What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Paddling , Rolling , Rescues , Surfing
User avatar
Mark Sundin
Posts: 966
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:29 pm
KAYAK: Expedition Kayaks Audax
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Mark Sundin » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:51 am

I ran an instruction session late last year for a bunch of new ski paddlers, and one of the major components was self rescue, or remounts. It's a simple enough technique, which can be mastered like most things with some diligence to practice, except, as I discovered, if you're just not physically capable.

Whereas in a kayak, with decklines and a an opposing brace point at my thighs, I'd back myself to rescue anyone, in a ski it's not quite so simple. Without resorting to a very undignified 'stuff them back in the boat' technique, it's basically impossible, if the person in the water doesn't have the strength of coordination to do half the work for you.

Prior to this session, I had always figured that if you're someone who is concerned about being 'trapped' in a decked cockpit, you should get a ski, 'because you can just climb back on', but I have now re-thought this position.

In a group, I think a less skilled, less athletic person is actually more likely to be rescued easily in a kayak.

How good do the ski paddlers on this forum think their remount is, in comparison say to their roll? When was it last really tested? In the 20 Beaches race this year in some pretty edgy conditions I saw a lot of multiple remount failures, and that event has an awful lot of very good ski paddlers competing. I'm asking because you just couldn't find another place on the web where there is bound to be substantial crossover.

Mark.

Camanche73
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 8:58 pm
KAYAK: point 65 XP18, guillemot, BTD Frej, North Sea tourer
Location: Somerville, vic
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Camanche73 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:32 am

I paddle both occasionally, and I certainly would consider the ski 'safer' in terms of recovery. My roll requires constant practice to maintain a relative and safe roll, as does other methods if self rescue. (Renter and roll) the ski, once I worked out how to remount, I don't need as much Time dedicated to it.
But I think the point is, whatever craft you are in, if you do not practice your self rescue methods, then that craft is not a safe option.

dru
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:22 am
KAYAK: Zegul 550; Perception Swing SOT
Location: Balmain Sydney
Location: Balmain Sydney
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby dru » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:25 am

For me part of the difference is that my ski is way Tippier than my sea kayak. As long as I am agile enough to remount, the ski is better.

Still, at this stage I don't take it into open water, and I'm very happy taking my sea kayak into conditions I wouldn't consider in the ski.

My fishing ski is more stable than both, happy to use it anywhere-ish, but the dynamic stability and handling characteristics are much better in my sea kayak.

Horses for courses.

Alliecat
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:58 pm
KAYAK: P&H Delphin 150
Location: Hobart
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Alliecat » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:11 pm

Just a thought - would thigh straps, or a quick-release lap belt, be a useful aid for the rescuer? That'd give the rescuer added stability and it'd be easier to assist the rescuee without tipping themselves in.

(I've never paddled a ski so I have no idea how easy or hard a remount is, but I know I can lean right over in my kayak to assist someone whereas I can't picture doing that in a ski.)

Cheers,
Stuart

User avatar
Mark Sundin
Posts: 966
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:29 pm
KAYAK: Expedition Kayaks Audax
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Mark Sundin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:05 pm

For the rescuer, it's decklines, no questions. To aid a remount, there isn't really a piece of kit that would help much, it's one of those body movement skills.

Dru that's interesting you have a confident remount, but wouldn't go out into bigger stuff on your ski. Your roll is consistent though & good enough for you to have confidence in rough water in a sea kayak right?

Camanche, what's the upper limit of conditions you paddle in your ski? Have you had to remount in anything on the edges of your ability?

I'm beginning to think that for us mortals, the kinds of conditions that would consistently see us coming off a ski are the same ones where the remount gets exponentially harder. A roll on the other hand, is equally tough/easy pretty much regardless of the sea state, as long as you're good enough to tune out the white noise of the rough water.

Rescuing someone without the rescue fit out on a good sea kayak is some job.

Camanche73
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 8:58 pm
KAYAK: point 65 XP18, guillemot, BTD Frej, North Sea tourer
Location: Somerville, vic
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Camanche73 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:18 pm

Good point mark,
I only use the ski in calm conditions. Why waste fun swell in a surf ski :)

dru
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:22 am
KAYAK: Zegul 550; Perception Swing SOT
Location: Balmain Sydney
Location: Balmain Sydney
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby dru » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:46 pm

No Mark, I wouldn't call my roll bullet-proof. But I'm just coming back from 12 months sabbatical recovering from rotator cuff. No doubt I'll be knocking on Rob's door again sometime soon.

At 6 weeks back in training its mostly the ski on flat water either training or racing. I expect I will be in the open at some point but it would be squads or racing.

The Zegul comes out for harbour training, happy with wet exit and remount in the inner harbour.

And I'm close to going fishing again in the fishing ski, in open water. No probs with the remount on a ski you could land an aircraft on.

My general point though, was if we are going to class a ski as less safe than a sea kayak, you should overlay design and stability into the discussion.

