- It is said that surf skis are safer than sea kayaks because they can be easily re-mounted, and do not take on water. Yet I have heard of recent incidents where the capsized paddler was unable to re-mount in rough water. Are skis easy to remount or not? Easier to re-mount a ski, or roll a sea kayak?
- Can a skier render assistance to a skier in the water in rough conditions, and help him re-mount? How?
- Can a ski be turned upwind in strong conditions as well as a sea kayak? Do you lean the ski, as you would a sea kayak?
1) The tippiest surfskis take practice to remount but it is a little easier to learn to remount than rolling. Although, I found learning to roll a sea kayak was easier than it was to learn to paddle a high end surfski comfortably in conditions so most people will be doing a lot more remounting than rolling. Other than in surf I’ve never unintentionally tipped over in a kayak but I’ve fallen off a ski a few times in open water.
That said, the “stable” surfski designs are easier to learn, easier to remount, and faster than just about any sea kayak and since they’re designed to surf fast, they’re fun in a following sea. Surfskis with lower sides are very easy to remount compared to the deep bucket tippy skis like the Mako Mil.
Either way, neither a sea kayak or a surfski is safe if you don’t practice rescueing yourself.
2) A ski can render assistance to another ski by rafting up side by side. This generally requires that skier that isn’t foundering to have good balance as I’ve noticed that stationary skis seem to want to ride beam to a sea.
3) As long as you’re making headway and your rudder cables are intact you can turn upwind pretty easy. However, skis are usually high volume designed for big guys paddling downwind so lightweight paddlers will get blown around more. There are a few lower volume skis around. Huki has the S1-A for lightweights.
Scombrid’s observations are very accurate from this ski paddler’s experience as well. Skis are at their least stable when static. As one friend always says: ‘Think like the shark; keep moving.’ I’d add to this that ski paddlers tend to be in the higher performance/fitness/racing echelon. Paddling a FSK of similar performance (ie: T-Bolt, Vampire, etc.) generally means it has about the same stability as a ski, or lack thereof. That said, I’d rather be in my ski for ease of remounting alone. Having a roll, and having a completely bombproof roll in all conditions are two different things-aside from a swim due to inattention, etc. getting knocked over generally comes about due to the conditions being big enough, confused enough, to make any type of rescue at sea not exactly a walk in the park.
While my EFT is more stable than my ski, I feel more confident on my ski in bigger water for the self rescue factor alone. I can roll the EFT easily, assuming I have some advance warning I’m going over to hook my knees under the coaming; with the wide open cockpit, the problem is falling right out of the boat, even with the thigh straps attached. In the event you do come out of your SINK, then you’d better hope you have bulkheads, float bags, etc. and good luck dumping and pumping with the bilge in any kind of dumping sea.
That said, throwing both legs over the sides, pontoon style, and rafting up with other skis, are the best means of performing rescues. The tried and true ‘t’ rescues, etc. are possible but beware the lightweight layups when dragging fully loaded boats across your deck.
As noted, practicing remounts are essential, both cowboy and sidesaddle to respond to upwind/downwind conditions.
you read that on p.net
"It is said that surf skis are safer than sea kayaks because they can be easily re-mounted, and do not take on water. "
It shouldn’t take long for you to learn how to roll a sea kayak reliably. And once you learn it takes far less time to roll a sea kayak than to remount a surf ski.
Depends on paddler and conditions
Re-entering a ski in rough water is easier than re-entering a sea kayak in rough water, but rolling a sea kayak is easy, and it’s also easier to avoid capsizing the kayak in the first place. So ike everything, it depends.
Just for example sake;
QCC 700 SOT
capsize likelihood difference?
Why is it easier to avoid capsizing a sea kayak than a surf ski? I would think some kayaks are easier to capsize than some skis, and vice versa.
In a kayak, you can high brace - which would be beyond the point of no return on a ski. The body - boat connection in a kayak is stronger - hips, knees, feet, skirt; all give you a greater connection to the boat in a lean.
