Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Ways to stop surfing sideways ?

: Hi all,

: I have recently suffered the unpleasant sensation of bing surfed sideways
: toward somewhere I don't want to - a rocky landing. Luckily the wave
: subsided enough and passed underneath me. I wondered if there was another
: way of stopping this, other than rolling or capsizing and wet exiting?

: thanks, Steve

Hi Steve,

Be careful for what you ask for you may get it. It appears you have received some excellent advice by the responses I have read. I would like to throw my two cent into the hat.

Of course avoiding the situation is probably the best advice. However, you specifically asked how to stop. Once in a side surf the force of the wave will dictate how much you can do. If it is very forceful pulling out of the wave with a draw type of brace will probably not work. As a wave disapates I teach my kayak students to high brace with a draw type of angle to give enough resistance to pull throught he foam. Be prepared to fall over into the wave side if you don't maintain your balance.

Your greatest concern should be the obstacle you are moving toward. Whether rock or human you need to get out of the way. The key to success is being able to balance while side surfing. If you sidesurf with your balance point on your brace your ability to move forward and backwards is diminshed while sidesurfing. Get yourself balanced over your kayak while maintaining the necessary edge. If you do this then you can paddle forward using a modified high brace or paddle backwards using a modified low brace. You are basically paddling forward or backwards with an edged boat and keeping a climbing angle on you blade for support on the wave pushing you sideways.

Please look at my article in Sea Kayaker April 2000. There is a technique I developed for teaching bracing and side surfing in calm water. Use the technique to practice what I have suggested. Have a friend pull you sideways in shallow water. Once you are balanced over your boat practice paddling forward &/or backwards while being dragged sideways. I can tell you it is a nice way to learn the movement and balance without the consequences of being trashed in the surf. Please let me know how it works for you.

As a side note to all paddlers, please be sure you can control your kayaks once in sidesurf situations before you venture into areas with swimmers and surfers. A kayak out of control in the surf is very dangerous. I've seen to many people trying to learn in areas that were populated with swimmers.

Happy paddling!!!