What is surfskiing? A surfski is a sit-on-top kayak, designed to drain itself in case it becomes flooded with water. Additionally, the boat is easy to remount in case the paddler falls out. They are usually made from lightweight materials like fibreglass or carbon unlike traditional kayaks. This results in boats that are easier to handle and move effortlessly through water. Surfskis are ideal for all abilities of paddlers from novice to competitive, without the need for much variation in design, other than width. Perfect for all conditions, surfskis slice through mirror-like conditions in the morning and handle the the surfing waves that can take place in B.C. on a windy day.
Surfskiing started way back in the day when Harry and Jack McLaren in Port Macquarie, Australia sat on a board and paddled it in a sitting position with two small hand blades. Since then the boats have evolved considerably, and nowadays they are more easily recognized as fitness kayaks, surfing or racing kayaks, and the newer designs mean that the intro level boats are stable.
They are typically between 16 and 22 feet long, and between 17 and 22 inches wide. The design means that they cut through water incredibly efficiently and make paddling on flat water super simple because you can go so much further, faster, and easier than you can in a heavier and therefore slower sea kayak. Once you learn the correct technique, they are also much easier than sea kayaks to remount. They are ideal for people who like getting out on the water for a couple of hours for fitness or for pleasure.
These two great videos give you an idea of what you can do in a surfski once you’ve got some practice under your belt. Skookumchuck video here and Deep Cove Surfski video here both these videos feature Bob Putnam (co-owner of Coast Outdoors and Deep Cove Kayak Centre) and his boyz, Lucas Putnam and Seth Putnam.
At Deep Cove Kayak Centre we offer an Intro to Surfski lesson to cover those basics, more info found by clicking here. We also sell surfskis through our retail store, Coast Outdoors. You can call us at 604.987.2202 ext #2 with any questions or just come and see us! Click here for more details.
Last week I polished up my surfski with Onit Pro Blu Goo power cleaner and Xtreme Creme a 2-part polishing system. I have to say I was very pleased with the results.
My Carbon V12 Elite came out looking BETTER than new!! A bold statement I know but WOW!
Over time your surfski, kayak or paddle board accumulates gunk on the hull and deck that you make not notice. You can see it on white surfskis. Often there is sea sludge on the sides. I can only imagine that this affects the gliding surface negatively. Add exposure to the elements, maybe your craft has been sitting outside over the winter and accumulating mildew, then bake it on with a bit of sun and you get residue build and oxidization that can’t be removed with soap and water.
The first step is The Blu Goo Power Cleaner. Rub this on with a clean soft sponge. This stuff is like tooth paste and has an ultra fine grit that cuts through all the munge, really scrub the hull and deck with this layer then rinse it off really well using a clean soft sponge. In hind-sight I would have been more meticulous with the Step 1 application as I notice missed spots when it was all said and done. This layer really cleans the crud off.
Step Two is the Xtreme Creme. Rub it on with a damp sponge, let it dry and buff it off with a clean shop towel. This is where kayak, surfski or paddle board really starts to look great.
Onit Pro claims that the Xtreme Cream creates a hydro-phobic surface and will give you 18% reduction in hull friction at 18 mph. Yep I hit 28 kph all the time!! But our performances is the accumulation of a whole bunch of small improvements, so I’d be happy with a 5% reduction in hull friction.
The first thing I noticed was how easily my tie downs glided over the hull. Second thing I noticed is that my surfski was darn slippery. As Daryl so eloquently stated, “Like trying to pick up a wet salmon!”
What about on the water!
Well its hard to say, I didn’t do any scientific tests, but the ski felt like it had some nice glide. When I was bouncing over some wave, it didn’t seem to get stuck but instead felt like it released from the waves. In general it felt good! Placebo? Hard to say, but if you feel good, that’s got to help.
Coast Outdoors is selling the Xtreme clean 8oz for $26.95
And Blue Goo Power cleaner 8oz for $44.95
David Morris (Nuclear Dave), Motionize Kayaking Tracker expert, is one of our most enthusiastic paddlers that come into the store. He is a keen racer at our Tuesday Night Races in Deep Cove and is always ready for a down winder!
Nuclear Dave in race mode!
The Motionize is essentially your own virtual paddling coach that utilizes real-time data from your stroke to give you tips to improve, as you paddle. there are two sensors, one is attached to your boat, the other to your paddle and they feed data back to your phone which then gives you feedback both audibly and visually! Pretty cool eh!? It even comes in a sup model as well! David has been kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the Motionize, and to give us a few tips on how to use it!
The Motionize Kayaking Tracker
David, how long have you been paddling for?
I got my first Surfski (a Think Fit) 4 years ago and cautiously explored Indian Arm. After a year and a half and several Demo Days in Deep Cove I bought an Epic V8 Pro and started to work on technique. I had a couple of clinics with Bob and started to see some small improvements in the Tuesday Night Race results.
What motivated you to buy a paddling performance tracker?
The idea of being able to see what I am doing live on every paddle, with the stroke display and the statistics, it seemed like a good idea. The economics seemed reasonable if you get immediate feedback on every paddle.
So when did you buy the Motionize?
I got the Motionize in the fall after buying the V8 Pro and used it on every paddle.
What is your favorite feature on the Motionize?
Being able to monitor the stroke rate after a race. You get plots of speed, distance per stroke, stroke rate and heart rate as summary graphs. For flat water races I am always curious if my rate falls off during the race. For some races, the stroke rate is pretty consistent but the speed changes due to the tide or wind.
I was surprised to learn I had different stroke lengths on each side, with the right always a bit shorter. I think its getting better and that shows up on the summary now.
The screen showing stroke length is also one of the live screens you can display, and it shows the track of the paddle as you actively paddle. It shows the catch and exit points with respect to the boat and will tell you if you are reaching forward enough and exiting soon enough.
The summary screens can be sent to friends and rivals but even better, you can show them in the Raven Pub after the race which always starts lots of arguments and clinking of glasses. “Cheers” (and look them in the eye!)
David’s Summery Screen
Has using the Motionize improved your paddling performance?
Yes it has. I was able to see that my right stroke was consistently a bit shorter than my left, and have seen an improvement there. Monitoring the live paddle depth tells you if you are slouching and sitting back. Live speed and stroke rate gives you immediate feedback for sprints.
And finally, do you have any tips for anyone new to using the Motionize?
Selecting the parameters to display on the phone when you are actively paddling can help in understanding if you are doing it all correctly or if you are falling off on some aspect of technique.
This is what I have on my phone:
David’s Motionize display set-up
The paddle depth tells you a lot about your posture and reach. If it is quite shallow, it tells you if you are slouching, not reaching forward, not straightening your catch arm etc. You want the full blade in the water, and the higher the number shown and more consistent it is, means you are getting it right!
The stroke rate helps if you are doing sprints and interval training. Sometimes you might try for a one minute sprint and start counting in your head for 80 strokes, but if your rate doesn’t actually go up, then you’re not really doing a sprint.
The speed helps especially if there is a tide or wind, or you are drafting someone. If you want a training goal for an interval, this will tell you how you are doing.
Training against heart rate is a powerful tool. I need to get a monitor that works with the app.The Apple Watch doesn’t work but some Bluetooth ones do.
We’d like to thank David for taking the time to answer all of our questions! And if you do have any more questions for us about using the Motionize, come into the store for a chat, and nerd out about your paddling stats!
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