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Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:52 am
by KneeloMaine
Hey y'all, kneelo here up in the frozen north of Maine. Getting back more into the water after a few years in Utah/Wyoming. So, majority of days are knee-chest high surf without much power or form in the waves. Still, see a small group of stand up surfers on tiny board getting awesome rides chopping back and forth off the back foot to generate speed and power, and are able to throw some pretty impressive hacks in garbage waves.

Given that you can't pump with the same degree of speed and with the same body english as when you're standing, what's the best technique for building speed on small waves? On the rare set with a smooth face when I get my GOOD WORD together and get up on the right part of the board, I can still pump up and down the face on my quad and build some speed, but feel like I'm missing something to truly unlock the speed here. Throwing arms/shoulders around while driving knee into the inside rail more?

And any tips on good quad fin setup for these waves would be awesome. Have a different Blast quad for the days when it's truly epic and just got a Softtech Torpedo to play around with when it really sucks (just got it, pulled the center fin out to make it a twin fin that's looser w/o as much drag) but ride this 5'8" Dean Cleary quad for the most part. Thanks!

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:43 pm
by southpeakbrad
Good question! Everything on a kneeboard is easier if you have some speed and small and gutless are the hardest conditions for kneeboarding (to me).
I think that a realistic expectation as to what you may be able to do is very important. You may only be able to get enough speed for one decent turn, or to make a section. Trying to get enough speed to allow you to trim nicely or link a couple of turns (without bogging down) would be something to shoot for. So, when taking off try to use the wave to your advantage. Try to take off right where it's breaking, or behind the peak, to maximize the steeper part of the wave. Similarly, when riding along look for those rare steeper sections where a properly timed pump may give you a little boost of speed.

Best of luck!
Brad

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:29 am
by gaz
Never ridden quad but imagining they should go well in less power situations. I generally don't worry too much about grinding off a heavy bottom turn when wave power, size and length is going to be limited. Stick to the top 3rd of the wave and do your wiggling up there. Best return for effort and you may end up with enough speed for a turn at the end. I started surfing in Perth so the formula was standard for anyone that weighed more than say 70kilos.

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:48 am
by KneeloMaine
Thanks for the feedback, all! Good stuff. I'm alright about staying up high on the wave, struggle taking off behind the peak though with limited success racing back out in front. Also realize that by not being able to wail your body around like a stand up surfer, expectations for generating speed in GOOD WORD surf are limited.

Nontheless, I think I need to get some new fins. I've been running these plastic Future Vector II's on my Dean Cleary forever and now that I'm getting back into surfing, am realizing that they're super stiff and not doing me many favors in small waves. A few pics of the board for reference:

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So, flatter board with good volume, fins pulled up pretty far and close together set near the rail. Thinking adding a flexier set of front fins with good base in the front would help a ton. Future is the only brand that seems to divide their fins into a more easily understood spectrum between speed generating and control, and it seems like those F4 Blackstix's, while pricey, would be awesome. Smaller, good foil and more flexy for building speed. Have NO idea what to pair these with in the back though... given the price on these I might just get the front pair, see how they feel, and go from there. Seems like getting an even smaller pair for the back would keep it loose, but the options seem endless and I'm not sure what to make sure of what to choose given where my fin boxes are now.

Anybody got suggestions for cheaper alternatives while I'm at it?

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:56 am
by southpeakbrad
Thanks for the pics! I think you're right that a smaller set for the trailers would be a great move. Possibilities may be endless but I'd opt for something small enough that you would definitely feel a difference. Not much downside to spinning out in GOOD WORD surf :wink:

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:51 pm
by gumby
Yank the trailing fins off and try it as a twin. I did that A few years back and it really helped me learn to use my rails. It did not transform my surfing but gave me something to do besides think how bad the waves were. It took the fun level up and made me look forward to my next wave.

