnt find anything, but Im fairly sure it wont be close to the boardies

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Tom_Laws
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Post by Tom_Laws » Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:59 pm

Might I refer you all to the Billabong Oddessy. Madness all round.

Tom

surfer girl
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Post by surfer girl » Thu Dec 29, 2005 4:37 pm

aloha again

seems as though we have numerous people interested in this debate. I would say that as kayak surfers keep ourselves to ourselves, we dont shout from the rooftops about how good we are and the big waves we surf, only rarely will you see articles about kayak surfing in the magazines.

the sport has changed so much over the past few years, but apart from areated the teva video a few years ago, (awesome video) i have not seen anything similar.

I have have many personal achievements and many friends who have as well but thats it its personal.

that mega photo is in barranca in costa RICA, an awesome place when it gets going. I know the paddler, A lovely guy he is to.

the boys that went to tehapoo did an awesome job, plenty scary from what I heard.

regards boardies we cant compete, nobody has designed the perfect method for towing a kayak into big waves. boardies can go alot faster on steep fast waves such as those in hawiai, we kayak surfers cant, our boats simply cant go fast enough and the consequences are far greater if we get it wrong. However there is nothing that can compare to the feeling you get when you surf the perfect wave....

Joe L
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Post by Joe L » Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:15 am

In End Game they tried to surf Jaws but it didnt come into condition, even so they were surfing quite big waves. It depends on the wave and how fast it is for when boardies start towing.

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naefearjustbeer
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Post by naefearjustbeer » Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:04 am

I got tumbled in a 15 footer at the shit pipe break at Thurso this year. I had 4 rolls before popping my deck and swimming. It was like being in a washing machine full of lemonade. Aparently I did some spectacular cartwheels and flips when the wave colapsed on me. This was my first time surfing on anything bigger than 4 foot beach waves. It was great fun I was straight back out and at them but it was really difficult to avoid all the boarders that were on the water. The break at Thurso East was even bigger but no way was I paddling over to it as it is a much more dangerous reef. I reckon between the beach, the shit pipe and thurso east there were about 50 boardies 6 kayaks and a couple of wave skis. Very busy.

Chris-toe
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Big Wave Surfing

Post by Chris-toe » Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:00 pm

Don't know of anyone that has surfed more than twenty feet. Bearing in mind that Gauging is still a fairly subjective art amongst the masses and cultural variations and folklore are rife.

I'd see two of the key issues in taking monster waves as:

1. Take Off Speed generated by the paddler Vs Take Off Speed required by the wave.
Not having enough speed is a sure fire way to get pitched over the falls and tumble with an agonising splat a distance directly proportional to the wave you are trying to surf. Bigger the wave - Bigger the Splat!!!

Am sure Tow in surfing will develop in Paddle surfing soon.

2. Shock absorption
In that a Board Surfers legs/knees are more able to reduce some of the skim effect caused by extreme speed combined with chop on the face than our pelvis'.

To get along the wave you need the rail to be engaged for 'most' of the time. See the Laird Hamilton Hydrofoil Documentary.

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Dan Mahon
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Post by Dan Mahon » Fri Dec 30, 2005 2:41 pm

I guess my next question then should be, what's holding surf kayaks back (in a speed sense)? It is their length? Their manouverability? All the big wave boardies use shorter boards as far as I know.

In relation to shock absorption, is fitting a hydrofoil to a kayak even worth considering? What a thing that'd be!!

The more I think about this, the more intrigued I get, it seems as though there's a whole world of posibilities in surfing. Is anyone leading the way in this area or has no-one really tapped into it yet? I read a while back that Corran Addison attempting some new things with boat design and moves etc, he felt that surf held the key to the next big step in kayaking.

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Chris C
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Post by Chris C » Fri Dec 30, 2005 6:37 pm

Big wave surfers use long boards called guns narrower n longer version of the short boards! Kayakers can get up to speed alot quicker so can paddle into quite big waves no problem! easier than boardies! how would you launch off a beach in kayak with a hydro foil???? just get a boat with some nice fins on the bigger the surf the bigger the fins

elDiablo
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Post by elDiablo » Fri Dec 30, 2005 8:26 pm

Tom from Martlet Kayak Club rode a couple of Bombs in Ireland this Autumn. Id put a conservative estimate of 15ft?
Image
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The full story and video footage of the whole trip can be found HERE on Marks Website. Click HERE for a direct hotlink to the video footage or HERE for the stream.
Enjoy.

Tim Pickering
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Post by Tim Pickering » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:55 pm

I have been trying unsuccessfully to stream some footage of the surf over here. (Hopefully it will appear on the club web site (http://www.StornowayCanoes.org.uk))

I am also facinated by the size which should be possible but after a couple of good 'doings' this week on the west side of Lewis, being held down isn't a nice place. I am not sure of the size - I was too frightened to think about it. I have been practicing my yoga and meditation so I can hold my breath longer !?!

I am waiting on delivery of my new boat from James (http://www.futurekayaks.com) visit the site and have a look at the Kimmeridge video footage

Tim

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