My First OC1 Race for the Season

Monday, July 30, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (6)

Gold Coast Desalination Project
Winter Series Race 2

Whew boy .... was this a tough one this early in the season, 25km of predominantly flat ocean water and no wind assistance made for a long hard slog. On top of that the race was originally for surf skis and 95% of them were, so it was way lonely hanging on to the back markers on ski's with my OC1 Hurricane. Not that i came in last, i actually beat a few ski's and finished 9 mins behind Chris Maynard so i was pretty happy with my time. (2hrs 24mins)

This race was part of the Surf Ski Ocean Marathon Racing that Paul Mauger has put together along with major sponsors the Gold Coast Desalination Project. Paul has done a top job growing this Series and 63 paddlers lined up on the start line on Sunday. The quality of the field is getting better all the time as more elite paddlers realize this series is going somewhere and want to be part of it.

I've put together my GPS/HR data for this race below just click on the pictures to enlarge.

Race time 2hr 24min
Av Speed 10.1kph
Av Heart Rate 156bpm
Fastest Speed 13.1kph
Highest HR 172bpm

Finished 2nd OC1 Overall, 9 mins behind Chris Maynard, so pretty happy with that and $40 bucks prize money paid the fuel down to the Goldie.

That 9 minutes works out to 5% which is spot on the Percentage Behind Maynard (P.B.M.) of most of my races. (yes P.B.M. is one of my Key Performance Indicators that i monitor and record)

I didn't feel i bonked at all, but i did get a second wind when i sighted the last downwind turn buoy. (home Leg)

My race plan because of the distance, was to keep to around 160BPM av for the race or i would have bonked if i had gone out harder. I probably could have pushed a little more on the downwind section but the bumps were so small it was hard to pull over multiples, like the surfskis were doing.

Paul Mauger ... on the horn
The men to beat on an OC2
Some of the Ski's at the start
A very youthful looking Johnny Stewart .. Oc1 and Ski Masters Legend
Worth it just for the beer at the end, can't wait for the next one (race and beer)
I'm still in race gear 'cos the other Guy's finished at least half hour before me on Surfski's.
"Rowdy" aka Matt Carter, "Lat's "aka Ian Rowlings and a bloke in the white cap whose name I don't know ... (only joking it's Dean (Deano) Gardiner of course, multiple Molokai Ski Champ and Aussie Marathon
Ocean Racing legend.

All the results here

BTW a plug for the beer ... this is one of the freshest pure beers i have ever tasted, brewed on the Gold Coast at Burleigh.

Discussion About Paddle Types

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (8)

Ashley raised this interesting topic in an email and i thought it would be good info to share, so here it is.

Hello Rambo, I enjoy your blog and check it every daily for new postings. I saw in one of your postings where you came in .5 seconds from gold and it made me wonder what paddle you are using and whether you have ever tried a ZRE. I have paddled with Kialoa (wood, hybrid, and graphite), Gillespe, etc. In my opinion the ZRE is so far superior that there is no comparison. In my experience the only people who don’t like it are the ones with closed minds and those that have never used it. I can’t help but believe that a ZRE would easily give you more than .5 seconds. Also because the shaft is stiff and the Power Surge face grips the water so well that in my opinion it takes less effort to get that explosive power needed to catch a wave. Also the light weight (mine is 10 oz.) makes it easier to get a high stroke rate. I find that a heavy wood blade uses so much energy on the recovery phase of my stroke that my power phase is reduced. Anyway, have you ever used a ZRE Power Surge blade? What are your impressions? Looking forward to your reply. Ashley

And my Reply

Hi Ashley, glad you enjoy the blog as much as I enjoy sharing the info and my experiences. I currently paddle Oc1 with a 50inch Kialoa Axel series 2 and I’m working my way up to a longer shaft length, as I believe you should paddle OC1 with the longest paddle possible without causing injuries. I do like the feel of a blade heavy paddle in the conditions I mainly paddle in (windy and downwind). It allows me to feel where to place the blade accurately at the point of entry without having to sight it all the time.

I have tried the ZRE PowerSurge with the flexible carbon shaft and hope to use it in an OC2 for the 404km Red Cross Murray River Marathon Race at Xmas. I think you will agree a flexible shaft ultra lite weight paddle will be ideal in still conditions over that distance, and much better for the old body.

I’m not convinced changing paddle types will make you faster in sprint races, as any correctly planted suitable paddle should anchor you to the water and allow you to pull the canoe past it with no or very little slippage. (see attached time lapsed photo)

Changing blade sizes during a long (3 hour+) race is something different altogether.

Checkout this trial Al Ching did with his son Danny Ching during a race.

Interestingly we conducted several tests over the course of a one-man season. Four tests were done with Danny Ching using a different size blade in successive races. The average test was an hour to hour and a half. The results were mixed, since we could not switch paddles in the middle of the race and each was not the same distance.

