Author Archives: SurfskiNorthwest
The summer racing season is finally here! And this year, everyone is talking about the Gorge Downwind Festival (GDWF). The inaugural week of surfing, racing, and socializing will be the event of the summer, drawing an impressive host of domestic and international athletes the world over. As for racing, the iconic Wild Side Relay will be paired with a downwind singles race so ideal that it has been added to the 2015 Surfski World Series.
Here is a little video I made to promote the GDWF!
For me the Gorge has been a huge motivator for training. This year, my season hasn’t been optimal, four months out of the boat due to work and a brutal Idaho winter certainly wasn’t ideal summer preparation. But no matter how fit you are, it’s hard not to be fired up about downwind racing! While I may not physically be where I was last year, I still have the best gear in the industry. Thanks to Ocean Paddlesports, I am equipped to make the most of every session on the waves. As for what boat to paddle, Fenn Surfskies are the obvious choice for a summer focused on enjoying waves and kicking butt in one of the best downwind races of the year.
The entire Fenn line-up is downwind oriented. From the stable beginner Blue Fin, to the intermediate Swordfish, to the elite line of Fenn boats (including the SL, the Spark [for lighter athletes], the Glide [my boat of choice], and the NEW S! [the boat that won last year’s Perth Doctor and Peter Marlin, and just took gold in the 2015 Molokai Challenge]), every Fenn is designed to harness the power of the water and make it easier to ride runs effectively. Fenn surfskies allow you to surf longer, go faster, and ultimately enjoy your downwind paddling experience more than any other brand.
Ocean Paddlesports stocks the entire line of Fenn surfskies and will be out in force at the GDWF, but get your order in soon before boats run out!! OPS also carries the Jantex range, paddles known for being light weight, incredibly durable, and synonymous with superior quality.Finally, Ocean Paddlesports carries Vaikobi Performace Apparel. This new Australian company is making a huge splash in ocean racing world. If you are looking for high quality gear designed to help, “unleash the athlete in you,” then contact DJ or Ocean Paddlesports to outfit yourself today!
It’s going to be quite a summer and Ocean Paddlesports has everything you need to make it incredible. Surf, smile, enjoy the summer, and I will see you on the water in Hood River!
Today was delivery day from the latest shipment of Ocean Paddlesports skis & gear. Check out the SA river marathon K-1 – I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of them in the PNW – talk about good pricepoint! Also have a demo FENN ELITE-S back – the new top selling elite surfski! More Swordfish & Blue Fins are new in town – plus Glides and SL’s are in stock. Best deal going right now is a lightly used full carbon SL just in time for gorge season. Plus, check out these new Vaikobi PFD’s, made spec for ski & outrigger paddling. High visibility, great low profile design, quality details & construction – VAIKOBI is starting to set the standard for quality paddle specific gear!
Fenn Elite S 4/15/2015
by Steve Scoggins
This review reflects multiple paddles over a weeklong period in a variety of classic Pacific NW Bellingham conditions. I am not an elite athlete. I paddle for fun, fitness, and adrenaline when the weather cooperates. With the exception of the original “OG” Elite, I’ve paddled all the Fenn lineup at some point in the last two years. After having the pleasurable opportunity to paddle the new Elite S, I feel compelled to share the results.
Day 1, part 1
Monday. The ski was ready with a beauty queen appearance that any new boat has. The carbon layup is almost silly light. Wind on the bay seems about 15-20. The waves are at 1-2 feet. Going upwind was smooth and easy in the Elite S. The volume up front sheds the water perfect and makes for a very dry ride. The boat felt extremely stable for its size. Turning downwind, the forward rudder placement is immediately felt. I’ve always had to be pretty aggressive when turning into a wave, but the S just slips right into place almost effortlessly. After several out and backs the boat just felt more and more comfortable.
Day1 part 2,
Off to the lake to do intervals with the youth K1 program. The boat performed well on flat water. The seat and hump are pretty much ideal for allowing full rotation and unhindered leg drive. I’m liking this boat more and more.
Back to the bay for a torture session with Kirk and Morris. Kirk provided the unobtainable carrot while Morris followed along effortlessly giving me motivation and dishing out plenty of comedy. The wind was around 10- 12, which around here pretty much provides ” nussiance waves”….you know, waves that have the basic appearance, but really only provide a constant speed bump that you have to plow over…and over, and over, etc. In my opinion, these conditions are not ideal for this boat. If you find yourself constantly racing in 10-12 Kt wind, or in a location with limited fetch, I think the Glide or the Spark will yield better results.
