Archive for October, 2011
October 31st, 2011
Probably the most likely question you’ll be asked by a bunch of kids at the side of the trail. Simply put, this golden oldie is the art of staying in your seat and using the torque of the pedals to lift your front wheel off the ground. It has developed some new names over the years, including my personal favourite, the ‘power assisted lift’. But this move isn’t likely to help your Gran get up the stairs.
Out on the mountain, techniques like the wheelie are rarely used on their own, but toned down, there are certainly some fundamentals that can be used to your advantage. From slow drop-offs to climbing rock steps – the more adept you get at these basics, the easier you’ll find it when you need to pull something special out the bag in a tricky situation.
The position of your upper body is the most important aspect to get right if you want to pull a successful wheelie. To begin with, get totally balanced and central on the bike. With your bum in the saddle you need to form a square with your shoulders, handlebars and two almost straight arms: a relaxed bend at the elbow is what you’re after to keep you supple and loose.
Use this square as a reference point throughout the whole move. If you notice that one arm is squint, straighten it up. If your shoulders fall out of line with the handlebars, you’ll never maintain your balance. Aim to get all of this sorted whilst you’re still on the ground. The slightest mistake will be totally exaggerated once you lift the wheel, so don’t lift until you’re set and solid.
The wheelie is a little special: it’s one of the only techniques that predominantly uses your shoulders (and the power from your pedals), but not your arms. Your arms are only needed to hold your body in position. It may sound strange that you can lift the front wheel without using them but it’s something you’ll have to get your head around. Remain seated, lean backwards, keep your head up and those arms straight – and stay totally relaxed. If you notice your forearms are tense and you’re only keeping the front wheel up by pulling on the bars, start all over again.
The wheelie is a weight shift that uses the power produced at the pedals to provide the lift you need. This’ll be where the name ‘power assisted lift’ came from. Timing is of the essence: as you lean back, apply pressure to your lead pedal. Choose a gear that’s easy to turn without too much grunt yet gives you enough resistance to produce some power. As the wheelie tends to be a lowspeed move, it’s likely your gear will be middle or small ring and near to the top at the back.
Your rear brake is your escape route, your Get Out Of Jail Free card. The moment your front wheel rises too high, a quick but gentle pull on the rear brake lever will bring the front wheel back down to earth. If you are going for the wheelie world distance record, modulating the rear brake will help you to control the speed of the manual and keep it going for longer. Remember not to grab a handful. Just a gentle feathering of the brake should be enough to help you out.
WHERE TO DISH IT OUT
With wheelies mastered, you can now use them out on the trail. On a technical climb, if you’re faced with a ledge or a lip, use this method of lifting the front wheel to get you up and over the step without losing balance or grip. You can also use it to get the front wheel over a steep sided rut or ditch, or to come off a drop-off at a really slow pace by lofting the front wheel using some of the power from your pedals. Whatever the situation, if you spend a little bit of time getting your balance on a flat surface, you’ll be able to adapt the technique to suit the situation.
This post was taken from: Mountain Biking The Manual by Chris Ball
October 27th, 2011
Next week the latest round of the Rip Curl Search will be held at Ocean Beach in San Francisco in November. Looking forward to seeing how the world’s best attack the chilly waters. Here’s our rundown of this spot.
Superb quality, sometimes heavy, sucking, dredging beach-break with fangs. This is a truly excellent spot, but it regularly dishes out floggings and broken boards. On a 4-12ft (& holds up to 20ft) day with clean groundswell from almost any direction, one or more of the banks will deliver vertical take-offs, wide barrels and crazed races for the shoulder. Crowded and near parking lots. Constant duck diving, ruthless currents and dead sharks can wash up on the beach. All this against the latte-sipping backdrop of California’s most sophisticated city.
October 25th, 2011
Before leashes and short boards, the problem of getting outside was even more challenging than today.
During a severe push down while getting rolled by a brutish North Shore set, U.S. National Champion Corky Carroll slammed into something hard, which he thought was the bottom.
Looking down he realized he’d hit a big sea turtle who was also getting pummeled by the wave. I was thinking, ‘Look at that dude grovelling around, he’s in trouble.’ recalls Corky. ‘Then, with my lightning-quick mind, I realized that if he was in trouble then I must be in bigger trouble. He’s a turtle.’
So, doing the manly thing, Corky grabbed on and pulled himself up, launching for the surface from the top of his shell. Of course this stuffed the turtle even deeper.
‘When the turtle surfaced some seconds later he was just glaring at me,’ Corky remembers. ‘All I could do is look back sheepishly. He was one pissed-off tortoise.’
