Thursday, 17 November 2011

Remounting a Ski

Rob, Chris & I have a new challenge on the horizon, so this week marks the point where I've deigned to try once again to get my fitness back to levels required for the rigours of long distance sea paddling.
I do this by getting out on my ski & doing short, sharp interval sessions, 'cheating' my way to decent cardio & strength conditioning using the limited time I have available for paddling that isn't work related.
Yesterday was day zero, a new marking point to lay down some times, heart rates etc & give me something to measure & hopefully improve against. Our respective fitness programmes for the North Reef trip produced great results and it's good to have a successful template to work back over. Based on yesterday's effort it's a nice low marker point to begin from!
More time on the ski means becoming reacquainted with the self rescue skills that are necessary for safety. Hands up, I'm no great practitioner of the surfski remount that has been so nicely described on HERE. I find the sidesaddle re-entry easier in really rough water so have practiced it over the past couple of years at every opportunity.
Then Oscar Chalupsky made THIS neat video a month or so back showing his preferred technique, which is something of a hybridised version of the two wider known methods.
I gave it a go yesterday after an hour of pushing hard along the glassy waters of the Bay, so I at least had fatigue to escalate the challenge, and it is a cracker. Next test is out in some rough water, but the method is so flowing & stable I can't imagine having any dramas out at sea either.
Ski paddling is attracting a much wider demographic since the launch of the Epic V8, and anyone that buys a ski from us gets a very stern talk about making sure this remount technique is mastered before any solo or challenging paddling is undertaken. I still consider myself essentially a ski-paddling beginner, and from this perspective I can heartily recommend Oscar's way, it's instinctive, effective & surprisingly simple.


  1. Good work Mark you make it look easy!

  2. Thanks Greg, it doesn't get any easier than remounting on calm water like that, but it is any good technique.

  3. Hey Mark -- would you be willing to post/share your North Reef training program? I spent 2011 building up a solid base of strength/endurance in prep for the 2012 Blackburn Challenge (, planning on focusing my training in early Spring.



  4. Have been in a race and swum 4 times, a lot harder when your tired and heart rate is near maxed out and I got assisted 1 time by the chase boat and another time just near the finish by a fellow competitor thank fully cause I was totally stuffed. First thing I tell beginners now is to just relax, get your breathing and heart rate under control, get upwind and wave of ski cause this makes it a heck of a lot easier. Another time in the middle of winter after I swam all my energy drained because I was so cold, felt like the blood thickened and the heart rate would not lift, it was a real plod to the finish line.

  5. G'day Matt,
    You can see about half of my training for the North Reef trip on the North Reef blog. Before it was made public I used it as a training log to keep myself motivated and record what I was doing. My training revolved around a 2km swim twice a week, two sessions of an hour on an ergo, and a much paddling on a fast boat as I could fit in around that. My paddling training was all to do with spaced intervals of effort, so typically over an hour I'd warm up for 15 minutes concentrating on form, then do a series of burst of 2-5 minutes with a 2 minute rest in between. On each separate burst I'd concentrate on someone different, 2 minutes of leg drive, 3 minutes of ultra high cadence, 4 minutes of paddling with a low cadence but maintaining a high speed etc. it keeps you interested and tricks you into doing something like a circuit class with a paddling focus. There is nothing quite as motivating as he prospect of being 45km from safety without hope of landing to get you training! There are way more qualified people than me to suggest training for paddling,mi picked the brains of every elite athlete I could speak to and they were unanimous in their support for the intervals. I'd leave the shake down paddle of the full race distance until very late in your preparation, it's just to make sure you have good boat fit etc.

  6. Great advice Greg, form first, practicality and 'extra' info once you've got the shape of the exercise right. I had a serious remount earlier this year and got it second go. You should have seen my heart rate trace when I missed the first one!


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