Wednesday night race at Lake Whatcom. This was a nice test. Controlled environment, 3+miles , light breeze.This race is pretty hilarious mainly because of the short distance. It’s too long for a full on sprint, but not long enough to warrant saving any gas for distance, so basically it’s just plain weird….but really fun. The S poweredup really quickly in flat conditions. GPS showed 9.8 mph off the line. I couldn’t help myself and just burned as long as I could, providing a real nice wash for my friends. Regardless of getting dropped at the first turn, I still made a PR for the course. From initial appearance, I wouldn’t have guessed the design to be fast on flat water. Turns out, the hull design, mixed with the forward seat placement provides a perfectly trimmed out boat that makes a sweet waterline. Fascinating.
I wasn’t planning on a paddle. The plan was to do a short jog/run from Marine Park before the K1 program in the late afternoon. The wind picked up pretty good, back to 15-20, and Duncan pulled up. Its just pain fun to go for a paddle with Duncan, so time to suit up. The only gear I had was a drysuit. We paddled out into waves that were capping or just on the verge. This was a perfect opportunity to run the S on the beam. I can’t say enough about how stable this boat is. Not a twitch or pitch, no need to brace as you slide up and over the sideways waves. We cruise downwind for a little while, milking the bay for everything it’s got. As we turn back for the shore it occurs to me that I’m wearing a drysuit…..perfect for remounts in our cold PNW waters. The boat remounts super easily. The bucket is deep, but not crazy deep. The lack of hump and the stable nature allow for a sloppy remount, no need for precision here. Seriously, just get your butt back in and start
Party time. Weather is giving us some proper downwind conditions, 25-30kts wind, 3-4 ft waves(a few bigger here and there) Tide is slightly ebbing so the waves are right steep, but not scary steep. Shuttle is leaving for Larabee, but DJ talks me into paddling upwind to meet the group. This turns out to be a good idea. We go out along the wall….lots of rebound and washing machine like hay stacking waves. Did I mention that this boat is super stable? The S just plows right through all of it without a hitch. Once we turn downwind I fully realize what this ski is designed to do . The rockered bow knows exactly where to go. The seat placement is just right. The usual experience with my limited surfing skills is one of guessing where to put the ski on the wave. The S removes the guessing game. It just feels right. The rudder is effective no matter where you sit on the wave. No more accidental pearling to avoid broaching. Carve, turn, straight down, the Elite S is a surfing stallion. In conclusion, I can’t say enough good things about this boat. In the week after I took these notes, I found the “nussiance” waves much easier to power over. I still stand by my opinion that the Glide and Spark are better suited for that. Fenn has a boat for every skill, every condition. If you’re looking for a fast in the flats, super stable surfer, look no further. The Elite S is a perfect addition to the already awesome Fenn lineup.
Stability is referenced multiple times in this review. This is a very subjective thing. The author has spent many hours and miles in the Glide, Spark, and K-1, thus the stated stability is in comparison to boats of this caliber. The Elite S is not a beginner boat. Use common sense and choose your conditions/equipment wisely.
IF you are interested in renting a surfski for either of these two North American World cup races, please download form and return to secure your FENN surfski.
We will be driving a large trailer to both locations for you!!!!
THE 5 CAPES
Hello PNW Paddlers!
Dawid and I are running our 5 Capes Expedition again next year and we would appreciate it if you can pass this email on to ski paddlers that might be interested!
The goal of the expedition is to paddle around the five major ‘capes’ or points of the southern coast of South Africa between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Also we do as many millers runs and downwinds as we can when the wind allows.
It’s a 10 day ALL INCLUSIVE expedition. That means that all equipment, hotels, food and drinks are included. It’s 10 days worth of paddling adventures, coaching, millers runs, downwinds and more awesome places to paddle. It’s a small group, 6 max, and we run the whole 10 days ourselves.
Read the write up of last years trip here:
(I must mention that all of last years participants are returning this year!)
This year we will do two trips. What really works well is if a group of people who know each come together. That really adds a lot of value. (Ie A whole group of Bellingham guys). We would like to keep it to 6, nice and personal. As the first trip is already sold out we would like to get a group for the second trip.
Check in: Port Elizabeth
Sunday 22 March 2015
Check out: Cape Town
Wednesday 1 April 2015
ZAR 37,000 (about USD 3,500 based on today’s exchange rate). – just note that the price will stay quoted in ZAR.
This includes all accommodation, food, drinks, ski’s and paddling. Beside this all you need to do is book your own flights.