User avatar
mick M
Posts: 1298
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:54 am
KAYAK: F1 Skin on fraim Nortik navigator folding kayak tide race pace 17
Location: Eagle Poin Gippsland Lake
Location: Eagle Point Gippsland Lakes Vic
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby mick M » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:11 pm

I tend to think a fishing sot in the conditions wher you wold role of it wold be hard to re mount, espeshaly with fishing gear on bord. Even just to get one upright might be a hard thing to perform?

haresfur
Posts: 295
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:30 pm
KAYAK: Nordcapp Poly, Wilderness Systems Tempest 165, Yost Sea Rider folder, Pyranha H2
Location: Bendigo VIC
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby haresfur » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:47 pm

There's a T-rescue variation developed for low-volume Greenland kayaks (that often don't have decklines) that might be an option with a ski. It also works with whitewater kayaks. It's sort of a cross between a T and a cowboy scramble. With a traditional Greenland kayak you can't scramble onto the back deck without sinking the whole thing.

With a Greenland kayak you pull the kayak over your lap in an X to empty the water (they do have bloody big float bags, right? if not just wave goodbye). Obviously you don't have to do that with a ski. Then you hold the bow of the kayak over your lap and the person in the water climbs up from the stern until they can get their legs in and their butt in the seat - always a trick with an ocean cockpit. Then you push them off until they are floating. With a ski they could keep their legs out once they are sitting in the seat so they have a better chance of staying upright.

I have no idea if it is practical but it might be fun to play with on a hot day. Why don't they put decklines on skis?

indiedog
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:37 pm
KAYAK: Stealth 475
Location: Brisbane
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby indiedog » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:49 pm

Very long time since I've been in a sea kayak so will give my limited perspective. The fishing ski I use is the same as Dru's and I've been out in some very rough conditions north of North Stradbroke Island. I didn't feel unsafe at all in the ski but it was hard work to keep track of the breaking chop and swells. In seas like that I think I still could have remounted easily enough. I think the guys who go out in conditions like that are fairly sensible and use suitable craft and keep gear well organized and to a minimum in case of going over. One of the skis I own is a cow in strong winds with the bow always wanting to head downwind. It takes considerable effort to get it pointed where you want it to go. I'd consider that design flaw as something that would get me into trouble before a lot of other things.

There are guys who are a bit on the larger side who I know have issues getting back onto their skis. Some have included a webbing stirrup as part of their kit. The stirrup attaches to the far side handle and the paddler uses it to step up while pushing down on the near side. Seems to work for them.

The bigger the ski it seems the harder it is to remount as it sits quite high above the water. The wider it gets the harder it is to turn back over and also to put weight on the far side when trying to get back up and on. I still see guys who think bigger is more safe but not necessarily the case.

In summary for me right now I'm safer on my ski. I'd need to practice my rolls in a sea kayak to be comfortable in conditions where I'll happily go in the ski. Note I'm in a fishing ski with "some" deck attachments and suitable grab points. Mark if you are talking racing type skis with no deck fittings then I see where you are coming from. Hopefully everyone knows their capabilities before venturing into areas where they may find themselves in trouble.

dru
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:22 am
KAYAK: Zegul 550; Perception Swing SOT
Location: Balmain Sydney
Location: Balmain Sydney
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby dru » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:45 pm

mick M wrote:I tend to think a fishing sot in the conditions wher you wold role of it wold be hard to re mount, espeshaly with fishing gear on bord. Even just to get one upright might be a hard thing to perform?


Edit after a sleep.

Noting that I was talking about a fishing ski (not a simple plastic SOT) No, they are not hard to remount. No they are not hard to get upright. Largely speaking the fishing kit is not a problem either - as in risk areas (eg surf zone) the equipment is stowed (the top quality fishing ski's allow full rods to be stowed inside). If you do roll with lines out it is more of a flaff, but largely its a matter of remount then sort it out. Not as efficient as rolling a sea kayak up, but a lot easier than a wet remount in a sea kayak.

What is more difficult is remounting an ORS (Ocean Racing Ski). If we are to say a ski is less safe than a sea kayak we should surely consider stability of the particular vessel. Also, the conclusion came from a group not having luck remounting a ski. How did they go rolling a sea kayak?

Perspective.

User avatar
Mark Sundin
Posts: 966
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:29 pm
KAYAK: Expedition Kayaks Audax
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Mark Sundin » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:10 pm

Dru your fishing kayak is a bit special!

I'm not drawing conclusions, just asking. I have heard it said and repeated it too, if you think you'll have problems physically getting back into a kayak, then get a ski, because they're easier to remount. I don't say it anymore as a blanket statement, becuase even the entry level skis were a challenge to some people on the day. None of them were rollers, but I would argue that there are very few people out there woith good instercution who wouldn't learn to roll within a week or two. I honestly couldn't say that any amount of practice would make some people capable of climbing back onto a ski.

And, there are some elite, narrow skis that I find heaps easier to remount than more sympathetic hulls, simply becuase of the shape of the gunwales, so it's not as simple as the general stability of the hull.

