Find Out What Brought Me Back to Earth This Week
Do you prefer ski stability or speed? I’ve made my choice. Here’s why…
After a few lessons with Buck in the last 2 weeks I have been feeling quite confident in the ski. So today I decided to test myself in the surf. Here’s what happened…
After considering all the advice about what sort of ski to buy, I chose to opt for ski stability over speed. The conflicting advice consisted of two main perspectives:
- Stability over speed – the logic here is that if you’re falling out of your ski all the time, you’re not going to get to the finish live very fast anyway, and
- Grow into your ski – select a ski that’s a challenge right now and you’ll grow into it within a few weeks or months. The logic here being that you don’t want to invest in a new ski only to have to replace it in 6 months.
My goal was always to join my friends catching runners off Mooloolaba beach. To do that I would obviously have to venture out of the calm waters of Mooloolaba river and into the sea. So I opted for the stability over speed argument. I bought a stable ski.
Ski Stability or Speed – what’s your preference
Last Sunday I took possession of my ski and decided that I would practice what Buck has been teaching me every day. So, apart from Wednesday afternoon when we have our lessons, I have practiced for an hour or so in the Mooloolaba river every day. My stability has improved quite significantly. So much so that I began to doubt the ski choice I had made.
During paddling lessons, I notice that I’m not very fast. I realise that having a flat bottom ski is part of the problem (not to mention the poor technique I am still working on). This made me question the sense of choosing a stable ski over one I could grow into. Today something happened that confirmed for me that ski stability as a priority is a good choice. Let me explain…
This afternoon I decided to paddle out of the Mooloolaba river and into the sea. Confidently I set off from the shed and paddled up the river. About half way, two surf ski paddlers passed me with a brief “gday” as they went past. They reminded me of my slow speed but I felt confident that the trade-off for stability would pay off once we hit the surf.
The waves were quite big as I moved out of the shelter of the river. Initially I was taken aback by the challenge of steering as the waves threw me about. It wasn’t long before I fell out of the ski. After a quick remount I was back into the swell.
After ten minutes or so I decided to turn and run with the waves. I was feeling a little nervous about turning around but managed to do that easily. Then, paddling quickly, I tried to catch some runners. Wow, wasn’t that challenging. The ski kept moving in directions not expected. I managed to stay aboard but was unable to get enough speed to catch a wave. I wasn’t unhappy to enter the river mouth and the relative calmness of the waters.
I guess this was a bit of a reality check. I now know how different it is to paddle in moderate seas when compared to the calm river system. It was a relief to return to the river today but my resolve is strengthened. I definitely want to get into those waves again; once I have a bit more “time in the seat”.
What a great sport paddling is. There is so much to learn and so many challenges to overcome. I hear experienced paddlers talk of how they’re working on improving this or that part of their technique. Ski stability is one that beginners discuss regularly. The journey is a long and exciting one and there’s learning all the way.