After a brief respite, the upper level low pressure trough has reinstated itself with a vengeance. The marine layer increased from less than 1000 ft. to 1500 ft. to 2000 ft. this morning. All this accompanied by gray and gloomy skies so heavy with moisture that the drizzle drenched streets and cool temperatures give the impression it's January, not August. The effects of climate change and La Nina no doubt.
Wednesday (August 17, 2011) was the longest paddle I've made without a rest while keeping up a steady pace. It tracked at 8.6 miles and took an hour 56 minutes. Average speed, 4.4 mph. I decided to go the extra distance on the spur of the moment a mile off Capitola. I don't usually carry water with me on the shorter (less than about seven mile) paddles. In retrospect this wasn't the end of the world but it would have been better had I had some hydration with me. The sea surface was perfect for paddling, calm with a light bump and at the end I was happy with my speed. Paddling the longer distance with more time between waypoints gave me the opportunity to really concentrate on paddling technique. This is one of the reasons I don't listen to music while I'm paddling. I want to think about and be aware of what I'm doing and what's going on around me.
Contrasting the 8-miler with Friday's (August 19, 2011) 6-miler was interesting in that I was able to cover the 5.6 mile round trip from New Brighton to Sewer Peak in an hour 13 minutes at 4.6 miles per hour. This was a surprise to me because I felt more relaxed on the shorter trip, i.e. wasn't trying as hard so I thought I would be slower. It could be that my efficiency has improved, but that doesn't make sense, it had only been two days. Or it could be that I slowed way down at the end of the longer distance paddle due to fatigue, loss of form, stuff like that. That seems more likely. At any rate, it does appear that the paddling practice and time spent on the water coupled with paying attention to good technique as I understand it is improving my speed and efficiency.
Jeff Ching's advice to keep your paddle in the water and your paddle shaft vertical make a lot of sense when you think about them, especially out in the water as you "watch yourself" paddle. Those two statements probably sum up the entirety of good paddling technique. Add in his third statement, "the faster you paddle the faster you'll go," and that's all you really need to be a good and fast paddler.