January 9, 2012 Photo: J. Chandler

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Two Hour Bark Surf 'n Paddle

Launched from New Brighton and made a "speed" run (I use the term loosely) up to the Sewer Peak channel. I tried to paddle hard the entire way, no resting and keeping my breathing going. The idea is to do a "sprint" (again, the term used loosely) for half the total distance (about 3.25 miles) and then a more leisurely but paced paddle back to the state park. But essential in the second leg of the paddle is a stop at Sarges to practice surfing the big Bark in the waves which are useful as "simulated" open ocean bumps as well as real surf if the race course happens to come in or go out through a shore break. When the surf is really small, about one to two feet, the waves just roll in and break gently over the reefs before reforming and backing way off near shore. It's perfect of practice surfs on the Bark.

The challenge is to stay dry. My first attempt, several paddles ago, yielded an almost instant dunking in the cold water. My second and third days at it proved much more successful and I'm starting to feel almost comfortable on the difficult to control 12-6 Bark Competitor. The secret is to keep the nose up and out of the water. As soon as the nose digs in it wants to go where ever it wants to go and it ain't tellin' where that is. Learning the hard way seems to be my forte, therefore the early attempt dunkings. But now I've got it a lot more wired.

The Bark does not turn like a surfboard. Don't lean it over on rail, it's not gonna work. Rather keep it straight, or at least if your angling across the wave keep that in a straight line and ever so gently weight the rail in the direction you want to go and use the paddle to set some drag. I haven't figured kicking out yet, preferring to straighten out into the white water while paddling furiously to maintain some speed so as to not bog down. When the surf is like it was today the wave hits deeper water between the rock reefs and just drops out from under you. Then it's easy to paddle in a nice long arc and head back out to the line-up.

I'm trying out Sports Tracker as an alternative to EveryTrail for a while. It puts up some simple to read data and gives me a rough guide on how I'm doing. But I think the best measure would be respiration and heart rate, which they sell as an accessory. Well, heart rate anyway. Monitoring that and having it to look back on would be a clear indicator of how hard I was working. I logged two workouts today, but for some reason (probably operator error) it didn't upload the first workout, only the second. Of most interest to me was the maximum speed attained, presumably while I was riding a wave. It posted 19.6 mph. I'm not sure I actually believe that though.

Beautiful day today. Nights have been chilly and because I track weather data I know that our nights in June are averaging six degrees below normal so far. They averaged two degrees below normal for the month of May. But the good news is that May was a half degree warmer than normal. Not true for June so far, but I think it's going to be a clear and sunny month with plenty of warm afternoons. I hope so.

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