Tired of swimming

I bought a used CD “Speedster” in the Fall and now that the ice is finally off, I’m trying to master it. Should they have named this kayak the “Tipster” or am I just a very slow learner? Any suggestions on speeding the learning curve with this kayak? I’d rather paddle than entertain my buddy with my sudden dismounts and strained attempts to climb back on. After paddling my 65 pound WS Epic I’m looking forward to the improved speed this boat should provide. Thanks for the help.

Speedster has a reputation for
tippiness even among surfskis, which may be part of the reason it didn’t seem to catch on much. The only real advice I can give is get a wing paddle (if you don’t have one already), work on your stroke form and braces (mostly low), and expect to do a lot of swimming for a while. It will come, but it may take a significant amount of seat time to get anywhere close to comfortable.

the speedster is a really notoriously tippy boat. you’ll notice that even barton, who designed it, never seems to paddle it in races (previously he used a Twogood Mako, now he has his own Epic ski). it’s no accident that you often see Speedsters available for very reasonable used prices.

anyway, like dlonberg said, get a wing, learn correct technique, and just keep trying. you’ll get a lot better over time, believe it or not. and then maybe you might want to consider trading that in for a somewhat more user friendly ski…


if alot of swimming
you can keep feet in water for stability this will slow you down of course.

start on flatwater until you are comfortable with that.

you can then progress to being perpindicular runs with and against wind. Gradually increasing wind speeds.

then practice with beam winds.

don’t get over your head keep a safe bail out.

use a paddle leash if wind over 15 knots.

don’t let go of ski if you fall off. don’t let go of ski if you fall off. don’t let go of ski if you fall off.

time in boat is the key.

don’t be discouraged you have a tipy ski. skis take time and yours is extra tipy.


What’s wrong with swimming,it’s exercise too.

staying up
What everyone said.

on occasion and as a learning tool, ever so slightly lean toward the side your paddle stroke is on, gives a two-point outrigger effect. you will eventually get rid of this (or significantly de-emphasize) because you don’t want that boat to rock, but it can be a learning tool on how your paddle stroke is an aid in your stability.

with the above you can learn to initiate a low brace at the end of your stroke when you feel unstable. you will inherently learn other bracing just by being out there

believe it or not, be aggressive, don’t let up at the sight of each wave. the speed of the boat, power/force of the paddle under a regular cadence all help stability. stop paddling and only your balance is there to keep you up.

practice in two feet of water occasionally, you will be less afraid of trying things if you can get back on easier. but also practice in and getting back on in deep water. this can be excruciating for a while and the reason for your post.

And, time in the boat, and time in the boat in wind and waves. Three years really… with constant improvement along the way. and that’s not long at all … !!

when swimming, hang on to that boat and paddle.

be safe, plenty of time later to take chances when you know better how to recover. always have a safety valve.

Here’s a couple things I have done to increase my stability in my ski.

Find a shallow/calm area (where you can touch sand with your hands). Throw your paddle away and really focus on breathing. Reach one hand forward to try and touch your foot and your other hand back along the ski. Focus on breathing not on the instability.

I felt like my weight was being transfered into the boat unevenly (bony butt on hard cockpit seat) until I put a 1/2" minicell pad in the seat (with sit-bone holes cut through half the thickness). It raised the center of gravity but made the boat much more comfortable.

You can paddle and build up speed then lift your paddle out of the water and rock side to side 10 times. Repeat to get a feel for the boats limits.

Of course you can stroke and then hold your body in ‘full twist’ as long as you can before stroking on the other side. Similar to the first thing I explained.

I agree with Canyak on being aggressive/confident. If you’re hesitant, you’re toast. I disagree about leaning toward the stroke side. My stabilty improved drastically when I learned to lean slightly away from the stroke side. It’s all about staying in the middle, but you have to compensate slightly for the body leaning toward the stroke side.

If you join http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kayak/ and go to the ‘files’ section, there’s a beginner hints file that has some good tips.

Also, go here: http://www.kayaksport.net and watch the videos and look at the drawings.

hey- are you going to come do the chattahoochee race this sunday? i’m using my ski. it would be nice to have another one there.


I wish
I’m in a wedding or I would. I also have to miss the Mississippi Race in Memphis the next week. I’m getting much more comfortable on the boat, however. Hopefully I’ve improved enough to take on open water a little better than last time! I think I have.

I see that you did pretty well…first in your division, right? Nice job! How many skis showed up?

The same weather that hit you guys came through here last week and was hitting me with 30mph gusts on the lake…the beam chop made stability completely absurd…but fun! Nice strong stable paddle into/with the wind, followed by 10 seconds of terror while trying to turn around!

just me
there were about 8 or 9 or us in the kayak/ surfski class. steve rosenau (canoenut) was there with his wood strip “Q 900”- we were neck and neck until near the end when he flipped. i did beat this one guy with a K1 who beat me last year, so I was pleased with that. finished about 10 minutes behind the winning K1. overall i was pleased. doing the canoochee race with my sea kayak this weekend- too shallow for skis i think.

when are heading down thsi way?