Monday, May 7, 2012

Sideshore Lessons

Question for the wave experts.  What is your secret for staying upwind in side on?  Keith uses a big single fin but could probably still do it with a 2cm freestyle fin.  Advice?

Keith's spot.  Lighthouse action.

Check out this pic of a bigger set from yesterday.

I got to old lighthouse at 2pm.  Keith and Chad were already on the water with ~5.3/90L.  I snapped a few shots before rigging 5.2/85L.  Lots of locals came out later.

The tide was low but rising at 2 and the waves were mushing rather than the terrible top to bottom closeouts.  This was extremely forgiving for the lighthouse and FUN!  I made it out the first time with no trouble and even nailed my 1st jibe on the outside.  I get so few opportunities to use a short stick it took while to get with the flow but finally got where I was making the rounds and staying upwind.  The trick for me was to catch a bigger set way out and ride backside into the wind, when I got my timing right I could then make an attempt at the bottom turn and cut back into the wave.  The turns felt great and the quad fins feel really good in the white water after the break.  The best part of this sesh was finally getting some confidence actually riding the wave on the short stick.  This was my best wave sesh ever on a short stick for sure.  The highlight was 1 medium size wave were it all came together- tight magical bottom turn and up to top turn snapping back toward the beach.  That is why the good guys would rather bob around on a short stick than be comfy on a bigger board.  Short stick shreditude.

As always the current increased with the tide.  As the afternoon went on I had more trouble staying upwind so it became more frustrating since I was taking more hikes rather than riding waves.  I also had more trouble staying on the plane on the outside.  I had the same thing happening with my other 85L so I can say it is my technique on short boards.  So I still struggle with sideshore and have a lot to work on.  Just makes me that much more eager to get back out!         

Another highlight of the day was leaning about marine life at Hatteras.   Ken saw the biggest sea turtle ever on Earth.  Ken- "if sea turtles have a million eggs this one would have like a kazillion".  'No seriously this thing's head was the size of a car tire!'.  Awesome day for all involved.


  1. For side on/staying upwind a thought experiment might help. Think of a long rectangualar lake with the wind ripping down the long dimension and the wind swells rolling perfectly along the lake. Now imagine you are going to sail across the lake perpendicular to the wind. As you cross, the swells would roll under you on their down wind trip. If you rode one of those swells backside you would actually lose ground down wind. If you pointed as high as you could as you crossed the lake you would constantly be going up faces of swells and down the back. So you can't make upwind progress by riding wind driven swell except perhaps near the beach where the shallowing may cause the wave to wrap towards the shore.

    1. Ken- that long rectangular lake makes tremendous sense. Very applicable to side on. If I understand you correctly you are saying regardless of heading out or coming in screw trying to plane just keep pushing as directly into the oncoming waves as you can. Also you are correct about riding backside- I was actually doing this closer to the beach after the wrap around the jetty began. As conditions became more difficult I couldn't get close enough to the jetty to make the backsides work anymore.

      So pointing high is the ticket. It is funny- in flat water I can be as efficient as anyone. Put me in some waves on a short stick day and I get so excited I forget my name. The more I reflect on the sesh the more evident I should be kicked for out hauling my sail too much. And yes I've done this before on my old board too. Basics- a flat sail will not point. I over out haul because once I'm actually riding a wave the gusts would make the sail hard to handle so I flatten it. It is silly to flatten the sail for the wave ride if you can't position to get on the waves. Thanks Ken.