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:30 am
by KneeloMaine
gumby wrote:Yank the trailing fins off and try it as a twin. I did that A few years back and it really helped me learn to use my rails. It did not transform my surfing but gave me something to do besides think how bad the waves were. It took the fun level up and made me look forward to my next wave.


Cool! Yeah I took the center thruster fin off of this Softech Torpedo I bought last week to take out in garbage surf since it was stupid cheap, and have ridden it as a fin the last two days:

SOFTECH_Torpedo_board_blue.jpg


We got a bump of long period swell this AM so ended up being shoulder-head high when I thought it was going to be knee-stomach, not having brought a leash because of that made for a few interesting swims back to the beach but when I got in the right position on the board it was SUPER fun, fast, and could hack so easily, turn sharp, and do little 180s in the whitewater. Could feel that the looseness of the twin was really forcing me to stay on my proverbial toes...

Anyways, ended up ordering two set of Ho Stevie! fiberglass/polymer fins for both boards since they were dirt cheap (Less than $25/set!) and have more flex than the honeycomb ones they make so hopefully a little more acceleration. The quads have G5 front/G2 back templates, so a bit of difference between the sizes of the fins which'll be fun to play with. And given that these'll be my first set of non-plastic fins, I'm pretty excited to see how they help the performance of both boards :).

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:45 pm
by southpeakbrad
Very cool. Let us know how it all pans out over the next couple of months.

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:52 pm
by Fossil Man
Welcome "Kneelo Maine" . The red Blast in your quiver shot looks familiar, is that the one that Scott from San Jose CA put up for sale maybe back in 2013 ?

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:02 pm
by Scott
Yes, Fossil Man, my friend. You did correctly recognize that board and it was exciting for me to see that it's still in use on the East Coast. Probably not the best board for any kind of gutless conditions (unless you're under 125lbs), but will shine in some of those head high point breaks we occasionally see in magazines and online pics.

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:28 am
by KneeloMaine
Fossil Man wrote:Welcome "Kneelo Maine" . The red Blast in your quiver shot looks familiar, is that the one that Scott from San Jose CA put up for sale maybe back in 2013 ?


It is indeed! Not a board I take out often but when the swell peaks for a day or two here that board comes to life and shreds!

Now just need a Stubb to complete the quiver ;)

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:13 am
by JACKSON
ill be in orland weds = fri probably no where to rent a kneeboard

Re: Technique for generating speed on gutless waves?

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:44 am
by knee-rider
Hi Kneelo Main I started reading your post late but would like to give you my two cents about riding small waves
I live and work in Italy and ride Mediterranean "whale farts" mushy and at times (when bigger from the Mistral wind) very foamy stuff
I totally agree with what was stated above -- anticipate your wave and get in when its peaking for a stronger drop and push from the start of the wave
But to me FINS are the single most important aspect of riding small waves-- my experience has been the smaller and lesser amount of fins and fin SURFACE area the better off you are.
To much friction involved with bigger and more fin area (like quads tend to have)
If I ride a quad I just keep the two front ones in small size 3" to 4" Max-- for the back set just use bites
Alternatively if the waves are just a tad bigger I switch my larger fins back and place the bites forward
I read somewhere that the SUM of your fins height equals the "true" fin size you are riding
Example if you have a quad and are riding 5" fronts and 4" backs-- it would be like placing a 18 inch fin bellow you (an exaggeration) but it gives us an idea on what huge drag can be created bellow a board that is relatively short in length
I also agree with what is stated above-- less fin area forces you to learn how to use and maximize better the rail of your board witch is the most important part of the board in contact with the wave face
But Main just remember that us folks stuck in small mushy waves when we get back to more normal Pacific conditions we KICK Royal Ars because we come from crap and learn how to make the best out of crappy waves and their weak energy created
lets not forget that some of the greatest surfing names came out of the East coast Kelly Slater and Brad Domke -- go check him out on you tube and just see what amazing things this nut case does with a skim board-- all coming from mushy crappy waves and now attacking huge powerful swells around the world :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: