Technique - Surfing –riding the wave (Taking pace)
A racing cyclist takes pace by placing himself, right behind the other racing cyclists, to reduce wind resistance. A paddler uses taking pace to reduce the necessary effort.
By keeping the kayak positioned correctly on the wave from an other kayak, you can ride the wave and surf down hill all the way. It reduces the necessary effort considerably.
The effort it takes to follow up is reduced considerably, and on top of that, there is also the psychological effect of "keeping up".
The kayak creates two waves which are relevant; there is the stern wave behind the kayak and the broadside waves, which are the most important. The best way of riding the wave is to place your own kayak next to the leading kayak.
To obtain a good and effective pace one needs a lot of experience and pracise of steering, it is therefore important to choose a kayak with good steering qualities. That's why it is easier to take pace in a racing kayak than in a touring kayak.
It's taken for granted that "riding" is a part of any marathon race. But this is not the only reason why it ought to be part of the daily training, it is also a way to practise ones steering- and balance ability and it is a fun way to collaborate with ones friends.
Goving on a common tour or at daily training paddlers with different states of training can join in a group together and all can preform to their ability. It is just at matter distributing the work among the participants. Using "riding" gives you the opportunity to paddle with various paddlers.
The things that matter the effect of "Riding" are:
The type of the leading kayak
The weight of the leading paddler
The depth of the water
The wind conditions
The more streamlined the kayak type is, the less wave it creates, but under all circumstances the waves build up when the speed increases. Just like a heavy padler will provide a bigger wave than a light padler.
In shallow water the waves increase.
Surfing reduces the water resistance, but under windy conditions the wind resistance can be the stronger and thereby reduce the effect of the pace. The waves created by the wind can also reduce the effect – however the psychological effect is still there!!
It´s difficult for a beginner to feel the effect of "riding". Because of insufficient speed, steering ability, choice of kayak and missing experience. The beginner will experience discomfort when paddling close by another kayak. When surfing he feels his kayak being pulled closer to the leasing kayak.An excellent way to showing them the effect of "riding" is to let two experienced paddlers “drag” the beginner. In that way it is easier not to be dragged closer to the leasing kayak, and the effect is double.
Ask the beginner to paddle fast and in a straight forward line towards a fixed point in the horizon. The two dragging kayaks plant themself on each side of the beginner in a way that make the conditions at their optimum for him. Observe the stem of his kayak, when it is slightly diving he is "riding"
This method works every time and gives the beginner a great experience and fills him with a desire to practice the art of "Riding" more.