In a ski, you have gravity holding your butt in the seat, and your feet /heels in the wells. That’s pretty much it.
And some SUVs are faster
than some sports cars. But by and large, skis are narrower and tippier than sea kayaks and more challenging to paddle in the rough.
What I’m picking up here…
As with any boat, practice rentry in various conditions. Makes sense to me.
I’ve been reading this with interest because I’ll be getting a Mako XT shortly. My plan is to get out and paddle it, then fall off. Then try and get back on and paddle again.
Expect lots of questions from me in the future!
That’s pretty much how it’s done. By the time you’re really good at re-entering, you’re also good at not falling off.
The Positive Side
is that like learning how to roll, once your remounts on a ski are non events, you’ll have the self confidence to go looking for bigger conditions, and will hang around powerboat wakes like a flea on a dog.
Depends on your definition of “safety”
skis in cold water
how do you dress? i would hate to be remounting in our cold waters very often. do you mostly wear dry suits?
It depends . . .
“1) It is said that surf skis are safer than sea kayaks because they can be easily re-mounted, and do not take on water. Yet I have heard of recent incidents where the capsized paddler was unable to re-mount in rough water. Are skis easy to remount or not? Easier to re-mount a ski, or roll a sea kayak?”
I don’t know how to roll a sea kayak, thus for me, certainly getting back in a ski is a lot easier than rolling a sea kayak. LOL! Sorry, I’m not much help on this question, but the reality for me is it’s easier to get back in my ski than my sea kayak if I’m out of either one.
“2) Can a skier render assistance to a skier in the water in rough conditions, and help him re-mount? How?”
Absolutely! I’ve been in that spot frequently. Not as the one rendering assistance, but as the one being assisted by another ski paddler. Piece of cake! Line up bow to stern, just like in a sea kayak rescue, the rescuer leans on the ski while the swimmer hops back on. I forget how many times we did that on Barnegat Bay one day, but it was a whole lot.
“3) Can a ski be turned upwind in strong conditions as well as a sea kayak? Do you lean the ski, as you would a sea kayak?”
Yes, followed by no. That is, yes I turn my V10 Sport a lot easier than I turn my CD Solstice, probably because of the placement of the rudder. No to the leaning of the ski, at least for me right now. I’m still on the learning curve and a lean results in a swim for me, although I’ve seen two friends of mine repeatedly lean skis over and have absolutely no difficulty with them whatsoever, so the answer is really yes to the lean, but I don’t have it yet.
it depends how cold it is. i paddle skis, pretty much exclusively, up here in MN. if i am going out on a day when the wind is whipping up good waves on a big lake, i will wear a drysuit if it is below 40F or so. on the other hand, i have paddled many times when it was in the low 30’s with just drypants, a hydroskin vest, a silkweight capilene shirt and maybe a shorty top, when i was on flat water and very confident i wasn’t going in. i go out a lot when it is in the 40’s or low 50’s with just hydroskin shorts and vest, sometimes with the capilene silkweight shirt underneath.
the thing with skis is that once you are reasonably proficient, you can get back on so fast it almost doesn’t matter how cold it is. case in point- a couple of weekends ago i was paddling on the mississippi in lake pepin on a low 60’s day, with the water still probably in the 40’s. it was blowing pretty hard and there were excellent waves, and i was wearing just hydroskin shorts and a silkweight top, because i was working pretty hard. at one point my paddle twisted in my hand, i caught a crab, and i was in the water. about 5 seconds later i was back on the boat, barely having even registered the temperature of the water. no problem, no risk (i use a leg to boat leash, btw- essential for windy days). the next day my daughter and i went swimming in the mississippi, and i was acutely conscious of the fact that it was still pretty damn cold (so was she, although she wouldn’t admit it for the world- i think turning blue and shivering uncontrollably were the clues to get her out, yes?)
all of which to say that you can “underdress” on a ski without a problem, as long as you have spent the time to be confident in your remount.