The bay had a strong wind coming down it, but the waves were quite small for that amount of wind, so I suspect the wind started after the rain, which I’m told drenched the BayCreek Paddle Center a little while before the race. Unfortunately the upshot of that is that I got all the disadvantages of paddling into the wind on the way up the bay, but without much help from waves on the way back. The waves were only going about 5 mph, so I was plowing through them rather than surfing them. I heard my split on the way through, and it sucked. 9.67, which is one of the slowest ones I’ve done this year. Last week I was 9.55, 0.12 minutes faster.
The upstream part of the second half was slow too, with my speed kept below 6 mph most of the time. But once I turned, my speed went up over 6.5, and I started coming back. The recent rain must have put a good bit of current on the creek. My time for the second half was 9.45, which is the fastest I’ve ever done it, and so my overall time was 19.12, which is exactly the same as last week. Paul D was also slower than usual, at 19.05. So the downside was another non-record time, and getting beaten by Paul D again, but the upside was my fastest second half ever.
Here’s the interesting bit, though: I tried out an Epic V10 Sport surf ski. I have been putting off trying one, because I thought I needed to have a change of clothes in the car in case I dumped, but I have a cooler in my car and I stupidly left the tap open, so the car smells like a wet dog now so driving home in soaking wet clothes isn’t going to make anything worse. So today I tried one. I’ve seen a number of people try them and dump out immediately. I’ve seen other people who were so tentative that they could barely take two strokes before they had to brace. But I didn’t feel that way. Ok, the stupid venturi drain meant that the boat filled up with water every time I slowed down, so I ended up with a soaking wet ass almost immediately. But I felt almost “at home” in the boat right away. If not “at home”, at least I felt like this is a boat I could grow into very rapidly. I could get up to a very nice speed – Bill came along for most of it and said I was managing 6.7 mph or so on the down stream on the creek, which is faster than I was doing on my boat. Every now and then the boat would “go”, suddenly just tilt over to one side or the other, but because of the great base of technique I’ve put down this year, I was able to keep my body upright and let the boat go until its great final stability stopped it. One of the things I’ve been learning this year is to separate myself from the boat, and obviously the surf ski both enables that and makes it important to do.
I loved the foot straps – I definitely have to add them to my boat. I also found the cockpit very comfortable, especially after I got the rudder pedals adjusted correctly. The bucket seat really seemed to facilitate good hip rotation. It turned better than my own boat at the buoy turn. And the new graphics on the latest V10 Sport that Baycreek got in (which aren’t even on the Epic Kayaks web site yet, so I can’t link to them) are awesome. I think I’ve got a surf ski in my future – hopefully next spring we’ll have recovered from this extended unemployment, and I’ll be ready to make a major purchase like that again. I just wish Epic had put used a valve on the scupper like the ones on sail boats – I dislike the fact that the boat fills with water every time I slow down. Most people on the team put a strip of duct tape over theirs with a folded edge so they can rip it off if they get into a situation where they need it. I understand the new Epic V12 has a different type of scupper, so maybe they’ll bring it over the whole range.