Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Ways to stop surfing sideways ?

The first goal is to learn to recognize places that may cause problems so that you can avoid them. Watch the breaking waves well ahead of you on your intended course so you can see the effect of the widest variety of waves possible. Also, if you see a lot of foam on the water, it is a sign that breaking waves probably come through the area sometimes even if it is currently flat.

Next, once you are in the area, don't get caught by surprise. Watch the incoming waves, keeping an eye out for especially big ones. Combining this with the above requires that you are constantly looking around and ahead.

If you see a wave coming at you that looks like it might be a problem, and you are either paddling towards it or parallel to it, try to turn you boat into the wave. If you can paddle hard into it to punch through. If you can't get perpendicular to the wave it will try to turn you back parallel. As the wave breaks, brace into the wave and move your paddle as far forward as you can so that the boat tends to turn more perpendicular to the wave. Reach into solid water as much as possible and try to pull yourself over the wave. If you succeed, paddle straight out to get out of the dangerous area.

If the wave is coming from behind, you again want to get as close to perpendicular to the wave as possible before it hits. Back paddle to stop your forward momentum and try to avoid starting to surf. Brace into the wave, reaching back, again trying to turn perpendicular.

If you are stuck side surfing, it may not be as bad as it looks. On a somewhat sloping beach, you will often end up with enough water under you to drift back out. Just move fast so you don't get hit broadside again.

I tend to stay farther offshore when going with the waves than when pushing into them because it is harder to see what is coming from behind and you are more likely to start surfing unintentionally if you are already moving with the waves. An unintentional surf often ends with a broach and at best some side surfing.

: I know, I know, I shouldn't have been there - but..... I got surprised by a
: swell that was much larger than all of the rest and was unable to turn or
: move quickly enough to get out of its way (I didn't want to surf with the
: wave).

: I realise that rolling was an option (not prefered, as its the middle of
: winter down here), but wanted to know if its possible to
: "paddle" out of this situation. I've seen surfers swerve out the
: back of waves - is this an option? (I would have thought that with no
: lateral movement, this would be hard to achieve).

: thanks, Steve