Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Surfing downwind without skegs

Hey Mike, I have an observation and an idea about this one.

Observation first: in conditions which are not too extreme for quartering and downwind it can make quite a large difference to push with the feet and lean backward to put the stern down a little. I find this actually works better with the kayaks that have a higher closer to the spine rear coaming edge as one can lean back against that edge and kind of push down on it. This sounds uncomfortable, but I n practice it is not as pronounced a position as it sounds in text. I'm sure most of us do this instinctively anyway, bending forward when going upwind and leaning backward downwind and off the wind. I find the correction is more pronounced in some boats than in others. the North Star, with its plentiful rocker, responds quite well to the action, which also brings up the bow slightly.

If you are in touch with the waves or swell you are always going to outpace someone who is just plodding along. Very frustrating, but no getting around it. I start zig zagging if people are farting around starting an stopping all the time and breaking up the rhythm.

Idea next: I'm sure that others have thought of this one too, but I have never seen it deployed. Ie: One has a seating arrangement that can be moved along a short track or tracks (by means of a rope pulley or some such arrangement) backward and forward over a distance of five or six inches or so, and cleated or locked into place at any desired location within that range. Of course one would have to have attached foot pegs or multiple permanent footrest locations. I would opt for the latter for simplicity's sake. Also, ideally, the backrest should move with the seat as a unit.

One could do away with the rope even, by perhaps having a seat that lifts on a spring when the weight is off it, and can then be shifted, and then reengaged in a new location by sitting down again. Following the builds of his racing boats and looking at the seats he installs, I'm sure Dan Caouette can come up with something that works for all of us.

Dan, if you see this, my perfect seat would be a single unit of seat and backrest - attached to a pair of rails with about six inches of adjustmet - that lifts on a spring to disengage and can be engaged at intervals of about an inch - and has a bungee putting forward pull on the arrangement so that the seat will move forward with the weight off and backward with a push against the backrest. It must be low profile and easy to make, or cheap to buy. I'll sort out my own footrests. How about it?