Mark about to get a shower
Tuesday Night Paddle - white capping sea provides excitment as Rob punches into it
This pic was taken by Rob Mercer on Tuesday afternoon when Wendy Stevenson, Mark Sundin, Rob Mercer and I used a 20 knot Nor Easter to blast our way to Malabar from Watsons Bay in two and a quarter hours.
With a bit of wild weather around latley I have noticed there are two ways you can paddle in the rough: Defensively or Offensively. When confronted with breaking seas, particularly following seas, the defensive paddler tends to let the waves pass under them or in a breaking sea braces into the waves. The Offensive paddler simply goes for it, paddling hard to catch every bit of movement in the water, big or small and apart from all the subtle control manouveres like edging and leaning rarely does anything other than the good old forward stroke. Paddling like this will occasionally have you reach a speed equal to that of the bigger waves and inevitably if you keep up the hard work you'll get an almighty ride that can be surprisingly long and fast, especially if you keep paddling throughout.
Admittedly it takes a lot of puff to keep paddling offensively so I wouldn't use such a high rate if I was facing a very big day. A sail can help in this regard as it can keep your speed up so only a few starter strokes are required to catch the rides - but beware, sail or not, once you do catch a big wave theres no getting off - its a classic case of eyes dead ahead, focus on where you want to be and go for it. I ususally aim to get shot out in front of the wave so fast that a few more strokes will get me onto the next wave, and the next, and the next again.