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Getting past ocean breakers

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby bragnouff » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:12 pm

I'm typically lying on the middle/back of the board holding the upper rail with my front hand and using my forearm and elbow to keep the board angled just enough to keep the foil in the water, downwind of you. Really need the foil to be engaged when bodydragging in onshore winds, as that's the only thing that will help you point further. Steer the kite with your rear hand, small sine in the quarter wind window, and try to get a spike of power when punching through a wave. Sometimes you'll need to duckdive, and you have to make sure you point straight at the wave, and that you have a good strong grip on the board rail so as to make it through the wave as one solid block with your board. Also you don't want to be pushed back by the wave while your kite is weakly flying low at the edge of the window, as this will make it fall in the water. Recover with harder steering or a loop, despite losing some ground on that occasion.

Eventually you'll find a gap in the sets that lets you start. Your board should already be in the right position and direction after your bodydragging, and this will let you be more reactive to opportunities.
Sometimes it doesn't work, though, and you'd have to admit defeat. I typically allow 3 attempts before calling it quits. Once you're finally safe at the back, take a well deserved rest.
Going from 90cm to a 75cm mast helped me a lot, and practice, practice...

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby OzBungy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:52 am

You need to master every kind of body dragging technique so you can quickly adapt to whatever is happening. Board under either arm. Chest or laying on the board. Board flat and arm out straight following the board. You want to be able to do whatever you need to do in the instant you see an opening.

Duck diving is a useful skill. It's more of a duck your head and follow the board under the wave but it can work pretty well.

A slightly larger kite can be very helpful. You can't drag out if you don't have power. That is a bit of a judgement call. Often big shore break days have a lot of wind so you might prefer a smaller kite once you get out.

Short masts are a two-edged thing. It is much easier to get going in shallow water with a short mast, but you're more likely to get knocked off when you hit a wave. I rarely use my 70cm mast preferring to work harder with my 95cm mast.

Patience is essential. You might have to wait a while for all the conditions to line up.

I have a couple of secret launch spots where I can sneak out in the shelter of a rock wall before water starting and riding away. One of those spots has a sand bar that projects out with a gutter next to it. I can walk out then drag across into the gutter, so understanding your spot is important.
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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby plummet » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:44 am

Ps. Practice in smaller stuff and work your way up. It gets pretty dangerous in bigger surf. You need you sort your exit strategies out before you take on big surf. Say shoulder height +.

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby SpaceRacer » Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:50 am

Really good tips. Thank you!

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby Strekke » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:44 am

Also consider the gear risks. A big wave pushing you to the beach in light onshore foilwinds can send your kite hindenburging down in the dumping shore break and could destroy your kite. Lose the foilboard in the same washout and it can get slammed on the beach by the shorebreak as well. Could become an expensive attempt of a session!

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby K-Roy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:15 am

What others said before me...
My home spot (Taiba) is challenging to say the least to get past the shore break.
For this reason I ride a pocket board so it's less surface for the wave to push it back.
I hold the foil under my arm, body drag and duck dive. (initiate with my head) when opportunity comes I lay on the board with my arm and try to get some speed. I find it better to drag a little further as the white water can surprise me at the worst possible moment.
During duck dive, hold the foilboard with all you got and try to keep its edge pointing into the wave.
Kite at 45° most times, but try to swing it dow from 90° to 45° before you take a big one on your head.

Start small and build up stamina, some times it takes a lot out of me by the time I get out.
(helmet & impact west I would recommend)


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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby bohme » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:41 pm

It is not easy.
I made a video of a shore break attempt from last year. It is very long, as I do not expect other to be interested.
I can only add to what already has been written, that you need to paddle as much as you can with your feet. I did not do that in the video.
For me the most important thing is to hold onto your board, so is goes straight through the shore break, and acts as a centreboard so the kite can pull you through.

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby jumptheshark » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:02 pm

OzBungy wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:52 am
You need to master every kind of body dragging technique so you can quickly adapt to whatever is happening. Board under either arm. Chest or laying on the board. Board flat and arm out straight following the board. You want to be able to do whatever you need to do in the instant you see an opening.

Basically this.

Foil boards are cumbersome enough that there is no one way to go about it and rather you need to be able to handle the board in a multitude of ways always keeping the wings and board perpendicular to the swell in order to pass through the lines of swell most easily. More often than not, my board ends up with at least one re-orientation while heading out from a beach. The sketch factor is present every time.

Mastering the single quick " up and outta there " probably the next most important bit.

Also: Choose your path and moment wisely.

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Re: Getting past ocean breakers

Postby cwood » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:01 am

Starboard tack example, I lie with head and body pointed dead into waves, board on its rail down wind of me (like spooning) with right hand on bar with kite out over the board rail, and the left hand holding a front strap with elbow braced against deck, elbow at right angle.....this keeps board on edge and mast almost horizontal. This means all wave penetration is as sharp as it can be, board nose, mast and wings all penetrate and firm grip on footstrap makes it easy to hold onto. Body and board act as keel and resist the kite. At the right angle of attack to the wind you can make very good progress. Between waves I dip the wing more down for keel like effect, when wave comes, more horizontal and so on. Has worked just about everywhere including Hatteras shore break. Like other say, watch for patterns of lulls in size and choose your moment. Test for depth with feet, when you feel deep enough, go for a bit longer to be sure....don't get greedy. Also useful to practice starts with mast at 45 degrees or shallower.

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