Explain perling


Can someone explain the term “perling”? When it happens and why it happens and how to avoid it? I know it has something to do with burying the bow of the boat.

Thanks, Bub

It generally happens wheh you’re surfing a wave, and your bow burys itself in the wave in front of you. In whitewater, this is done intentionally, and you then work on controlling how far you bury the bow, and even work it up to maneuvers like endos, pirouettes, and a bunch of new-school moves. It’s fun.

In a sea kayak, it’s a bit more complicated. You’re likely to pitchpole if you catch your bow on the bottom (Been there, done that, OUCH!), or if you allow the boat to pearl too much in really steep seas. Personally, I like to get green water right up to my coaming, and then pull out of the pearl by leaning back & digging may paddle in to slow the boat down.

The key to avoiding it is to be ready to slow the kayak & lean back if your bow burys too far. In some kayaks, like both my Caribou & Recluse, it’s going to happen fairly frequently, so you have to adapt & learn to work with it. Other kayaks will behave differently. It’s only a big deal if you can’t control it.


I haven’t had to deal with
pitchpoling yet. I do feel that my sirius may have a tendency to approach it fairly fast. I do have to lean back often in steep following seas.

Hmmm…maybe my next lesson should be in pitchpoling hahahaha


The mad grammarian
strikes again:

perling is a knitting thing;

pearling is what kayaks do.

Sanjay, the “I know, I know, I make plenty of mistakes too” self-appointed mad p.net grammatical finger-wagger, thrilled successfully to have used a semicolon and colon in the same sentence, and to have avoided splitting an infinitive : )

is that like …
diving for oysters and cracking them open? ;p

It’s when the boat takes a big nose dive into the water. As stated above, usually when surfing

I’ve seen some suf yaks with an extended “hammer head” deck to prevent this. Not sure if that’s a good idea or not.

actually that’s exactly what it is…
The term came from surfers who used to make the joke of “hey, are you going pearling?” when the surfboard buried in the water causing the surfer to flip.

Now it makes sense!
I always wondered how big wave paddling had anything to do with jewelry. This is a definite V8 moment for me.

Correct .

– Last Updated: Jun-14-05 11:04 AM EST –

Derived from the very old surfing term "Pearl Diving".

Actually leaning back is pretty useless when you are really pearling on a good sized wave. It's more efficient to turn into the breaking wave and really put the boat on edge, pulling your knees up to your chest to set up, falling sideways bracing (keep elbows in). If you do it right you will turn the pearl into a messy bottom turn.

Go on edge and unload the water pressing down on the bow.


Well I was 'way off
I thought it was “purl”, as in the action of stabbing a knitting needle into fabric.

Like this ?

Man, this P-net board is gettin to be…
… like a William Safired (sic) column.

(I like it!)

On Paddled Language (Or not)


When your Greenland stick in frantic purling

weaves wildly in space as you’re sent hurling

from your seat before the water’s whirling

upon the wave face of pitch-poled pearling

The forceful ejection over coaming

down to the bottom sends you roaming

where you spy in sub-aqueous gloaming

pink-striped clams from past helmet combing.

composes(or posts)withduckhead

Hang jive, y’all.

Short boat in surf
is different from long boat in open water, though. You’d have to work at it pretty hard to pitchpole a long boat outside. And even in surf in the long boat, leaning back will often solve the problem.

When My SOF
pearls and about ready to pitchpole in the surf zone, the only way to save from a wicked trashing is to throw myself to the side closest to the wave. If I am fast enough, I end up in side surf, as opposed to a faceplant. Pearling happens more often than not in my SOF. I don’t surf long boats at all, except on a beach landing. It just don’t have the same fun for me anymore as do a surf boat.


Nice Photo … but not pearling
He’s doing an ender on purpose… a cool way to get off the wave. Pearling usually happens when a steep wave comes up from behind and you take off and start surfing perpendicular down the face of the wave, the bow plows under the surface and the wave lifts the stern of the boat. Two things usually happen if you do not lean the boat on edge. The nose continues to dive like a submarine submersing the deck, the kayaker instinctive lies back and jets about 200 gallons of water up their nose as they go under. Scenario two is the wave pushes the stern to the vertical and throws the kayaker head first, hopefully not in shallow water or it’s possible to hurt your head or break your neck. If you look at the boat in my profile it has the word “damaged” decaled on the front of the boat, it was smashed and repaired by the previous owner, this model of surf kayak really likes to pearl, so you have to take off at a slight angle on every wave unless you want to become a crash diving submarine.

Low volume bow?
Probably a function of the design of that boat and the type of the wave you’re surfing, yes? I’ve recovered my Scupper when about the front third or a little more of the boat was underwater, but that’s in messy, mushy windswell breaking all over creation as opposed to cleaner, steeper surf.

Now this is exactly why
one should not bother getting on one’s high horse–I had seen it spelled both ways in knitting contexts, perl and purl, most recently in a knitting supply store just last week, but a dictionary check shows that only “purl” is correct. I apologize for spreading bad spelling!


'Cuda AKA The Pearl Jam Man
At least one guy stills calls me that…

Low Volume All Around!
only got about 1.5-2" of freeboard.


I’m disappointed…
…you couldn’t work “gunwales” in there somewheres…