Interested/Questions? Please contact me directly at email@example.com
Recently the inaugural Canadian Surfski Championships was held on the beautiful northern tip of Howe Sound, BC. Though I wasn’t expecting a 100% downwind ripper, I was hoping for some bump. As it turned out come race day, the race was flat, but an amazing roster of international athletes were on hand ready to compete and it was a very well run positive event. As one top Aussie athlete said the day before the race “I’m an ocean racer, you get what you get, sometimes downwind, sometimes upwind, and sometimes flat”. That felt like good motivation to pull hard throughout the race.
Ah, but the start… here’s the video;
Not the best video, but also quite evident that it was a moving start line. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised that the start went off the way it did. Friends that race ‘the circuit’ say it’s very common in international races for the line to be pushed. Never the less, there has been a lot of chatter, griping, some hilarious finger-pointing, and even history digging, regarding this particular start. As a local hacker who is too slow, too old, etc… to race the international circuit, I can officially say I loved the start. All the US Champs that I’ve competed in have gone off with some degree of line-pushing & I’ll happily admit I like the starting-line jostle.
So, I asked Dawid Mocke what he thought of the start. He wasn’t at the race, so that gives him a little distance from this particular start. As one of the most successful athletes in the sport, strong paddling ambassador, and all around nice guy, I wanted to get his take on the status of race starts on the international circuit.
Q – What is the current race etiquette for racers bumping/creeping the start line in a mass start event?
Dawid – start etiquette – creeping start lines happen at all races everywhere in the world and are seemingly the rule as opposed to exception!
It seems more prevalent in water based starts and where racers haven’t been briefed ad nauseum about the procedure; where its evident that misdemeanors won’t really be policed and where the start line is very wide and loose.
Also where there is too much time spent trying to get a straight line and everyone on it.
You also need a very strong starter.
If you have a standing land based or standing next to your ski start its always much easier to get a clean fair start.
The best method I have seen for a start is Dean Gardiner’s where there is a small startline between two buoys with a front seeded line of paddlers and where everyone must pass through the buoys.
Big thanks to all the athletes, sponsors and race volunteers who made 2014 US Surfski Championships a huge success! It was the deepest and most competitive field in the history of the race. No surprise that three out of the top five overall finishers paddled FENN Surfskis.
We currently have our largest inventory of brand new and ‘barely used’ surfskis currently in Bellingham. Many prices have been reduced to help these boats find happy new homes, please contact us directly for more information. Currently we have;
Fenn Elite Spark
Fenn Elite Glide
Fenn Elite SL
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a demo opportunity or for more info regarding these end of season deals!
Looking forward to seeing many of you next weekend at Canadian Championships!
Whatcom paddlers, listen up! Ocean Paddlesports is proud to announce that Fenn athlete/sensation Jasper Mocke, will be in Bellingham this summer! Hailing from a family whose name has become synonymous with high performance surfski racing, Mocke is looking to continue his 2014 season dominance in North America. On August 20th and 21st, Jasper will be in Bellingham sharing his knowledge, passion, and expertise with the paddlers of the Pacific Northwest.
Over the last year in the international surfski scene, Jasper has been on a meteoric rise, proving he is the man to beat! In 2013, Jasper claimed several huge victories; two among them were the hotly contested Perth Doctor and the Cape Town Downwind. Building off his 2013 breakout season, Mocke, has really shown that 2014 is shaping up to be his year. So far Mocke has won three of the first four Surfski World Series Races, including the Doctor, the Mandurrah Duel, and the Defis World Cup. Mocke is also fresh off two victories at the South African Surfski Champs, winning both the singles and doubles category in Durban.
I personally, have learned volumes from Jasper. His flatwater technique, downwind surfing, and race day execution are second to none. And on top of raw physical ability, he also has a wealth of information to share with you about training, racing, and improving all aspects of your surfski paddling.
He has been one of my biggest inspirations over the last two years and as many of you saw in my post after my trip to South Africa, I learned volumes about racing and training from Jasper.
A lesson with one of the unstoppable surfski forces of 2014 is not something to be missed. If you are interested in joining one of his clinics on either Wednesday or Thursday (August 20th and 21st), please contact DJ.
Looking forward to visiting Bellingham soon!
This opportunity will fill-up quickly, please email DJ asap to get your name on the list!
Tentative Clinic Schedule
· Style: Private
· Price: $100
· 90min session
· Clinic Size: 4 people max
· Style: Group
· Price: $50
· 2hr session
· Clinic Size: 10 people max
· Style: Private
· Price: $100
· 90min session
· Clinic Size: 4 people max