First time in the waves with the ski, a mixed success

This morning I met up with Mike, Paul D and Frank for a paddle. I had my “new” ski, an Epic V10 Sport that used to belong to Dennis Mike, and which was Baycreek’s demo boat before that. Everybody else had V10 Sports as well.

First thing we did, at my request, was to practice some remounts. As Mike had suggested ahead of time, I found the “side saddle” method much easier than the “straddle” method (see this link for demonstrations of the two methods) because of the way my weight is distributed. The only problem is that I forgot to buy a leash, so after mounting I had to hand-paddle over to my paddle. Obviously not a good idea in real waves and winds, where I’d probably need the paddle to brace while bringing in my legs.

When we started off towards the far jetty, it was almost dead calm – the only swell was inches high and barely registered. But the further we went, the stronger the wind was blowing in our face and the higher the waves were getting. A few times we had to circle back to make sure we didn’t get too far separated, and I found it a bit difficult when cross ways to the waves, especially when turning from downwind to upwind because you couldn’t see the waves coming. I was definitely a bit nervous and highly concentrated, but I never actually felt scared. Quite a change from last week, and I primarily attribute that to my feeling that I might be able to remount before I froze to death. We kept getting slower and slower, and Mike kept saying it would be so great when we headed back.

When we turned, it got a bit worse. The surf was angling towards Durand-Eastman beach, but we wanted to go back to Irondequoit outlet where we’d started, which was about 30 degrees to the left of that. I kept trying to kept pointed at the outlet, but the waves were pushing me towards the beach. The heavy surf was filling the boat right up to the top, and the next wave would come in and fill it back up again before I could get going fast enough for the venturi to work. With it full of water, it was wallowing and hard to accelerate. And because I was new in the boat, I was finding it hard to judge the proper way to time the acceleration to catch a wave like I can do in the Thunderbolt or Looksha. I was finding it very tiring, even though I was still not scared. I was also well ahead of everybody and I couldn’t relax my cooperation enough to look around. So I said “to hell with it” and surfed with the waves into shore. I jumped out of the boat to look around and I could see Mike and Frank about a quarter mile behind me, also on the beach. Paul D was about half way between us, but struggling in the surf zone.

I decided to paddle straight into the wind to get back out of the surf zone and see what was going on. Paul yelled to me that Frank was having trouble and was going to get out and wait for the guys to come back and pick him up in the car. That sounded like a great idea to me, and I decided I could quit now while I was still in control, and wait it out with Frank, or I could struggle on and get more and more tired and more and more out of control. So I landed again, and walked up to where Frank was waiting. We had a nice long stand around and chat for the time it took Paul to get back to the finish and come pick us up. It worked out nicely, and I got home just in time for the party Vicki and I went to this afternoon.

So I think it worked out very nicely. I wish I could have finished the whole distance, but I think I quit at a good point. I like the ski, and it’s going to get better, especially when the water is warmer. When you’re as heavy as me, you’re never dry in a ski. I definitely need a leash, and I want to work out a GPS mount like Mike and Frank have.