However, in a five hour Catalina relay race Danny and his partner Dan Barbosa both started with a 9 ¼” blade and averaged a little more than 8.5 knots for an hour. After one hour the average speed began to drop by a half knot, accompanied by the onset of shoulder pain. Switching to a smaller 9” blade, both paddler’s speed went up by more than a half-knot for the next hour, but slowly began to drop. At three and a half hours, they switched to 8 ¾” and both paddler’s speed went up by almost a half knot. At four hours fatigue took over and they could not change speed.

Using three sizes, 9 ¼, 9 and 8 ¾, we found that with the larger blades, two things happened. First the acceleration was good only for about an hour, then the speed slowly dropped. Switching to slightly smaller blades the speed went up, also only for an hour. After four hours, switching sizes didn’t matter.

What we did not test were the effects stroke rate as compared to size of blade. We suspect blade sizes are like shoes, which will tend to regulate your rate to where you can handle it. Some teams are extremely strong with great endurance and can use larger blades. Big blades pull more water, but I always suspect who is doing the pulling? If you plant your blade cleanly, start up front, without cavitating and maintain race pace through out, you should do the best you can for your condition and your strength.

End Document

Very interesting isn’t it.
You might also be interested in these paddles (see attached photos) by Michel Levasseur … Levas Paddles. I believe they are 9 inch wide and 7 – 8 OZ.

It’s good to experiment with different paddles, as it is with canoes, it broadens your knowledge and feel for what is available. But eventually you should settle on what you like and what works for you, swapping and changing too much will not allow you to adapt to the paddle.
Cheers Rambo

For a very detailed analysis of long vs short go here

Anyone else have thoughts on this?? Click Comments below.


Why I'm Changing Over to a Pegasus OC1

Sunday, July 22, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (13)

I recently trialled a Kai Wa'a Chinese made Pegasus (with super stiff construction and the new Ama and Iako's) at Hamilton Island in as many varied conditions as I could, and have this to say about why I have changed over.

Firstly, a few things i found that the Pegasus does better for me (note i said for me) than the Hurricane. I’ve paddled Hurricane for 3 years now and love it, but at 54, I have found that I’m slowly losing my short explosive strength to pull onto some critical bumps that i need to get onto, to stay competitive downwind. After trialling the Pegasus in downwind conditions i have come to the conclusion that it drops in sooner, with less effort than the Hurricane and doesn’t need to be ridden as aggressively to achieve the same result. It’s also more responsive to rudder input and also seems to glide better in small clean ocean swells. Upwind and flat water the Peggie is on par with the Hurricane. (again my opinion, from my trials)

Centre of balance (cockpit) of the Peggie is slightly further forward than the Hurricane and rudder is 15” further forward. These two things explain the downwind differences but don’t appear to effect the flat performance much.

End result is my race times should improve because I’m moving to a canoe that covers my weaknesses in the type of ocean conditions that i now race in.
Yes, i could also do explosive strength exercises or gain more downwind skills, if i was 15 years younger i would probably take that option.

I’m not loyal to any one brand, I'm just trying to minimize my race times in all possible ways, including smart, results based training and skills, as well as, canoe selection.

I think, it’s a smart equipment choice for me, that will result in faster times and more comfort in the longer races. The Hurricane will remain with me, we’re been through a lot together over the last 3 years, actually i keep all my canoes.

Time will tell if i made the right decision, I’m confident i have.

Don’t forget my decision was based on where I paddle and the ocean conditions I race mostly in. If it was a flat water decision, i would have stuck to the Hurricane.

BTW i also found the Fuze to be very similar to the Peggie downwind, but the way the volume is placed in the Fuze makes it feel slightly slower in the flat, but i have not confirmed this in a "one on one" trial. FuZe is awesome for comfort though.

Different boats for different conditions for different people .... it's not an easy choice is it?

Cheers Rambo

What do other Pegasus paddlers think of the canoe, or my reasons for changing?

Please comment below.

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Hurricane Setting

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (6)

Here are the recommended settings for the Hurricane.

Remembering the Hurricane is a stable Canoe anyway, everyone does have their own theories but basically here's how the Canoe is rigged for different conditions :

1. Tippy Conditions: Ama side

When conditions are rough or very windy, you usually have the front Iako into the Ama on the high numbers 5 or 6 and the back at 3 or 4 that is really stable chasing big runners and heading into cross chop. Iako into Canoe, the plastic sleeve on 4th or last groove from the right.

2. Smooth Downhill Runs

Ocean conditions with following seas but not really rough conditions. Again you can experiment but try 4 , 5. or 6 at front again and at the back try 2 or 3 Iako into Canoe try 3rd or middle groove.

3. Sprint

To level the Canoe out Opposite to Tippy Conditions. Low numbers at the front Iako into the Ama eg 1 or 2. Back 1 or 2 as well. Iako into the Canoe 1st or 2nd Groove closest to the Ama.

Cheers Rambo