DUCK DIVING DONE DEFTLY
You see a massive wall of white water rumbling towards you, and there’s only one place to go – under it all. If you have ever watched ducks or other water birds navigate a wave you will know where the term comes from. Using their beaks first they simply drive their necks under the breaking wave follow with their bodies and pop out the back with the most natural and elegant motion. The object of the surfer’s duck dive is to do exactly the same. Getting this wired is not that easy, but mastering the duck dive will save endless battering and reduce the number of waves you have to roll substantially.
1. GETTING STARTED
The best way to get a feel for the proper way to really duck dive is to first practice on flat water. Paddle quickly up to speed and prepare to grab the rails about even with the center of your chest. Push off the board, just as if you were taking off, and with your hands wrapped around the rails, shift your body weight, position forward and bury the nose as deep as possible. Aim for a 45-degree angle of penetration. Deeper usually is better, but in most small waves just getting in well under the surface will generally work. Timing is the key element to this maneuver, and without a doubt the hardest part of the sequence, says longtime big-wave expert and Santa Cruz local Richard Schmidt. Getting yourself and the board underwater, away from the falling lip or incoming whitewater is the main objective. The whole sequence needs to be one precise sweep, to escape the lip’s impact and the turbulence just below the surface. Here is the key to the perfect duck dive: it’s a saber arc, down, under and up through the surface again.
2. PUSH IT REAL GOOD
Push all your upper body weight onto your hands and arms until you feel the nose begin to go under. Point your head down and let your body follow. As the nose submerges, slip your dominant leg forward, arching onto your toes. This will pull your butt into the air as high as possible. Just as your board begins to reach the bottom of the pendulum swing, bend your dominant leg and use that knee – or better yet, the ball of your foot – to push the tail under the water also.
3. LEAN INTO IT
To maximize your leverage, throw your other leg into a frog-kick behind you. Continue to push down against the tail with the toes of your leading or dominant foot. At this point you should be in a crab-like position over your board. The board is completely underwater, one leg arched above you. Timing is critical here. Each wave will configure the components differently: speed, thickness of lip, depth of the bottom, and you need to time it so you get your body under before the lip hits you. Remember to take a quick breath before going under.
4. THAT’S USING YOUR HEAD
Lead with your head (just like a duck) and pull your body underwater, pulling the board towards you. Simultaneously pull your arched back leg forward to add to the downward momentum. Maintain the momentum gained from driving the nose down under, thrusting forward and kicking with your back foot, while still pushing down on the tail with your dominant foot. Get the feel of where the sweet spot is to get maximum leverage from the foot and toes.
5. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Practice this until you can do the whole sequence in a singular flowing motion. The perfect duck dive uses your board and body as a pendulum, swinging under the wave in one fluid swooping movement. It takes time, and it’s a pain in the ass, says Joel Parkinson. But when you get it wired, and you’re trying to get out on a big day, it can be so rewarding.
6. KEEP IN MIND
As you move into the big stuff, remember to build up as much forward paddling speed as possible. Avoid where the lip is directly throwing out; try to paddle toward the part of the wave that has already broken or a spot on the wave wall that is steep but not right where the lip is landing. As the wave goes over you, push down on the tail with either your knee or foot. Your board should now be horizontal, a couple of feet underwater and powering through the bottom of its arc.
7. EYES WIDE OPEN
Whenever you can, if the water is clear enough, open your eyes to look for an area that has less turbulence and aim to pop up there. This point should be timed so that the bulk of the turbulence is above you. The energy of the wave should now be pushing you back towards the surface. Maintain momentum and arch upwards using the buoyant property of your board and body to complete the swing of pendulum, and break the surface behind the wave.
This post was taken from Surfing The Manual: Advanced by Jim Kempton.
October 14th, 2011
Some of UK’s top SUPers will be testing their skills in the waves on the 15th-16th of October, and there will also be a long-distance endurance race too.
Here is our summary of the spot:
Head north about 2 miles from Newquay on the B3276. There’s a carpark before the beach path on your left, just before the road splits to the right. You can also take the left fork up the hill to check the coastline.
Consistent all-year round beach-break, that sometimes produces power waves and the odd barrel. It will pick up any swell going, and works through all tides. Mid tide with southeast winds and a 3-5ft ground-swell is best, and fast peaky take-offs result.
Bigger swells are sometimes a little messy here, and west winds are onshore. On higher tides the south end is cleaner on the prevailing southwesterlies but the bay is split.
Busy in summer as there is major camping and carpark here, but the many peaks spread the load and its a good place to be anyway.
If its flat here it will be flat almost everywhere. 1-6ft. Can handle more if a nice offshore breeze combines with long-period swell. All levels although advanced when over 4ft. Currents when sizey. Autumn & winter best.