Just interested to know other's views.

Mark.

User avatar
Rhysie
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:04 pm
KAYAK: P&H Cetus, North Shore Atlantic RM, Valley Sirona RM
Location: Sydney, NSW
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Rhysie » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:54 pm

I generally only paddle my ski on flat water. I have only taken it outside for a down winder twice, both times with my brother who paddles an Epic V10. The first time was in very mild conditions and I only had to remount once. The second time was a different story and by the time I had fallen in ten times I was really struggling to remount, one time took me about 5 tries. It's true that it is easier to remount a ski than get back in a sea kayak but I'm much less likely to have to get back into a kayak than have to remount a ski. Also as previously mentioned you can do an assisted rescue pretty easily in a kayak but it is much harder to help some one remount a ski. If I was on my ski I'm pretty sure that if I tried to help another ski paddler remount I would end up in the drink myself.

User avatar
Mark Sundin
Posts: 966
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:29 pm
KAYAK: Expedition Kayaks Audax
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Mark Sundin » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:38 am

Rhysie I reckon you've nailed it. When ski paddlers tell me their remount is bombproof, I always wonder how far they've pushed it. I think the 'simple, fast remount' for skis, and yeah I do mean ocean racing skis, is actually a bit of a calm-water myth.

User avatar
scratches
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:51 am
KAYAK: Valley Nordkapp, North Shore Atlantic, Valley Avocet RM
Location: Illawarra NSW
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby scratches » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:37 pm

Interesting discussion, never paddled a ski, but I have always assumed that when I have been in my Sea Kayak and have seen someone in a ski (normally overtaking me) that:

a. If that person went in they would not need a rescue because “it is so easy to remount” and
b. If that person did need a rescue it would be easy for me to come along side and hold the ski while the person remounted.

Do I need to re-think this? Is it reasonably easy to rescue someone who has come off their ski and cannot remount, when you are in a Sea Kayak?

User avatar
Mark Sundin
Posts: 966
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:29 pm
KAYAK: Expedition Kayaks Audax
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Mark Sundin » Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:25 pm

Yep, it's easy. Ski to ski is completely different if the person isn't strong enough to lift and twist into a remount.
And nowadays, ski paddlers dont necessarily have the SLSA background that they once did.

thegws
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:46 pm
KAYAK: Raider X and two skis
Location: Brisbane
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby thegws » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:01 pm

Barry Lewin (pro) remounting on a ski in solid conditions @6.00. Good example of how easy it can be...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QnvxG2DfiU

paullarry
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:24 pm
KAYAK: Panther kayak 2009
Location: United States
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby paullarry » Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:06 am

surf ski's are safer when far from shore. chase boats mitigate this. but i think knowing you can climb back on your ski means you can take more chances than in a kayak. however for the amateur paddler there is more to this discussion.
1. kayaks last almost forever. surf skis gradually become heavier therefore need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.
2. kayaks are more comfortable. all top surf skiers have various ways to reduce skin irritation from the skis.
3. kayaks are more adjustable for trim and comfort than skis.
4. kayaks are lighter given the same hull strength and are easier to repair.
*** bottom line - if you put enough time and effort and money into surf ski selection you will have the best ocean racer. but if you have a limited budget, are not competing for money and want to use the same boat for the next 10 years get a good racing kayak (for example a westside thunderbolt etc.

User avatar
TIMAX
Posts: 518
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:54 am
KAYAK: Valley Aqanaut
Location: East Sydney
Location: Sydney Australia
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby TIMAX » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:11 pm

paullarry wrote:2. kayaks are more comfortable. all top surf skiers have various ways to reduce skin irritation from the skis.
.


Hi Paullarry,
Can you expand on your point 2 for me please.
Just wondering what the difference with boat contact would be.

Regarding getting back on a Ski. For me personally i found it hard even on flat water. Fenn XT i think it was. Much respect for all of you who feel comfortable "outside" on a racing ski.
I did notice though last time i was out that there seem to be many more recreational width skis around. They looked like great fun in the small sand bar surf i was in. Not too tippy and with the lower , wider profile they looked like they would be easier to re enter. Any comments on these?

User avatar
Mark Sundin
Posts: 966
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:29 pm
KAYAK: Expedition Kayaks Audax
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: What's safer, a ski or a kayak....?

Postby Mark Sundin » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:43 pm

"They looked like great fun in the small sand bar surf i was in. Not too tippy and with the lower , wider profile they looked like they would be easier to re enter. Any comments on these?"

Yes, generally easier to remount once you're up, depending on the height of the gunwales, but no easier if you can't get up in the first place. One of the problems with the way the entry level skis have been marketed is the ease of remounting, but that's making an assumption on the physical abilities of the paddler. I've done some instruction lately with people who need a plan B & C, the surf ski world does tend to rely on Plan A, then repeating Plan A, then finally, exhausted, repeating Plan A.

As for skin irritations, please don't post photos, that's a wacky one.... ;)


Return to “TECHNIQUE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest