Surf Ski Session

It’s Tuesday morning and I’ve just got back from a fun little surf ski session. There’s nothing unusual about that as I’m always up to such things, but it’s nice to blog about them now and then. Today’s surf ski session saw light NE winds, temperatures just below 10ºC and a variety of water conditions.

Towards the Estuary

I launched from the beach outside our house and headed out through some messy surf. It wasn’t huge but it was big enough to break over the top of my head a few times. So, within a few minutes of starting I was soaked through and my woolly hat was dripping. The waves had swamped my boat too so the bucket was full of water. A pretty good way to wake up I guess. Despite not having a wetsuit on it wasn’t too cold.

Once beyond the waves there was quite a nice swell so as I headed towards the estuary. I caught a few of the bigger lumps for some nice wave rides as I zig-zagged along the beach.

Over the Bar

The tide was going out so I was paddling against the current. It also meant that as I got to the bar there were some almost standing waves to play on. The waves breaking over the sandbanks were hitting up against the outgoing tide which holds them back a little. I was able to catch them and sit on them for a while giving me the feeling of increased speed but without really going anywhere.

Surf Ski session in the Estuary

Once into the estuary the water was calm and smooth so I had a bit of a slog against the current as I paddled around the point and into the channels towards Ynyslas. It was calm, and peaceful here allowing for some super smooth paddling. I turned at the buoy and retraced my paddle strokes. I now had the tide working with me so the speed increased. Whereas into the current I was doing somewhere between 4.5mph and 5mph I was no doing anywhere between 7mph and 9mph. Needless to say progress was good as I made my way back out of the estuary and towards the open sea.

Back through the Waves

Once back to the bar things were decidedly choppy for a while as I was thrown around like a cork. The paddling certainly wasn’t smooth here. Bracing strokes were the order of the day but with the tide behind me I was still making good progress. Once over the bar the sea went calm with just a nice clean swell. The swell was from the NW so I was able to catch some nice rides in towards the beach. I then paddled back out and catch another as I zig-zagged my way back along the beach again.

To make things nicer the sun even came out now. I’m glad it did though as I managed to fall in at one point as a wave toppled me over. The sea is getting a little chillier now but with the sun shining it felt fine. If I’m likely to end up in the water for any significant amount of time I think I’ll need to start wearing a wetsuit soon though. It wasn’t long before I was back at the beach where I started from.

Surf Ski Heart Rate & Speed

It’s nice to take a look at the heart rate and speed analysis for my session too.

Surf Ski Session
Surf Ski Session Heart Rate & Speed

You can see from the heart rate trace that paddling in amongst the waves at the beginning and end of the session is more like an interval workout. I wasn’t trying to do intervals but the nature of paddling through waves and paddling hard to catch them makes it like one. The rest periods probably come whilst actually riding a wave in towards the beach.

By contrast, once I was in the calmer waters of the estuary my heart rated settle down to a much more steady output at around 115bpm.

The speed chart shows the difference between the first half and second half of the session too. Much slower on the way out as I was paddling against the current. The speed increased after the halfway point once I had the assistance of the tide. You can pick out some of the nicer wave rides too. These stand out as decent spikes in speed here and there where I hit close to 13mph. Similarly you can see where I fell in at around 5.75 miles into the session. Here my speed cropped to close to zero. Not quite zero as I would still have been moving with the current I guess.

All in all a fun little surf ski session. One other benefit of not wearing a wetsuit in the surf at this time of year is that the warm shower afterwards feels even nicer than usual.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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